While I’m waiting to compile the comments from my fellow online classmates for a follow-up to my previous post, I feel the need to make an observation-
Just a few days ago, I was having a discussion with a colleague, and I was saying that, in my opinion, one of the big differences between people, on the job, is that some people “think” about things and others “feel” things. Of course, everyone does both at different times and for different reasons, but I think there is a tendency to either intellectualize or internalize, if that makes sense.
I definitely fall into the category of internalizing–I’m a feeler. So I often have trouble when people engage in facts-only, logical discussions. Because I listen to my gut more often than I listen to my brain. And I’m driven by the need to reach out and unite more than I’m driven by the need to be right (although, I like to be right, too).
And what has struck me, over the last few days, is that the kindness of strangers–the people we find ourselves interacting with regularly in our favorite blog forums, and in other online venues, can be quite moving and unexpected. The online environment can be impersonal and cold; however, it can also serve as a support system where strange bedfellows find compassion, friendly opposition, solace, or a much-needed kick in the ass.
Say what you will about the evils of the internet. It is a melting pot, too. And it is a place unlike any other where people come together in a way that would otherwise never happen, especially if you learn to recognize that people have very different ways of expressing themselves and trying to connect with others but that in the end, we’re all just trying to be heard and understood.
It is possible to have a “real” life and a virtual life, too. Both can be rich.
Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.