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United We Stand: A Promise to Be Kind

Cyberbullying in Our Own Backyard by Dana Bretz

female with sign "I promise to be kind"Let’s just get right to it, it’s no secret that military spouse bashing is quite common. The vile things you can find online regarding this issue is unlimited. What’s even more shameful is who is behind these attacks. Not only just your average cowardly internet troll (no offense to actual living, breathing trolls), but members of our armed forces and other military spouses. The very people that we would like to think hold strong to their code of ethics. The very people we trust to do the right thing. The people who should be shining examples of what it looks like to have integrity, loyalty and respect. I say, since they have forgotten what those qualities looks like, it’s time we remind them.

So how should we respond­ to hate, ignorance and cruelty? Hold on to your seats because we’re going to respond with love, kindness and forgiveness. No more pouring gasoline onto an already roaring fire, together we can smother the flames with compassion. Compassion for those who have become so empty inside that they feel the need to tear someone down in order to feel good about themselves. That’s the root of the problem! This nasty weed that’s taking over our backyards with vines of hate and malice has got to go.

I know how hard it is to not lash out and react to some of the ugliness. As I was researching just how prevalent this issue really was, I was appalled at some of the things I came across. I had a visceral response, I could actually feel my blood pressure rising. My fingers instinctively reached for the keyboard to defend myself and my fellow military spouses! Don’t worry, I stopped them and reached for my iced coffee instead….which I need a lot of by this point. I wondered where people even find the time to go out of their way and make such asinine commentaries. If anyone knows please tell me! I could use some extra time in my day to spend on things that actually matter. See, I’m fired up again! It happens that fast. Now back to earth, back to the task at hand.

My challenge to you is this, do not respond directly to the hatred. Lift our community up by praising each other. Getting into an online argument with a cyberbully is what they are looking for, don’t give it to them. Instead, give them a big dose of positivity. They probably need it! I know that we can’t entirely wipe this issue out. Unfortunately, there will always be people who have something negative to say and they will find a place to say it. But we can take our power back and some of the wind out of their sails. Will you make this promise with me? Will you refuse to let their remarks define who we are? We are an incredible community, learning as we go, just like everyone else. There is no shame in that. Stand up for each other, start being a part of the solution. And if you are a part of the problem, we welcome you to join us too! It’s never too late to make a difference. We’ve got this!

I, Dana Bretz, promise to be kind and stand united with my fellow military spouses. Will you?

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