“I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” – Monica Lewinsky
Today is Monica Lewkinsky’s birthday. Lewinsky is a woman I deeply admire. Back in 2015, I shared her amazing talk at the Forbes Under 30 Summit about her experience as Patient Zero. She lifted herself out of the ugliest of situations and is now using her story to combat cyber-bullying.
Stories and Truth
I see much unkindness on Facebook, despite diligent unfollowing and unfriending of those I feel are unkind. In their defense, sometimes people are so passionate about a particular topic, that they don’t realize they are being unkind.
You see, I often post on Facebook in support of the Affordable Care Act, because it literally saved my life. I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer just one month after the discounted health insurance policy I purchased through healthcare.gov went into effect. I have been in continuous treatment for what is now metastatic breast cancer for over 3 years. The ACA is responsible for my life. Literally. If I had not purchased that ACA subsidized plan, faced with a heavy financial burden my family could not pay, I would have chosen to allow the disease to take my life. Because I had the health insurance in place, I chose to fight. That is my truth, and I share my truth freely.
However, there are some who chose to ignore my truth, and to only believe their own story, or the story being fed to them by dogma. They do not realize they are being unkind when they respond to my support of the ACA with negative comments. They do not realize that those negative comments show they do not care that I am alive because the ACA made health insurance affordable for my micro-business owning family for the first time since 1998.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the ACA is perfect. I know that upper middle class families who do not have the benefit of employer-paid health insurance are paying much more than they should for their policies. I know that in many areas, there is a lack of providers accepting ACA plans. Repealing the ACA would mean that I would once again be faced with the choice of placing my family in debt beyond our ability to repay to extend my life by an undetermined number of years, or allowing the illness to take my life immediately. Knowing this, brazen anti-ACA comments under my Facebook posts are unkind and show a great lack of compassion. Yet, it happens, almost every time I post in support of the ACA.
Compassion and Kindness
What does all this have to do with Monica Lewinksy?
Lewinsky is on a mission to bring compassion and kindness to the internet. Watch her TED talk on the Price of Shame, and then take some time for introspection. What can YOU do to help her cause?
There is a way to speak your truth and remain compassionate and kind. It starts with me, and it starts with you. Be kind. Be compassionate. Listen to others when they share their truth, rather than asserting your own truth. Post your truth on your own wall. Celebrate others on their wall.