Alright y’all. It’s time to discuss a pretty serious topic that hits pretty close to home for me and a lot of other people that I know: Online bullying.
The other day I was scrolling through insta on a celebrities page and some of the comments that I saw made me literally sick to my stomach. So, I got curious and started browsing other pages. A while later I was feeling a lot worse and could not believe the things that I had read. Below are direct quotes from some of the comments that I found:
- “You’re such a bitch“
- “You’re so useless. Why are you even alive?”
- “Lol I can’t figure out why people like you. You’re such a fake. Go kill yourself, fucking pig.”
- “Your parents should be so ashamed of you.”
- “I wish it was legal to deport people just for being cunts. You’d be gone for sure.”
- “OMFG you’ve gotten so fat.”
- “You look way too skinny. Fucking disgusting.“
- “OMG. How does your boyfriend even hold onto you? You’re a skeleton. Eat a cheeseburger.”
And the terrible part is that these are not the cruelest ones I found. There were some that made me so uncomfortable that I couldn’t even type them.
Disclosure time: Since starting the blog I’ve received hate mail. Not a lot, nothing over whelming. Just a couple of outliers. But, enough to get me thinking:
What if the blog takes off? What if I end up being more in the public eye?
Then I realized: Why should my success and happiness depend on the opinions of others?
Short answer: It shouldn’t.
The problem is, it isn’t that easy. Our brains are hardwired to remember negative experiences and interactions over positive ones that way we know to avoid that event the next time around.
The problem with online bullying is that the only way you can avoid it at all is to just not be online. And, let’s face it, in this day and age that’s next to impossible. I know people that live almost completely offline, but I’m #NotAboutThatLife.
But my question is, why is this even a problem in the first place? Why do we feel the need to voice our negative opinions on the lives of others, lives of people that we don’t even know?
I’ve been guilty of it in the past. I hate to admit that but if there’s one thing I want for this blog it’s for me to be 100% transparent. But, the truth is that we’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another.
I know why I did it. Because I saw these people living these lavish lives, or getting all this attention for simply just existing and it gave me a divine satisfaction to let them know that I thought that in fact, contrary to popular belief, their shit does stink. Just like the rest of us. It made me feel good to know that if they read that it might help bring them down a notch.
The thing is, it was so easy to forget that they were still people. They have feelings, and just like with all people words can hurt.
And also, it wasn’t my place. It was none of my business if they were living a lifestyle that I didn’t agree with. I could have my opinion, but it in fact was not my right to voice it.
You have a right to your opinion. You do not have a right to voice that opinion at the expense of another person.
Let me repeat that again: You have a right to your opinion. You do not have a right to voice that opinion at the expense of another person.
It’s so easy to forget that the things we say have consequences. That the things we say, even to celebrities and people we don’t know, can be toxic. And those toxic things make us guilty of online bullying.
Discussing this with people I’ve heard the argument “well, they wanted to be famous. They knew this came with the territory” a lot. I mean, that’s most people’s instant response.
But, since when did knowing that you’ll be in the public eye strip you of your rights to have a positive life free of unwanted negativity? I didn’t know that those two things were synonymous. I wasn’t aware that deciding to be a public entity stripped you of your basic rights as a human to be happy however you see fit.
Can you imagine literally hundreds of people pointing out your flaws? Hearing the same things that you hate about yourself slug at you like knives over and over again?
It would be terrible.
Starting this blog and knowing what it has the potential to be has me worried. I won’t lie.
I’ve always been a hyper sensitive person. To the extent that if someone around me is crying (even if they’re tears of joy) I start squalling like a child. I can’t watch the news because my heart actually breaks for people. So, it does scare me a little to think that I may (eventually, like way way way down the line) be opening myself up to that kind of scrutiny.
But, at the same time it will give me a beautiful opportunity. It will allow me to try to combat some of the bullying that will come my way. Knowing how small my following currently is and thinking about the negativity I’ve received so far does not bode well for the vibe that I’ll receive if it continues to grow the way that it has.
And we don’t just do this to celebrities. I know so many young girls who are victims of online bullying. And honestly, it baffles me.
Why do we react so negatively to those around us? What do we gain?
If it does not cause bodily harm to you or those around you, frankly, it does not concern you.
My challenge is, the next time you sit behind your keyboard and you think of something negative to say imagine that person is sitting in front of you. Not in a picture, not on a TV screen. Actually sitting across from you, a living, breathing person with a smile on their face. Are you willing to take that smile off? For what purpose? To what end?
Remember that just because you’ve only ever seen someone on a screen, or just because you’re sitting behind a keyboard doesn’t mean that the words that you type don’t have real and concrete consequences attached to them.
Go forward with kindness. Spread love.
Until next time. XoXo,