I’ve not blogged in forever! It makes me a bit sad because this used to be my safe, little place to write down thoughts, share memories and talk about everything I was interested in – parenting, fashion, beauty, travel, home stuff, the usual sorts of things for a 30 something year old mum. Recently though, things have taken a turn online. What used to be a wonderfully supportive and fun environment has had quite a bit of negativity, bitterness, maliciousness and gossip creep in. I’ve not said much on the subject recently because I genuinely don’t want to give these people any attention. Quite simply, in my book, you don’t deserve attention if you stoop to such very low levels to try and drag another human being down.
I won’t even begin to pretend, or imagine, what drives a grown woman (because it’s 99.9% women), probably with children of her own who she should trying to be a good role model for, to waste precious minutes, hours, days of her life gossiping and spreading lies about someone she doesn’t even know online. Who has the time?! Life is so short. So very short if you think about it. It blows my mind that any time would be wasted on unjustified, mindless lie spreading and nasty comments. Can they not stop and think how they’d feel if it was happening to someone they loved?
It completely BOGGLES the mind. Haha, that’s a great word – boggle!
But that’s not what this post is about. Like I said, it’s not worth giving them the attention they so desperately crave. My mum taught me if you’ve not got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I know fine well the affect words can have and I am not willing to make another person feel awful about themselves just because I, bizarrely, feel I have the right to (I don’t). They can stay in their own little negative, cruel, dark little corners of the internet and say whatever they want. I won’t be reading and I won’t be reacting. I’ll be busy enjoying my life and my family, and working hard to give them the best life possible.
What this post is about, is how this cruel behaviour can have an effect on a person. How the negativity can spread like an infection and infect all parts of your life. In my case I’ve been quite surprised, in the light of being made aware of some of the silly things said online, at how it’s affected who I am and how I am around others. I’m a pretty strong cookie but I’ve noticed myself distancing myself from people and rapidly losing my trust of new people I meet. I rush in to school and nursery to do the pickups, scared of anyone looking at me for too long. Mainly because of being made aware, by people who follow us online and come across these sites etc, of the people claiming to be local to us. Confidence, which is already pretty low, gets pushed down even further, and although you know it’s all lies and gossip, you begin to worry that everyone sees you through the bullies’ eyes and feels the same. You don’t feel like eating and you don’t get much sleep. Everything and everyone gets second guessed. You turn down jobs you really want to do and you think twice about doing things you enjoy because you just can’t be bothered with the possibility of any negativity. And in turn that could be perceived as them winning. But they won’t. They never will. As long as you learn to block it all out, pick yourself back up and carry on doing what you love, then it will be ok and you will rise above it all. That’s where I’m at now.
The amount of positive messages, emails, comments and DMs I get massively outweigh the nastiness, and that’s what I need to remember. The messages thanking me for talking about eating disorders, silent reflux, military life and general parenting struggles etc. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to reach out to others and help in a small way.
No matter how strong you are. No matter how thick your skin is. No matter how long you’ve been sharing your life on social media. There are some things that will push you close to the edge. And they do. I had an incident the other month which made me want to scream at the top of my voice until I couldn’t scream anymore. It was literally shocking to find myself in the situation I was dealing with. All because of a random person online. It is utterly infuriating when you can’t defend yourself against stupidity and lies. When you know any form of defence will just entice the nonsense even more.
Please. If you don’t like someone, fair enough. That is completely fine. Constructive criticism is also completely fine. There are people online that I am not the biggest fan of. Just unfollow. Don’t watch. Don’t listen. Don’t bother. Do yourself, and the person you are targeting, a favour. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s all try and be a bit kinder to each other. You never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors. And if you’re suffering in some way and lashing out against others to try and make yourself feel better then I’m sorry. I truly am. I hope you get the help you need and deserve too.
If my son or daughter was being treated on the playground the way some people feel it’s ok to treat people online, I would be marching straight into that head teacher’s office and demanding serious action. Wouldn’t any parent?
You. Only. See. A. Fraction. Of. Someone’s. Life. Online. This is such an important thing to remember. I’m not perfect, no one is. But I can honestly say that I always have the best intentions in all I do. I really do.
And if you are a victim of any form of bullying, online or in real life, reach out and ask for help from someone you trust. I promise as soon as you tell someone it will begin to get better. Tomorrow is a fresh new day and it just isn’t worth it. Life is too short to let the sad, negative people win x