I had a request a while back about doing a friend-to-friend post on internet negativity! I thought I would share some of my thoughts on this topic and hopefully, you can’t relate too much on negativity in your life but since you are a human, I’m sure you deal with this kind of stuff too!
I remember the first time that I received some pretty harsh comments on one of my blog posts. It was in the afternoon after a day of teaching and I sat at my desk sobbing. Not too much later and someone sent me an email including other websites that were talking about me and I read every single thing I could find and it brought complete darkness over me and every aspect of my life. I started believing many of the things I read about myself and it pulled me so far down. I cannot even imagine how young people handle the online world now… I was 24 when I was first introduced to the negativity online and it killed me off for a while.
It’s now been over twelve years of blogging and I thought I would share a few things that I’ve done when dealing with online negativity and would love to hear anything that has helped you with negativity in your life.
-Choose what you want in your life (if you can… I know there are some relationships that are a lot harder for people to control than my situation). It’s been over 10 years now (last time I read was when Brooke was a few weeks old and people were making fun of her in a picture and that is when I made a promise with myself to NEVER ever again get near that stuff) since I read anything about myself online (other than mean things said in a comment on my blog or IG account) and it feels SO so good. I made the choice to stay away from the negativity I was choosing to read and I’m so glad I did.
-There are still times every now and then where I’ll receive a comment and I’ll cry to Andrew about it and he will remind me that two people’s opinion actually matter and nothing else does. God’s opinion and our little family (including my own) opinion (so I guess more than two but you get it) are all that matters. People’s opinions about us are completely out of our control and usually have more to do with themselves than with us. As long as I am trying my best and God is happy with me, I’m happy. It isn’t possible to make everyone happy in life and changing ourselves to please others is miserable. Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business.
-Constructive criticism has also helped me. I used to do SO much sponsored content and people let me know it was too much. I feel so much better once I backed off of that and felt much more authentic.
-I’ve met a lot of bloggers in real life at this point that I think the world of who I know also get negative comments which makes me realize it’s just part of the job. In every job there are pros and cons and this is just one of mine but the pros outweigh this one con so much that it keeps me going.
-Get through the DAY. I almost pulled the plug on my blog once. It was a little after filing for divorce and I had someone telling me that I deserved my divorce with plenty of reasons why they thought that… I came upstairs to my mom (I was living at their house at the time) and told her I was DONE. My heart was so broken at the time, I couldn’t take anything else. My mom told me to just wait until the morning to finalize my decision because at that point I was ready to take down my site (I was receiving a lot of negativity that week). I got through the day and when I woke up the next morning I was very grateful that I didn’t react right away to the situation. I love blogging and I learned that day that in a day or a week or a month whatever drama that is happening will blow over and it won’t hurt anymore. The next day that comment still hurt me but not enough to make a drastic life decision! I know that if I can just sit on something hard for the rest of the day without reacting, the next morning I will be able to handle it better/smarter.
-Everyone is trying their best. They truly are. I remember when I used to have students that would really cause a lot of problems in my classroom and as soon as I learned more about their life outside of my classroom, the more I just wanted to give them a hug and I understood why they were doing what they were doing. Everyone out there is suffering with something or dealing with some sort of life problem and we are all trying our best. I really stink at my job/life when I am dealing with some life problems that I can’t blog about but I can honestly say at those points I am trying my best. I think the majority of humans are really trying hard to do what they can. I have to remember that with internet negativity, I have no idea what they are going through.
-I go for a run. Running solves most of life’s problems for me so I’ll just keep doing that for the next 70 years.
-I’ve started setting up a lot of boundaries (what’s okay and what’s not okay) in my life and my little family’s life and it is AMAZING. Life changing when it comes to negativity. Why I didn’t start doing this years ago, I do not know. I do it for my blog (boundary= I’ll delete mean comments ((there are other places for people to say mean things about me where I’m not paying the hosting fee ha)) and not read things said about me elsewhere) and real-life relationships (I’ve sent these boundaries in emails…bullet point form even). Boundaries have changed my life, have taken out SO much negativity and I can’t imagine going back to life without boundaries. If you need help setting boundaries in your life, work with a therapist and read this book. I also loved this podcast episode about boundaries!
-Something interesting that I have found about the online world is that it can feel so polarizing. I feel like it is easier to feel polarized on subjects online vs in real life (hence why I never share online my political stances etc + who am I to say that we can’t think differently… differences are necessary. My job is to get you out the door for a run!) BUT we truly all have so much in common. We are all more alike than we think. I remind myself that if the person that is hating me online went on a run with me and we really got down to talking about the important stuff together, I can almost guarantee we would be friends. We would hug and probably cry together over the hard stuff in life. I remind myself that the screen sometimes dehumanizes each other, but in real life, that would melt away.
Those of you working right now… what are some of the pros and cons of your job?
How do you handle negativity in your life? Are you good at setting boundaries?