Let’s Talk About Hate Following and Online Bullying
I’ve wanted to address this topic for a while now but never wanted to acknowledge how unkind some people can be when most of you are so wonderful. This post has been written, saved as a draft, and deleted several times over the past year but today, I finally hit publish. I’m not sure why I brought it up because I haven’t looked in months, but earlier this week, I had a chat with Liz about this she shared her thoughts on instagram. Then Alaina said something in response to Liz’s posts and Julia chimed in and I knew it was time. We have all had cruel and judgmental things written about us and as someone who knows these ladies well, I can tell you firsthand that they are amazing, kind, and lovely women. They are amazing moms. They are my friends.
By putting our lives (or parts of them) online, I realize we are opening ourselves up to judgment. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok to say nasty things about us. Constructive criticism and varying opinions are always welcome. Always. I don’t expect everyone to like me or agree with me but if you don’t like me, why not just unfollow? And if disagree with something or have a question, message me. Let’s chat.
Taking the time out of your day to bash people you don’t know with other people you don’t know is sad and cruel. If you’re one of them I know you’re reading this and yes – I called what you’re doing sad and cruel. Because it is.
Hate following (continuing to follow someone online that you don’t like) and then anonymously leaving cruel comments about anyone is something I will never understand. I don’t want to make assumptions about you because that wouldn’t be fair to you. I don’t know you just like you don’t know me. But I do think you should reevaluate how you spend your free time because think of all the positive things you could do that would be better than bashing strangers online. Volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter. Take up knitting. Stare at a wall. Literally anything is better than mom shaming and bashing someone’s character, looks, relationships, parenting, and children. It’s mean. It’s bullying. And it’s a really shitty way to spend your day. Put something of value into the world.
Looking at this online world and blogging or being an “influencer” (I strongly dislike that word because I’m not trying to “influence” anyone) – I can see how certain aspects might be annoying or frustrating. The curated images, the sponsorships, and occasional press trips. But you have to know that it doesn’t mean life is perfect. We’ve all compared ourselves to other people online. I’m lucky to have flexibility to work from home a few days a week and getting to partner with brands is something I am so grateful for. But that’s hardly a reason to hate me, right? Seems a little intense. Yes, I post “pretty” images but I’ve said it so many times – it’s just one side. A glimpse. That’s why I try to share what I struggle with, too, but the last thing I want to do is make anyone feel like I have it more together than they do.
A few days ago, I posted a selfie video sans makeup (in instagram stories) and there was an overwhelming response for more content like that. There were some really helpful messages from so many of you saying that it made me more relatable. That everything is always pretty and perfect because that is so not the case, and I’m going to do my best to highlight the real moments, too. So expect to see a lot more of that.
I always tell my daughter (who is almost 3 months) that she’s kind and smart and a good friend who loves to include everyone. She’s obviously too young to understand what I’m saying, but she’ll grow up knowing how important it is to be kind to others. If she ends up being the girl who invites the new kid to sit with her, I’ll know I’ve done my job.
So what’s the point in all this?
Be kind and honest. I think we learned this one in kindergarten, but treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’re leaving nasty comments online – hiding behind a screen – ask yourself why? Why are you putting that kind of energy out there? What’s the point?
Not everyone is going to agree with you or like you. Some people might try to bring you down, but if you stay true to yourself and are a good person, that’s all that matters. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you’re less than. Bullying wasn’t cool when we were kids and it’s just plain pathetic now that we’re adults. Be a good human.