There are often times I’m on the internet, and I see someone post something that makes me feel all sorts of indignant, defensive, and agro. I see someone laughing at a fat person getting hurt, I see someone making fun of poor people. I see someone I know to be a nice person talking trash about a stranger they saw at the super market, or a celebrity they judge as too thin or as letting themselves go. I see people post that they don’t approve of another person’s parenting choices. I see words thrown around like;
I see a lot of what I have now recognized as “Concern Trolling” this is when someone gives unwanted advice or “you should/you need to” statements to people who have just done what we all do, post how they are feeling in the moment about what is going on in their life. Not an invitation or request for help, just an expression of frustration or sadness or whatever. Instead of empathy, the well-meaning offer a litany of obvious or impractical solutions, usually without any background knowledge or understanding of the situation or the person posting.
Then there are the comments on photos. How a child looks thin or plump. How a person looks this or that. They are most often not meant to be hurtful, but often are.
We have all done this to others, we have all had this done to us.
Often times, when I’m feeling upset because of something I read on the internet, my true issue is that I see my own reflection looking back at me. I’m guilty! I’m guilty of concern trolling, body shaming, slut shaming, sticking my nose in other people’s business. Making assumptions. I’ve done it, and when I see it, the anger I feel is anger at myself. Anger at allowing my ego to treat others in a way I loathe to be treated myself.
So I’m going to stop. I will stop giving my opinion when it is not asked for. I will stop giving advice unless someone asks me. I will ask instead, Can I help? I am going to stop self-deprecating and griping about the trivial. I am going to stop gossiping. I am going to stop evaluating others, and evaluating myself in comparison with others. No more mommy wars, no more body image games, no more know-it all sanctimonious blather. No more “talking” ( on the internet) just to hear myself speak.
No more “good-natured ribbing” that’s actually insulting and hurtful. No longer will I say “take it with the spirit with which it was intended” when someone says that a joke I made has hurt them. Instead, I will say that I am sorry and that it was wrong.
I’m going to make an effort to be the woman I would like my daughters to emulate. I am going to do better.