In the past couple of months I’ve noticed a lot of hate going around on social media. Now I know, I know, this is nothing new. But it’s come to my attention lately because there have been a lot of very negative, antagonistic comments circling in the fitness world which confuses me because, for an industry which is meant to be promoting health and strength and empowerment, it seems to be doing the exact opposite. Everyone seems to be disagreeing on what classifies as “fitness” and which pictures are appropriate and inappropriate and what people should and should not be posting and, one day I’ll give my opinion on all of that, but today we’re going to deal with a more general issue. Like why the hell we’re so bothered by what people are posting in the first place.
Social media is a minefield.
There’s no rules. There’s no parent or teacher or authority to oversee what is posted and what is said. It’s direct, it’s unfiltered, and it works at lightning speed, making it very easy to attack somebody without any real repercussions.
Look at the comments section of a popular account on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean. There’s comments confessing their eternal love and support for each other and girl-crushing and saying how much they inspire them and how beautiful they are and blah blah blah, only to be followed by comments telling them they’re pathetic and self-obsessed and fat and should just go kill themselves because nobody likes them. And those are the nicer remarks.
And I want to say something about it because it bothers me.
Not the stuff that’s directed at me: hell I’ve been through enough in my life that it will take more than some little twerp’s comments on my Instagram to get me down.
No, it bothers me because it has the potential to cause some real problems. Not everybody is that thick-skinned. There are lot of people out there who are more vulnerable to this kind of abuse (and it is abuse) who WILL be bothered and upset by it. And that makes me angry.
No-one should be made to feel like that. ESPECIALLY not through a god damn mobile device. Imagine, some guy is trying to track his progress on Instagram and one night he’s just chilling at home in his pyjamas eating his chicken minding his own business, when some idiot decides to comment on his pictures telling him he’s “so embarrassing” and “pathetic” and “attention-seeking”.
Now, hopefully the guy is smart and strong and mature enough to ignore this and get on with his journey, but what if he isn’t? Maybe he remembers those comments, and he thinks about them all day and all night and now he feels self-conscious and starts to wonder if he IS being pathetic and attention-seeking, and maybe he ends up giving up on his little journey completely, all because some clown decided it would be what… Funny? To put the poor guy down and make him feel small? Was he really bothering you that much? And does telling him how much you hate him really make you feel better?
People have enough crap going on in their life. They don’t need your negativity. Whatever confidence or self-esteem issues you’ve got going on, you deal with those yourself. Let you look to your own improvement before you go to judge another. Because what you’re doing serves no purpose. You’re not changing anything. You’re not doing any good. You’re not making yourself or anyone else better. You’re just showing the whole world your own insecurities and turning yourself into the victim.
And I don’t want anyone to feel like a victim or feel bullied, not even the ones who initiate it. So to all of you people who comment, who criticise, who channel your own insecurities through hate-filled comments and messages, here’s my advice for you:
Get a hobby.
Get a grip.
Get a fucking life.
If you’ve got THAT much time to spend worrying about what other people are doing, you’ve got too much spare time. End of story. If you find yourself sitting there thinking “what can I do? Oh I know, I’ll write negative shit on someone’s Instagram page, that’s a productive use of my time”, you need to get out. Play video games or go gambling I don’t know, but if you’re gonna waste your time, don’t take somebody else down with you.
You know how I spend my free time? I message all the lovely people back on Instagram who ask me for help. I write songs. I go for walks. I talk to people in the street and in shops. I speak to my friends and my family. I read. I do yoga. I look through pictures and I write ENCOURAGING stuff on people’s pages because I know that’s gonna HELP them on their journey and spread positivity and make someone feel good about themselves. I do stuff which BETTERS me or the people around me. I don’t scroll through social media looking for someone to pick on.
So just stop it. Spreading hate and negativity will never bring good. Not to you, not to anyone, so cut it out.
And to those of you who get the comments and the abuse fired at you through your phone?
Rise above it.
Simple as that.
This is life. People aren’t always going to praise you. And that’s fine. In fact, that’s good. You better get used to it. It’s not good for your ego or your development to be told that you’re always doing the right thing or to be tiptoed around and never told that you’re wrong. Criticism is super important: if you’re not being criticised, you’re not learning.
But. That doesn’t mean you take any shit from some idiot and their negativity.
Learn the difference between being constructively criticised and being completely bullied and walked over. When you find that somebody is just trying to put you down, you turn your back. You walk away. You don’t argue. You don’t retaliate. The best thing you can do to somebody like that is rise above it. Be bigger, be better. Don’t give them what they want.
And to BOTH of you, in fact, to ANYBODY, let me point one thing out.
Sadly, real life hasn’t got a block button yet. But the beautiful thing about social media is that you can turn it all off. Right now. Right this second. You can delete your account. You can block people. You can unfollow people.
So I don’t get it – if you don’t like something on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOOK AT IT. If someone is giving you a hard time online because something you’ve posted has upset them, you block them. Boom, sorted. On your way. And if you’re the one GIVING the hard time because someone has posted something on their page which has upset you, then you go to their page, and you click the unfollow button. Boom. Sorted.
Don’t spread your negative shit. Don’t cause unnecessary hatred and sadness in this world. Do your own thing. Stop wasting your damn time worried about what everyone else is doing and focus on you. Maybe then you’d have less to complain about.
Be good, be kind, and rise above it.
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Image by Miquel Sorell