I’m telling myself it’s a good thing. That means I’m putting myself out there and owning my brave. Still…ouch.
We like to call them “trolls” as it makes us feel superior. We’re good. They’re bad. We say things like, “Haters gonna hate” and try to insulate ourselves from all things that we perceive as mean and negative. But when I read the comments, I realized that I don’t think the people writing these things are actually thinking about me at all. I think they’re just expressing themselves out loud. Their snark and cruelty not really aimed at me, but more of a release of sorts. They didn’t like it, so they were expelling it. Got it.
Social media has given us all the power to share our thoughts and views, but it is only a magnification of what’s going on all around us. The question I’m posing to myself (and now to you) is:
If I want to see change in the way we, as a society, communicate with each other, where might my personal responsibility lie?
I remember I was in conversation with someone I truly care about and we were talking about an aging actress and what came out of my friend’s mouth was, “She looks like a toad.” My friend is one of the kindest most thoughtful people I know. I was absolutely shocked. I couldn’t help but think about how I’d feel if someone said that about me. I know she didn’t write it on social media and that she said it in the company of people who love her no matter what, but I’m wondering if maybe we want to start examining our own “no matter what.”
Maybe we want to consider adjusting how we show up in the world, not because of what others might think or feel about us, but because of what we might think or feel about ourselves.
When my son says something cruel or inappropriate I tell him, “You’re better than that.” Not “better” in comparison to anyone else, but “better” in comparison to himself. And, full disclosure, at times I have to remind myself the exact same thing (this seems to happen most often when I’m driving). We unleash our snark and yuck out into the world, with the justification of expressing our emotions, without considering the impact.
Now you might say if nobody is there to hear it, if it’s in a safe space, what’s the harm? We all need a little release now and then, right?
But YOU know. YOU were there. Is that the person you wish to be in the world? Is that a reflection of your best self, yes or no? We cannot hide from ourselves.
I believe that self-confidence comes from knowing that we can count on ourselves, and that’s not just when others are looking. Can we count on ourselves to be the person we want to be in the world as a human being? Not like a brand thing (what do people think about you) but an integrity thing. Are your words and actions in integrity your best most powerful self?
I’m certainly not here to throw stones in my glass house (goodness knows there are many, many, many times when I’ve said and done things that aren’t a reflection of my best), but I do think it’s worth exploring.
I know my best self isn’t mean. My best self doesn’t hurt others. My best self isn’t cruel or callous or indifferent. My best self, however aspirational she might be, is better than that.
At our best, we all are.