Retrospectively, I can’t say with any conviction that I was a nice girl at school. I read somewhere that teenagers don’t have the empathy chip in their brain. The small part that makes us stop and think ‘how would I feel if that was me?’
High school is survival of the fittest, which kind of explains why I didn’t stick up for whoever was on the outer at lunch time, but it doesn’t explain why I was so mean to my poor mum!
Tomorrow is Keep It Kind Online Day. An initiative started to try and encourage people to consider their actions and act with kindness when interacting with others from the other side of a screen.
Last year I posted a blog. I knew the meaning of the blog and the sentiment behind the blog – I was the author.
The blog was read by a “friend”. A “friend” who had come to me for relationship advice, career advice and business advice. A “friend” who I had checked in with regularly about her depression.
The “friend” got in touch and said that she was offended by my blog. I told her that the blog wasn’t meant to be offensive. That her being offended by my blog, was like me being offended with her constant digs about women who wear activewear – activewear is my go to.
This “friend” shared the blog in a group (that until then she had denied she was part of), and said that this blog was “anti-mum”. I’m guessing that the women in the group didn’t connect the dots, and realise that the author of the blog was a long time customer of several of them.
The fallout from the blog was almost nucleic. One by one they attacked the post on Facebook, posting hurtful comment after hurtful comment, and then taking it in turns to “like” the comments left by others.
Those comments have since been deleted (not by me), as has the post in the group where the personal attacks were horrific and witnessed by two of my cousins.
When I confronted the “friend” who had started the furore, she denied her comments until she was presented with screenshots…
So, what happened next, was that my cousin was evicted from the group, and the “friend” and her “friends” took to social media posting comments like “be kind, always” and “in a world where you can be anything – be kind”.
“In a world where you can be anything, be hypocritical, be nasty, be judgemental, be mean and then lie about it” – doesn’t really have the same ring, does it?
There’s a person behind the profile, and at the time I was unemployed (after experiencing workplace bullying), living with my parents, my engagement was on the rocks. I was being (very) badly bullied by some of the people in my life, and then I was bullied online too.
I have always been honest about my struggles with depression (you can read about my experience here) and anxiety, and yet people still find it acceptable to post horrific shit about me online. Think before you post – who will this help? Who will this harm?
Your challenge for Keep It Kind Online Day, is to not only post respectful, kind comments on social media, and the internet, but to make a point of suggesting others #keepitkindonline also.