Now I’d like to preface this post by saying that I’m not someone who generally gets involved in conversations I don’t agree with on Facebook, but something I saw literally broke my heart this morning, and I cannot not speak up.
Whilst I didn’t respond directly to any of the negative comments I decided I would write about this here, for my rad tribe of awesome, supportive women, because people on the internet can just be plain mean.
Any opinion, positive or negative, expressed by a person says more about that person than it does about what or who the opinion is about; this is because the only place an opinion can be made from is the existing perceptions of the person speaking, which contain his or her preferences and prejudices, beliefs and values that they have learned from their own life experiences.
One thing I’ve learnt (and admittedly only more recently, fully accepted) is that everyone is always doing the best they can with what they have – which is the one reason I no longer give people “a piece of my mind” on the internet, even when I strongly disagree with what they are saying. The reason behind what they have said is based on their own subconscious stories, and says a lot more about them than it does about the person it is being said about.
I’m no Saint. There have been times in the past where I’ve spoken out of line, no doubt given terrible advice based on my own limiting beliefs and been very “opinionated” on the internet.
But one day I made a decision to not be that person anymore.
Now, whenever I see posts or comments on the internet I choose to either give solid, helpful, constructive or positive advice/feedback to whoever was asking, or I keep scrolling.
If a fellow woman who is starting her own business (just like you are/did) asks for advice on something, that is NOT them saying “Oh hey, feel free to tell me how much you don’t like my style/art/ideas/business”. If you genuinely have experience or solid advice on the question they are asking, I highly encourage you to respond, but if you have no helpful advice to give them I’d strongly recommend just scrolling on.
This is what I witnessed, in a FB group for women in business to support each other, this morning.
My first thought when I saw the comments was that some of the advice was horrible and not at all helpful, and I really hoped that she wouldn’t take it personally, or seriously.
My next thought was “If only she had worded the question differently…”
When I first started writing this post, I won’t lie, it was from a far more “charged” place and I realised as I typed that there was actually a lot to take from this.
So I’d like to share with you the positive learnings I gained from this experience.
- Be mindful of who you ask for advice from, and choose your words carefully.
- People will give advice based on their own beliefs and experiences; sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad.
- Always remember your WORTH is not determined by strangers on the internet. Or anyone else for that matter.
- If you have advice to give (and have been asked), make sure it is either positive or constructive – and think about how you would like to receive it if the shoe was on the other foot.
- Before speaking, ask yourself “Do I really need to give this feedback?”
- Be Kind, always. No-one deserves to be torn down (even the ones tearing others down).
As I wrap this up I find myself smiling and feeling A LOT more calm about things than I initially did. Next time you find yourself feeling triggered by a situation, take a deep breath, a step back and think about what positive things you can learn from it.
There is always something positive, I promise.