This is one of Strawberry Singh‘s most wonderful Monday Memes. Pop over to her fabulous website for more details. She was inspired by the recent TED Talk by Monica Lewinsky, addressing issues such as cyberbullying and mean-spirited gossip and comments shared on the Internet. Many remember Ms. Lewinsky from a Washington “scandal” involving a relationship she had with then-President Clinton. Sadly, she ended up being the first person to be inundated by unwanted publicity not just in newspapers and magazines, but also on the Internet. Her talk – and Berry’s meme – are important. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Meme instructions: Answer the following questions either on your own blog, in the comments of this post or on any social platform.
If you have ever been the recipient of negative commentary (or downright bullying) via the Internet, share your responses to the questions below:
- How did you respond to them? – I try to follow the wisdom of my father and have learnt quickly the difference amongst SPAM, honest and constructive criticism, and critique that may contain some useful information but comes from a sadly negative place. I respond as graciously as I can to both honest and constructive criticism and critique that may contain some useful information but comes from a sadly negative place. SPAM, however, goes resoundingly (but ever so gently) into the “round file” of my computer and is washed away by the fresh breeze of a lovely “click.”
- How did they make you feel? – Again, following the wisdom of my father – and the more recent star-lit guidance of researcher Dr. Brené Brown – I let my feelings wash over me and dissipate, leaving whatever learning there might be. I am trying to emulate my father’s way of caring about people no matter what they say or do – which involves something I have struggled with for a long time: letting go of what my father calls “toxic people.” What he means by this is people who – despite our warm acceptance of them – continue to spew vitriol or use us for their own gain. At a certain point, someone who persists in such behavior can be identified thusly and turned away. So sad…but it is the realisation that allowing someone to continually misuse a relationship or be unnecessarily hurtful is not helping them at all and is only hurting us in the bargain. Wisdom, pure and simple. I now also ascribe to Dr. Brown’s idea about critics that is so beautifully expressed in American President Theodore Roosevelt’s “man in the arena” quote – and her own interpretation of the same. Check her out HERE and (for a short clip on the critics who matter) HERE – and one more HERE.
- Can you share some of the mean comments you’ve received and your thoughts on them? – No. I can see where that (done well, as Strawberry did on her blog) could be quite useful, but I’ll take a pass on this one. Thank you for understanding.
- Have you ever ridiculed or negatively commented on someone else’s work, actions or personality with the intention to hurt them? – I am far from perfect, and have – on more than a few occasions – sat alone and thought about how utterly DELICIOUS it would be to verbally eviscerate and otherwise demean someone who had hurt me in some way. Trust me, I have the language skills to pull that off. Fortunately, I’ve never actually done it – and unless something truly cataclysmic happens to change the entire universe – I never will. I’ve offered honest critique when asked, and I am not fond of masking truth as I see it with flowery words; however, I am always careful and try to consider the feelings of the other person. What would be the purpose of being mean-spirited? To me, that would be a complete and utter waste of time and energy – and would be counterproductive.
I am so glad that Strawberry set her trepidation aside and posted this meme. I find any opportunity to foster and encourage kindness, civility, and hope to be a precious thing. Sharing feelings and experiences can be incredibly healing and empowering – and in a very good, healthy, and positive way. I love what she said at the close of her post: “Please remember that positive words can change and save a life! If you’re the kind of person that is spreading negativity, let it go. Don’t let it define who you are in the real world or your voice on the internet. Help promote a more compassionate internet. Contribute to the community in a positive way, and take a moment to make someone’s day. <3″
YAYA, Berry! Now, you all (all two or three of you – teehee!) go out and do just that. Let your smile precede you into the room and let spring put a spring in your step! (And if you’re in Australia or thereabouts, let the freshness of autumn give you a fresh start every moment!)