Let’s be honest. Being on social media is not always fun. You put yourself out there for the whole world to see. You create content with the best of intentions; content you hope people will enjoy… And yet, some people are really hard to please.
Some people won’t like what you have to say, they’ll disagree with you, and some will even call you names. They will insult you and attack you and try to make you feel really small and insignificant.
If you haven’t had this experience, consider yourself lucky! Or maybe you just don’t have enough followers or enough exposure yet. But as your audience grows, this will change. I promise. The nasty people will get to you and will try to provoke you. They will always find something or someone to criticize. Like the bullies in school who will always find someone to pick on.
Here’s the thing, most of these nasty people don’t know you, and you don’t know them. To many, it’s just a game. You don’t see them, They don’t see you. They will often use fake names to stay under the radar and evade accountability. Because they’re cowards.
What they tell you online, they would never say to you in person. They hide behind computer screens in their sad little world without consequences, rules, or morals. It’s quite pathetic when you think of it.
When they see you happy, you remind them of how sad they are. When they see you being a light, they have to think about their own darkness. When they notice how successful you are, they are confronted with their own failure. And they think that bringing you down will, in some twisted way, elevate them.
When I was a lot younger, I was bullied because of the way I spoke. I was bullied because I was a pretty good student. They called me “the professor” and “the teacher’s pet.” I was bullied because my father was a minister. They bullied me because of things I didn’t know how to change.
I used to be a happy carefree child, but like most of us, I wanted to fit in and be appreciated. Instead, I was singled out and made fun of.
One day, my favorite teacher asked me to stay behind so we could have a talk. He asked what was bothering me, and he listened the way very few people had ever listened to me. I told him about the bullying, and how it made me feel. Then he said something I’ll always remember. He said:
“Paul, someone’s opinion does not have to become your reality. If someone gives you a gift and you choose not to accept it, to whom does it belong?”
Later on I realized he had been quoting Buddha, but when he said it, his words went straight to my heart and they have stayed there ever since.
So, when someone says some nasty things to you, in person or online, when someone criticizes you, or tries to belittle you, you have the power to decide how to respond. Do you accept the gift, or not?
Someone’s opinion does not have to become your reality.