By now, most of us have encountered them. The people who believe they can say and do anything because this is the internet and you don't really know who they are. People who would never call you a piece of crap to your face suddenly have no qualms about saying that and much worse, simply because you have no way of seeking revenge. It is a viscous and frightening cycle, one that I do my very best to avoid.
Over the weekend, I read where a Facebook friend of mine has been going through quite an ordeal with online bullying. I was also re-watching season 2 of The Walking Dead this weekend. I won't give any spoilers, but I am going to use the show as a reference point.
When I saw this scene with Dale and Shane, suddenly something clicked.
Dale: This is where you belong, Shane.
Shane: How's that, Dale?
Dale: This world, what it is now, this is where you belong. And I may not have what it takes to last for long, but that's okay. 'Cause at least I can say when the world goes to shit, I didn't let it take me down with it.
Something in my brain said, "That is just like the internet!" Yes, the internet is (in a way) the zombie apocalypse. LOL Bear with me. We all sit here and veg out, staring (possibly drooling) at the screen. And we lash out at each other as if it's the end of the world and our actions no longer have consequences. "What does it matter? They don't know me?" Right? I've heard people say as much.
At one point, I was in a constant state of distress. I was upset by negative reviews or nasty letters I had received or both. I lived in fear of being judged both personally and professionally. I was turning into a Shane. I wanted to lash back at those who had hurt me.
Thankfully, I also know someone like Dale who gave me a moral slap in the face. (Not a literal one. LOL) She reminded me that that is not the kind of person I want to be. If I were to respond in kind, I would be no better, and thus their sickness spreads. (See what I did there?)
I was allowing their comments to turn me into Shane when I really wanted to be more like Daryl. Ha. Ha. Okay, enough with The Walking Dead references. My point is, if it is at all possible to avoid these types of people, then avoid them. No one needs that kind of negativity in their life.
If a particular review site causes you grief, don't go there. If you are getting threatening emails from someone, block them. The same goes for Facebook. If someone is harassing you, block and report them. I understand that there are times when things are not handled so simply. I get that. However, most of the time, the situation can be as simple as we want it to be.
The fact is that whether or not someone actually knows you is irrelevant. It should matter that WE know ourselves and we will have to live with our actions. I don't want to wake up tomorrow knowing that I hurt some person I didn't even know with my careless words.
Just because the world has gone to shit when it comes to decency, don't let it take you with it.