Human beings are pretty funny creatures. We can be moody. We can be manipulative. We can be really nice and then really crude, all in the span of just a few minutes. In the offline world, these shifts in our behaviors may go unnoticed, or at best unrecorded. However, in the online world, we leave footprints wherever we go and whatever we do. One might think this would encourage people to be a bit more steady, a bit more careful, but oddly, it actually seems to have the opposite effect.
Lately, I’ve encountered quite a few experiences where people opted to not put their best or most attractive foot forward in the online world. Even though I am small potatoes in the online world and am perpetually stunned at what an amazing year I have had, it has occurred to a few people that they should probably try to toss me off my game. I have just a few things to say about that, and I say it more for YOUR good, because I don’t want you to fall into the downward spiral of hating or combatting the people who try to do this to you. So here we go!
“You will lose, Haters Potter.”
OK, I realize here that I’m putting myself in the role of Lord Voldemort, which may be counter-intuitive. However, this is really the attitude you need to take with people who are determined to try to throw you off your game.
The thing with me is that I’ve experienced enough real-life “stuff” to not really be bothered by some mean comments or by people who are acting out of their own real-life “stuff” or jealousy or whatever it may be. I need not go into those experiences – you’ll just have to take my word for it (hint – death of many loved ones). On the other side of the coin, I’ve experienced enough great stuff, both online and off, that a few mean comments or actions here and there will not be enough to make me throw in the towel. Do you get up and abandon your picnic because a couple of flies are trying to share your macaroni salad? Hopefully not.
If you are balanced within yourself, people who are trying to derail you cannot hope to succeed. Similarly, if you are balanced within yourself, you cannot fail.
“I did not pass through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm.”
So speaketh Gandalf the White to Grima Wormtongue, and so you must speak to anyone trying to throw you off your game. Defending yourself a little is okay, but really, after battling a balrog and falling into the darkness of the void, do you want to spend time bandying words about with people who really won’t hear you anyway?
I’ve got better things to do. You’d think the derailer gang would have better things to do, but it takes all kinds. In any case, defend yourself if you must, then return to sharing useful things with people who truly know you.
“If Ida known for just one second you’d be back to bother me…”
My general stance in the offline and online worlds is as follows: forgive, but don’t forget. Carrying around anger and resentment just assures you’ll have a dark cloud over YOUR head all of the darned time. That’s no fun. However, I also know something that a lot of people who act poorly online in their real lives don’t realize. There always seems to come a moment when you need or want help from someone, and it’s always up to that person whether they want to help you or not. If you treat someone badly, it’s going to be pretty easy for that person to reply to you later that they’d love to help, but they’re really busy. I am not a vindictive person, but I choose who I am kind to. If you try to throw me from a moving train, I might take issue with ya later. Punk.
“But in the real world…”
So sang Roy Orbison. I never would have guessed that in my short time online, so many people would have tried to toss me off my game, but this is the real world, even if it’s kinda shiny and 2-dimensional. I never imagined that my general spouting off about being nice and helpful would earn me hurt in return, but so it goes.
The important thing to remember is that people trying to snuff your candle out are going to run out of breath eventually. You can always get more matches from the store.
Keep that light a shining no matter what. And I hope you enjoy having some disco in your head 🙂
Image by Aleksandra P. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/GiniMiniGi