Online Bullying — My Takeaways.
I’ve recently been the victim of online bullying, and the experience completely rocked me.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. The bullying was hurtful and shocking. I was beyond perplexed that anyone could treat another human like that. This is the fourth iteration of this article. The first three are in the bin because they were too heated, too ranty and although I was specifically trying not to, they were peppered with jabs. If I’d shared any of these drafts I would have stooped to a level that just isn’t me, or what this brand is about.
The details of what happened are not entirely relevant but the top line goes like this. I was accused of stealing IP. This was shocking enough but instead of working out where the communication and agreement had broken down, this person decided to instead focus on online defamation and bullying. As someone who values honesty and treating people fairly, and with respect, this stepped over my internal moral code into a place that just didn’t sit right.
The whole experience has had such a profound effect on my life over the past couple of months, but the crazy and unexpected thing is that all my takeaways are positive.
Isn’t life funny.
It’s so easy to take on the role of the victim – to focus on the pain, what’s not fair about the situation, or blame everything and everyone else. But from my experience with challenging and unsettling situations (and there have been a few!) I’ve learnt that it’s important – critical even – to do two key things.
Firstly— truly embrace the emotion. Live it. Put it on like a toasty warm jacket and snuggle up with it. This can feel pretty shitty. No one wants to drag on a feeling of deep sorrow or pain, but we need to sit with our negative emotions long enough to discover the beautiful confronting magic they hold. I don’t mean let your monkey mind chew on it for days, overanalysing the shit out of it, I mean to just sit with the feeling and see what comes up for you. See what your subconscious is trying to communicate. It’s not always easy, but it’s an incredibly important opportunity to connect with a part of ourselves that is often hard to reach.
Secondly—tune in. The universe throws us lessons packaged up in such unexpected ways and it’s our job to hold space for them and unpack them. What is it you’ve been missing? What can you learn from this experience? It’s not about ‘thinking positive’ or ‘silver linings’, fuck that. It’s really about checking in with yourself and connecting to the deeper meaning. What has the experience made you appreciate, see differently, or learn about yourself or your environment? This is where we get to shed our old skin and take on a new perspective. This is how we grow.
So, I’m writing this article as a reminder that really shitty things can have incredible outcomes. That there are some rotten eggs in the world and that’s ok. But it’s not about them, it’s about you. It’s about your journey and impact on the world; it’s about how deeply you hug your partner, or kids, or best mates; it’s about taking radical responsibility for your actions; it’s about gifting yourself the space to stop and feel and learn and grow.
To the person who bullied me, thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you for this incredible and empowering gift. Thank you for reminding me that life is awesome and bizarre; that I’m not in control of everything and don’t need to be; that the people in my life are superstars; and for reminding me that life isn’t about the masks we wear for social media and how we portray ourselves to people we might never meet. It’s about real, honest connection with beautiful souls, it’s about doing something completely selfless for someone you love, it’s about not being afraid to open yourself up. That’s where the magic is and that’s what makes life awesome.
Image Credits: Bas Van Est & Dylan Galletly