7 Lessons I Learnt From Being Bullied Online.
Today is quite a reflection day for me. It marks one year of me pretending to 90% of the people in my life that my life is awesome, when in fact this past year has been one of the hardest years of my life for many reasons, and one of the lowlights is below.
After 20 years of being a small business owner, I experienced my very first public assassination of my character by a supposed “supportive group for women”. It is a day I will never forget as much as I wish I could. It broke my heart, broke my spirit, and broke my view of people.
My world changed. I changed. And I am still uncertain if it was for the best or not.
Here are seven brutal lessons I have learnt from this experience.
You can try to be the best person all you like. You can try to always be of high integrity and do the right thing. This is a great way to live life. BUT, if you are going to be in the public eye, there are heartless people in this world who will tear you down. You need to accept this as part of the deal, or don’t be a public figure-don’t put yourself out there. It’s as simple and brutal as that.
If a person speaks negatively about you behind your back, or online it is often a reflection of themselves. If a business uses their power to communicate negatively about a person online, it shows a total lack of professionalism and ethics. Joining in their behavior makes you sink to their level so as hard as it is to have no voice and no respond- hold you head high, don’t use your words to fight back, use your actions and prove them wrong. People will believe what they want to anyway, so put your energy into your actions moving your life forward rather than wasting energy on the past fighting them.
The challenging times in your life will make two things very clear. The family and friends who support you, and which family and friends really do not. This often means the situation you are going through even worse. Not only are you dealing with something, but you also feel the pain of loss of the people who you ‘thought’ were there for you. As brutal as that is, look on the bright side. Yes, I have culled a lot of ‘good time’ friends and family from my life this year. But it has made room for some EXTRAORDINARY people in my life that I would trade any day for the fair-weather friends and family that I lost.
Bullying happens. People watch and join in or they do nothing which means they support the bullying. Only a very few people, if any, will actually stand up publicly to the bully and say what is being done is wrong. A question that has rolled through my head the past year has been “Should I continue to be hurt and disappointed by the people who did nothing? Do they even realise the damage they have done by joining in or by doing nothing?”. The way I see it is that their fear of being rejected and not seen to be supporting the bully was more important than supporting me. That doesn’t hurt any less. It says that the bully was more important to them than me.
I experienced a lot of bullying in primary school and hoped that as an adult I wouldn’t experience it. One good thing about it is that it makes you very resilient, and inclusive of others as we know what it feels like to be excluded.
The culling of people from your life hurts. Because it’s really them culling you from theirs-you just haven’t been taking the hint. I have had many tears from the rejection I feel from people that I have always tried my best to help. My business and I supported them and their business and I did everything that I could because I cared about them and wanted to help.
Then when you want their help and support they are no where to be seen.
These are people that I thought would be part of my life for a long time. People who I thought valued me in their life. You think that you are of value to them, and then to be culled once you have done everything they need you for, hurts. I doubt this pain ever leaves us. The sad thing is that you know it is for the best and something that you need to accept. As hard as it is, you need to try and make sure that your heart doesn’t get cold and that you stop the people that actually do care about you from getting shut out by you too. The past year I have struggled with this daily.
Plan for the unexpected. This day 12 months ago totally derailed me from my plans. I have projects that have been on hold, projects that I completely changed, and on the positive- projects that I never imagined doing that have come to me that are slowly helping me to heal. As happy I am with the new projects, I am devastated that I am a year behind on other projects. Be gentle on yourself if you are feeling this way. These projects will now be better for it or they are projects you weren’t meant to do in the first place.
Your words and actions can help or harm people. You can choose to be productive or destructive. By this I mean you help people grow (productive) or you help people die (destructive). Be very careful and considered with every thing you say and do. I am no saint, I know I have hurt people in the past and if you are reading this and I have hurt you- I am sorry.
Everyone on this planet has power. Never forget that.
I know bullying will never stop and that is is an unfortunate part of life for some people. I know that this happened to me for a reason and I am slowly but surely trying to heal my heart. Once I do, I will be a better person for it.
I wanted to share this with you today because I want you to think about two things in particular.
- Realise what the affect of your actions or inaction can have and practice “The Pause”
- Remember that NO ONE has a perfect life. Everyone is going through something and we have all gone through hell at some point or too many times to count. So be KIND.