My readers and the members of my Crazy Sexy You community truly amaze me with their positivity. I’ve never seen such a loving and supportive group of people online. It’s quite a contrast to the hostility, discrimination and divisiveness we often see in today’s online world.
But, here’s what we each need to understand: we are all publishers and content creators. We’re all contributing to the global energy. And, we get to choose—will we raise it or will we bring it down?
In truth, we have a responsibility to bring our best, brightest selves to our online activities. Just because we can be anonymous, doesn’t mean we’re entitled to act in a way that insults our own character.
Many of us don’t even realize the power our words have to touch people’s lives. Each day, we have an opportunity to set the tone in our online sandbox. Every comment, post, “like”, video or photo can lift someone up or knock them down. But sometimes, we lose sight of this potential.
Believe me, I get it. Sometimes, I want to say a whole bunch of stuff that’s rude and righteous, but I stop myself because I know my words have power and I need to choose them very wisely.
That’s why I want to share a few examples of how I try to bring my best self to the online world—even when I’m pissed or being criticized or judged. I hope it helps if you’re ever on the fence about how to react to a situation in any other corner of the Internet.
How to Stay Positive Online
When posting or commenting on the Internet, I do the following:
- I ask myself: Am I being decent and compassionate toward the other person with these words?
- I re-read my post or comment and reflect on my true motivation for writing it. Is it to help? Does it respect the purpose of the space? Or, is it to vent or strike back?
- I put it through the filter of whether I’d be proud to say those comments to the person or group face-to-face. It’s easy to forget that real, live humans are reading the words I send into the online world.
- When I stand up for myself, I try to be as unemotional and balanced as possible. I don’t attack back or put people down. I also don’t engage trolls—they’re not worth my time (or yours). But, I often use these opportunities to encourage the other person to look at the words they use, too. If someone wants to get their point across, belittling me isn’t the way to do it—and I remind them of that.
I read thousands of comments, reviews and emails per year, so I have a lot of experience reading beautiful words of praise, polite and constructive feedback and nasty temper tantrums. While I’ve learned not to take things personally, that doesn’t mean I don’t get hurt from time to time. When that happens, I don’t respond right away. If I did, the other person would get hurt too, and that serves no one.
Now, all of this advice doesn’t mean we don’t need to be tough when necessary. I’m no doormat and neither are you. But, we can be tough but loving—we can share our opinions while also being respectful. It’s not easy, but it makes us better communicators and more tolerant people.