I’ve only been doing this since May and I’ve already learnt so much more than I used to know about people. I thought I’d lost all of my naivety but it would appear I held on to a little. I’m actually happy about that. As it allows me to enter situations with a little more faith in people. But one of the things that has shocked me the most, is some peoples reactions to me when I’m trying to do something positive. What shocked me even more was some of these people are supposed to be my friends.
Internet trolls. I didn’t ever expect to attract any of them. When doing the protest for Gaza in London during the summer, I managed to attract some really angry people online. Obviously it’s a complex topic and was very raw but I wasn’t saying anything that tied me to either side of the conflict. I found myself being attacked by perfect strangers. Educated, young, regular people like myself. Trying to sabotage me and my efforts. It was odd. Even when I tried to explain my honest intentions. They had already decided their goal.
The thing is, trolls aren’t just confined to the likes of social media and the internet. No… Whether we are aware of it or not, there are a whole bunch of them in the real world too. We sometimes call them friends. We sometimes even go so far to call them family. They can be colleagues, strangers, teachers, friends of friends. We think because they’re close to us or they know our history that they must be right. Their opinion matters. They’re not trolls.
They are. A troll is a troll is a troll.
Look at your life right now. Think about all of the people in it. How they make you feel. Do they support you? Think about how they react when you talk about your endeavours. Are they excited for you? Do they ask questions? Are they even interested? Are their reactions positive and supportive? Because a friend or a family member surely would be right? They love you so they are interested in your passions and ambitions. Remind me, why is your best friend ignoring your career change? Why are they running you down?
Trolls don’t always attack directly. Sometimes they make fun of you in public. Sometimes they belittle you. Sometimes they just plain ignore anything and everything about you and what you’re working on. They pretend like they don’t know or care. They are trying to test your boundaries and are trying to make you bite. Don’t. You’re bigger and better.
I think for the most part, these people feel bad about themselves and for whatever reason, you are making them feel worse. They are stuck in their own unfavourable situation and are uncomfortable watching others get out of theirs. They immediately find the negative and point it out. It’s much easier to do that than look inwards. There is fear in them. This creates jealousy and anger.
What should we do about our trolls?!
Forgive them. Let it slide. Think how horrible it must be to have to live like that. To feel like that. Hope that they find some happiness. Remember who your trolls are. Don’t waste your energy even trying to explain what you’re currently up to. Protect yourself and your ideas from them. Whatever you do, don’t rise to them. That’s how they are fed. If you ignore them, they eventually get bored and fade away.
Failing that, both deleting and blocking are great options. In both worlds. X
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