This is a question I get asked A LOT. It can be really scary putting yourself out there online when you just KNOW there are Internet trolls lurking around every corner waiting to talk shit about SOMETHING.
Believe me, it can be difficult. Years ago this kind of stuff would have crushed me. I didn’t handle rejection or criticism well at all. Growing up, if I felt like one of my parents were laughing at me instead of with me I would get SO mad and start crying.
Now I can safely say Internet trolls don’t bother me at all. Ok maybe not at all, sometimes it’ll bother me for five minutes or so and then I move on with my day. So how do we get from A to B?
- Get in a good place with yourself. The more comfortable and secure you are with yourself, the harder it will be for someone to tear you down. Things that have helped me: meditation, reading, journaling, exercise, and good old fashioned getting older. The older you get the less you start caring what other people think about you, I PROMISE. I was the queen of caring what other people thought about me and now I wear sweatpants in Beverly Hills and regularly turn down clients who want to treat me like an employee. Sorry, I just don’t care.
- Take pity on their souls. It’s easy to get angry in the moment and make it all about you. The problem is the things they are saying actually have nothing to do to you so you should probably save your anger for when someone cuts you in line at Starbucks or something. Change your viewpoint and realize a) this person doesn’t actually know you and b) it’s really fucking SAD that someone is taking time out of their day to talk shit about someone they don’t know. But hey, at least they care enough about you to talk about you so that’s pretty cool.
- Prayers up. Here’s a trick I like to do once I get to the pity stage. I mentally wish them well. WAIT WHAT? But they just called you a cunt and told you women belong in the kitchen! Yeah who cares? It’s either sad that they actually believe that or they are just trying to get a rise out of you. In any case, something has gone wrong in their lives that they are trying to tear other people down. I say to myself “I hope this person finds peace and happiness in their life” and I SINCERELY MEAN IT. Hate breeds hate. We can all get better and grow as people, none of us are perfect. PS. don’t say this to them as it generally looks and feels sarcastic and condescending in the moment
- Mute ’em and set them free. God bless the mute button. I am an always muter, never blocker. Why? They have no idea I’ve done it. They know when they’ve been blocked. It confirms that they got a rise out of you. If you don’t respond and mute, they don’t even know you ever even saw their post, and then they’re gone forever. Just like that. Take my advice: take two seconds after you read their tweet, take a deep breath, hit the mute button. Avoid engaging. It can be hard, I still do it sometimes, but this is the easy way. I promise.
You’ll notice I occasionally DO engage or retweet these people on Twitter. It’s usually because I think what they said is incredibly dumb/hilarious or it’s SO over the top offensive that they deserve to be put on blast.
If you’re getting threats, putting them on blast is the way to go. I have actual police officers and detectives who have tracked down identities of anonymous tweeters who have sent me threats. It’s never ok to be cruel to someone online or in person, but we all have different boundaries. If you feel like boundaries have been crossed, it is always ok to take action so you feel safe.
Last but not least: I want you to remember the only opinion that actually matters is your own. If you love yourself and anything you have created and put out there, don’t let anyone drag you down. I’m pretty sure that’s a One Direction song. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. Just remember there are some people who don’t like Beyonce. And if there are some people who don’t like Beyonce, it’s ok if some people don’t like you.