In my own little part of the world, I have always treasured the opportunity to help bring out the best in others. This has been a life-long attribute, and since I started collaborating with an organization which works to help teenagers and young adults struggling with drug and substance abuse/overdose, my passion for motivating and inspiring the best in people has only but quadrupled.
Therefore, I decided to take my passion a step further by sharing uplifting and motivating articles online, with the aim of reaching a broader range of people all around the globe who may be dealing with several challenges. And I started doing that, until something that would change the trajectory of my writing happened.
Before I proceed, I would like to mention that if you are reading this, and are contemplating posting all the gifted stuff you have inside of you on the internet, you may want to read this carefully.
First and foremost, you should be able to determine for yourself the real reason you want to embark on this writing journey. Because, I tell you that without a solid reason and conviction, your efforts may not be sustainable.
And do you know why? It’s because the internet is full of evil people, hiding behind their computer screens, all with the intent to bring you down, dull your shine and drown out your voice.
These people would do everything within their power to slight, malign and insult you. But if your convictions are in the right place, then the chances that you would become impregnable to these attacks should be pretty high.
Writing on the internet does come with a price, and I had to find out the hard way, which changed my approach to writing totally. I started out writing on my personal blog (www.pearlsglobalimpact.org) last November.
I love to motivate and inspire others. I also love to teach people how to work smarter, not harder. But, I am also that person that would write or talk about things that others may not be too comfortable to write about because I care about diversity and equality.
I also care about teaching others to treat people, the way they would love to be treated. And so, I took my writing further and started posting articles on my LinkedIn profile, and that was when I got hit with a dirty slap (not literally though)!
I had posted on why diversity was important in recruitment, and why hiring and recruiting managers should not leave people out of the hiring process because of certain characteristics such as gender, age, race, religion e.t.c.
I had even added a quote from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, at the recently concluded World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, on the importance of diversity in today’s organizational culture. And the responses to that post started coming in with several people sharing their experiences, as it related to the topic.
Prior to posting it, I never knew that it was quite a painful topic for many, but some of the responses were really eye-opening. And as is typical of me, I decided to respond to everyone that had commented on the post and that was when I saw it.
“You are a psychopath for thinking you can change any minds with this dumb post.”
I work in the Healthcare field, so I didn’t really need a dictionary to tell me what the word ‘psychopath’ meant. That was my first real experience with an online troll.
At first, I was so taken aback, that I didn’t know how to react. I contemplated between responding to the person and just outright deleting the post. But I couldn’t bring myself to do either.
I just stared dumbly at the comment by this unknown person and decided to have a long discussion with myself on why I was actually doing what I was doing.
I did a thorough soul-searching exercise to see if it was actually worth it to even post anything online.
“Why do I have to add my voice to a system that already seems so saturated?” “Why do I have to expose myself to someone I know nothing about, and who knows nothing about me, and give them the opportunity to demean me?” “Why do I have to make myself vulnerable to the attacks of others for posting my truth?”
I spent the next 24 hours really finding out for myself the real reason I was doing this. And after my exercise, I concluded on the following:
- The person who posted that comment was surely going to get what he wished for. His plans were definitely working out because I realized that his intentions were to make me stop posting online and probably also to weaken my self-confidence. I shouldn’t let him.
- The topic I had brought up for discussion had really made an impact in some people’s lives, given the likes and other helpful responses I had gotten from it. This person obviously was a kill-joy and wanted to also kill my joy. I shouldn’t let him.
- Posting on the internet comes with a price. You will be insulted, maligned, belittled and may even face other forms of threat. You must understand the reason you are doing this in the first place, or you may put yourself in a position where other people’s acts of wickedness, may have a negative impact on your self-esteem, self-confidence and even mental or physical well-being. Don’t let them.
So, How Do I Deal with Online Trolls and Stay Motivated in the Process?
- I ignore them. (I have had other instances of being trolled, but this one was really my wake-up call). For the ‘psychopath’ branding troll, I ignored him. I just deleted his post because I concluded that engaging with him might have only exposed more of his ignorance and maybe, foolishness, and I didn’t have that kind of time to waste.
- Whenever I post anything online, I do that with the awareness that I may be trolled. And so, when it eventually happens, I just brush it aside as “one of those things”, and carry on with my business.
- I continue to stay focused on the people who got me into posting online in the first place like this beautiful comment from a reader of one of my posts on my blog. These are the people that matter, and these are the people I should care about, not some online trolls trying to seek desperate attention.
If trolls are coming after you, then you should know that you are doing something right and making a difference. They are envious of what you are doing and feel terrible that they cannot do what you are doing. So, what is their secret weapon? Say or use mean words against you (most if not all of which are baseless and unvalidated), in an attempt to dull your shine or drown you out. Don’t let them.
In wrapping this up, please be aware that not everyone would laud you for your great and impactful writing skills. Some people in the form of trolls are out there just to discourage and frustrate all your efforts in an attempt to derail you. I would recommend you ignore them, move on with your life and keep doing what you are doing. But if you must engage, engage without emotions and never you allow anyone dull out your shine because you are unique and are indeed making a difference!
Love and Peace,
*Sign up to follow my blog or feel free to get in touch with me here.