Dealing with Online Hate in Your Twenties

Over time social media has become something I use less and less, with the exception of Instagram. My slow transition to no longer using Facebook had a little to do with the comparison game we all play and a lot do with the amount of negativity I saw on the platform on a daily basis.

When I joined Instagram it was a place to share photos and follow puppy accounts, long before DMs were possible and comment sections were full of negativity. With Instagram being one of the few forms of social media I still use on a daily basis, I've become discouraged by how many people on my feed are not only receiving hate but how they are coping with it as well.

Dealing with online hate in your twenties can be difficult, especially since bullies typically give up by highs school. Click to read how to deal with haters in your twenties.

Something you may not know about me is that I thrift for profit, meaning I buy cute, designer clothes and resell it online. Because of this, I follow a lot of other people who do this as a full-time job, plus bloggers and everyday people I've met. This week alone I've seen numerous people talk about their "haters," show screenshots of rude messages they receive, and let those comments negatively impact their day and self-perception.

As someone who doesn't let much get to them, all I ever want to do is shake them and remind them these people don't matter! And maybe respond with the crudest thing I can think of. Since that's not an option though, or at least not one many would accept, here is the advice I would give any client or friend who came to me with this problem. I'm a therapist, just in case you hadn't heard me mention that before. Okay, let's talk about online hate.

Your feelings are valid.

Although I'm a therapist, I often fall into the trap of telling my friends that what other's say about them does not matter, forgetting to remind myself that their feelings are valid no matter the situation. If something someone said bothers you, don't try to pretend like it didn't. Rather than obsessing over someone else's comment, spend some time thinking about why it bothered you, whether the comment bothers you, or just the fact that they brought it up.

Let's use me for example, I have a big ass nose. There's no nicer way of putting it, somewhere during my adolescence my nose grew to a size I did not authorize. I've had this nose my whole life, so at this point, it no longer bothers me. Now let's say someone made a rude ass comment about it on Instagram, chances are I would suddenly feel very self-conscious. In this case, my feelings have less to do with my nose, and more to do with my unhappiness that someone would try to use my own body parts to hurt me.

Most of the times when people insult you, they use something that previously didn't bother you against you, such as your weight or voice pitch. The trick to letting go of the pain that comes with those comments is to ask yourself if your nose/weight/voice bothered you before the comment, and if not, carry on living. Of course, there are times haters will hit you right where it hurts, in those situations, it helps to remind yourself that feeling worse about something doesn't cause change. No matter the situation, your feelings are valid, and it's up to you how you choose to respond to those feelings.

What they say is not valid.

Out of all the things I may say in this post, this is the most important. Your feelings are valid, what they say is not. One more time so that it sinks in. Your feelings are valid, what they say is not. Just because someone says something that hurts your feelings does not make it true, and more often than not, what others say about you says more about them.

Back to me as an example. A while back I had someone telling me I was, well, a crazy bitch. Am I a little crazy? Well, yeah. Can I be a bitch? Sure, sometimes. Am I so much of a crazy bitch that I deserve to be told repeatedly? Definitely not. Just because someone says something that hurts you, or even rings a bit true, does not make their word gospel. Feel your feelings as long as you need to, but don't forget to remind yourself that what they are saying is just their opinion, and opinions are like assholes, everyone has them.

Don't be afraid to fight back.

For a few moments, I'm gonna step off my therapist pedestal and put on my best friend hat, because it's not fun always being the bigger person. I'm not saying you should make it your new life mission to expose a hateful person for the crap human being they are, but sometimes it does feel good to call someone out.

Here's my advice, if you personally know the person sending you hate, keep moving. Things get too messy when there are mutual friends, plus the anonymity is gone making the whole situation very weird. If you don't know the person sending you hate, what's stopping you from sending them a quick message reminding them what a fucking asshole they are? Is it the most grownup thing to do? No. But it feels good to call someone out on their shit sometimes.

Remember they are seeking attention. 

If you are receiving regular hate from someone, or even multiple people, remind yourself that the majority of these people are simply seeking attention. I cant think of a time where I went out of my way to send someone a hateful message, but I can admit I thrive off annoying my boyfriend. Unfortunately, he's learned to ignore me in order to get me to shut up faster, and the same concept can be used to get people to leave you alone.

Many people send hate in order to receive a response, whether a direct response or a cue that what they said has affected you in some way. This is the reason I've grown so tired of seeing women on my feed tearing up on their Instastory, they are letting their "haters" win! In my opinion, you have two options to respond to hate, ignore it all together or address it once and move on.

The block button is your friend.

To be totally honest, when writing this post I had one specific person in mind who was a large motivation for me writing this post. Just this morning she went on a teary-eyed rant about how sad she feels for her haters and how she doesn't want people telling her to ignore it because she is not going to let them win by being ignored. As someone who has already reached out to her the first time this happened, I know that she thinks she's doing all of social media a public service by crying on camera and letting her haters know she knows they are hurting.

But guess what? Not every hater is a wounded bird acting out for attention! Some people are just assholes, and they more attention you give them the bigger they grow! If there is someone regularly sending you hate, please explain to me why you have not blocked them? I'll wait.

Oh right, there is no credible reason as to why you shouldn't block negative people out of your life. The block button exists for a reason, so don't be afraid to use it! If the hateful person is a friend or family, remind yourself that social media is not real life, meaning there is nothing stopping you or them from communicating with you in real life.

Have you ever dealt with online hate? Did you respond or just keep moving? Let me know in the comments below!

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Dealing with online hate in your twenties can be difficult, especially since bullies typically give up by highs school. Click to read how to deal with haters in your twenties.

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