When I was young, bullying mainly happened in person, or maybe over a computer on instant messaging. But today, it can happen a lot more places than that – like on social media. I just came across an article about Simone Biles, 19 year old olympic gymnast, who was recently body shamed on Twitter. Let’s not forget that Simone is NINETEEN. It sickens me that anyone has the audacity to make a comment about her body; but also sadly doesn’t surprise me. Thankfully, Simone was so mature with her response to these trolls, and tweeted:
You all might have seen my post on Aly Raisman, too, and it’s the same type of thing. People judging people – and I’m sick of it. Aly and Simone’s stories are examples that are open to the public, ones that we all have access to; but think about the kid in the lunch room, or the girl on the high school basketball team that no one hears about. These people are being affected too – just silently.
Simone is a nineteen year old celebrity who has to deal with this scrutiny in the public eye; which has got to be so hard. She’s so brave to put a tweet out like that, but do you think this won’t affect her? People’s comments about her body may stay with her longer than you think. I hope they don’t, but why do we live in a world where some want to put people down? Why does Simone Biles have to feel remorse over her body, or defend it for that matter, just because someone has a problem with it? Why does anyone have a problem with it in the first place? I have so many questions.
Social media is a part of our every day lives, and we’re all pretty aware of it at this point. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram – these are all some of the ways we stay in touch with our friends, the world, and what we’re interested in following. But sometimes it becomes too much, and we have to be reminded of the dangerous effects; like studies linking social media usage to poor body image and self esteem, or people being body shamed like Simone. The young kids really worry me most, because they’re at such an impressionable age, and in my opinion seeing way too much.
Most of us might not be under this spotlight, and are hopefully not getting these types of comments or push back from our audiences, which is good. Thankfully, we’re also likely not the mean people making these comments. But this is a lesson to take a good hard look at your words and how they affect people. We need to stop judging people, and stop hiding behind computer screens and phones.
We need to go out into the world and get some joy, some fulfillment, heck, give someone a compliment. We all as humans need to support each other, not tear each other down. Social media can be a positive thing; a connection, a way to keep in touch – but the more we’re using it like this, the more it makes me want to stay far away.
Something that we’ve all experienced with social media is pressure; pressure over the amount of “likes” or positive feedback you’re getting on posts, or comparing yourself to the fitness models you’re seeing on your feeds. We all want to feel accepted for what we post, and we’re all going to run into things we’re slightly jealous of. And on the comparison front, Steve Furtick says it best, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” So, focusing on social media as a way to feel valued, or as a means of comparison, is not going to get us anywhere.
In this age of social media, we really need to focus on getting positive reinforcements, having positive moments, etc. out in the world. I don’t know about you all, but getting a genuine hug from someone I haven’t seen in a while, having a drink and a great chat with a friend, giving someone a real time compliment, is SO much more important than getting a bunch of likes on a photo. And like I always say, wishing you were someone else or comparing yourself to others is going to get you nowhere. Being you is enough. We need to remind ourselves of these things in a time where social media seems and feels so important.
I digress. For real though, Simone Biles’ situation is something we all need to be mindful of. Everything we say to someone (especially publicly) can never be taken back, and can have more negative impact than you may know. And spending too much time on social media, comparing yourself, or measuring your success by the amount of praise (or lack thereof) you’re getting is just not a good way to live.
So, make an effort in 2017 to stop obsessing over what you’re going to post – how many likes you’re getting – whatever it is (I will be doing it too). Enjoy the company around you, enjoy the little things, and be kind to others.
And like Simone Biles’ tweet, stay true to yourself. Do YOU – that’s all that matters. Stand up to the bullies, be proud of yourself and your body, and do what you want to do for yourself. Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes: “Be you. Do you. For you.” Don’t do it for anyone else, y’all. ❤