February 28, 2013

How to Deal with Social Media Negativity.

Don’t identify with your thought. Scratch the surface. Dig deep.

During the past few months I have gotten increasingly active on Instagram. I started my account nine or 10 months ago mostly as a “for fun” thing, and yet another way to get involved in social media (the agony!), but this time… all pictures. No writing, no comments, no links, no spam, no crap. Just photos.

I liked the idea of that, to be able to share just a small piece of my day with no hassle. That’s what Instagram is, or what I thought it was: no hassle.

It takes you no more than 10 seconds to post whatever you’re looking to share, and you get instant response. It didn’t take long before I started including my lifestyle as a yoga teacher in my daily feed and suddenly my following started to grow.

135,000+ followers later?

Hassle is starting to creep in!

There is so much love from all of the people connecting on this account—people from all over the world discussing, connecting, sharing in the comment section. It’s an account dedicated to yoga, so the people following are mostly genuine, real people just like you and me, looking for inspiration. But with a following that big there is bound to be some bad apples and I recently started seeing arguments popping up here and there. I don’t usually answer comments at all (too overwhelming), but what do you do when random people start calling you names? All of a sudden there were long outdrawn, hideous fights happening in the feed and the negativity seemed to grow at a speed so fast it actually scared me.

It was like a bad spiral, more and more people started getting sucked into this drama. I even got emails from followers complaining about what was happening. Not what I wanted, at all! I want the account to be a source of inspiration, of positivity, of happiness—not see the words “bi*ch” plastered all over the comment section.

So I decided to dedicate a post to this weird, online vibe. This is what I wrote:

NO. FIGHTING. IN. MY. COMMENT. FEED. Seriously!!! This is a space of love. If you feel compelled to write something negative or mean, please stop for a second and take a moment before you do so. Close your eyes. Breathe. What’s the trigger here? What is it that you’re really upset about? It can’t be me, that’s for sure. You don’t know me—I am just someone in your social media world that likes to share words of inspiration and stand on my hands. How could I possibly ever upset you? And it can’t be one of the gazillion people commenting on my posts every day. They are just people connecting and reacting to what they see. How could they ever get under your skin? Every time you feel upset about something that crosses your path (especially in this strange virtual reality we call the online world), try to not react right away. Don’t identify with your thought. Scratch the surface. Dig deep. The reason you’re really lashing out is not found on Instagram, or any external place at all for that matter. The reason you are lashing out is because for a moment there, you stepped away from the present moment and into a scenario that is in fact not true. None of this is true. Truth lies in love, and in love alone. So calm down. There is nothing to be mad about! I don’t remove comments here, even the really bad ones (thankfully, the really bad ones are rare) as I like to read and take part in all that comes up from what I post. Also, I am a firm believer in that our buttons do need to be pushed from time to time. Observing our reactions to bullshit is a powerful way of recognizing identification with ego.

Once you recognize the madness of this behavior, you can drop it. I mean—why would you feel the urge to call me a bitch/slut/fat/ugly? Also—why do I need to make your perception of reality part of my own? The answer is… I don’t. And neither do you.

Be grateful for the people that challenge you. They teach you things you need to know. Let’s all try to be nice! Life is far too short to be wasted on anything but love and light and butterflies and rainbows and ice cream. Now, go have a beautiful day.



Eight hundred and something comments of pure love later, Instagram world was back to normal. And not a single bad comment since. We are powerful beings! Lets keep spreading the light.

Want to join the fam? @yoga_girl …on Insta, of course.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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