You know, I'm really not much of a listener.  Hm.  Wait, let me be clearer.  I'm not much of an auditory person.  I have difficulty just listening to things.  Listening to clients I'm okay with - but that's probably because I'm listening on an intuitive level as well, which is a totally different kind of listening.  No, I'm talking about audiotapes, and teleconferences, and the like.

ANYWAY.  Today I  found myself listening to Hay House Radio, unusual for me.  But, you know, I do like to experience the work others are doing in the world, because I find it really enhances what I have to offer, keeps me tuned up, if you will.

So, I was listening to Cheryl Richardson chatting with Alanis Morisette.  They were discussing the big downside of being in the public eye - people posting negative comments and sending negative messages.  Faceless bullying.  Vicious attacks.  And downright being cruel and mean.  Yep.  This happens.  Such is the world, eh?

And as I listened, I began to wonder what exactly was going on with that, you know, in that cosmic way.  The way that I'm always preaching about - that we draw things in for a reason.  And that there is opportunity buried in the difficulty.  So where was the opportunity in this difficulty?

Alanis & Cheryl both agreed that they tried to see as little of those sorts of things as possible, and that it was best to have a filter.  And when you do get hit across the head with one of these things, the best thing is not to respond.

True.  Responding to someone's negative comment not only brings you down to their level and justifies their position, it actually adds energy to the comment.  By responding, in whatever fashion, you are adding your energy to this negative energy that has been put out in the world.  And then that nastiness just grows and grows.  Until we, as a human collective, can get our sh*t together and begin to realize that putting that out there in any way is just not good for anyone.

But another thing struck me as they were talking about this.

I believe that the negative comments are our shadow coming back to find us.  By shadow, I mean that side of us that we repress.  The negative feelings we have about ourselves, somewhere inside, that we haven't accepted and healed and brought to the light.  The parts of us that we judge as "not okay".  It's not okay to be "bossy" "loud" "selfish" "wanting attention" "fat".  Or whatever it is you want to put between a pair of quotes.  Those are some of mine.

That repressed, shadow part of us wants to be seen and heard and loved and acknowledged. 

And it will badger us through our thoughts, through our relationships, and yes now, in the world of the future that we live in, through the wonderful world of the internet.  This shadow self will continue to bug us until we can hold and acknowledge it, and accept those parts of us as okay.

For Example!  I have several YouTube videos out there about my experiences following the Paleodiet, and trying to get healthy and lose weight.  I don't really do much with them anymore, but I still have people finding the videos, and occasionally commenting.  And while some of the comments are supportive, and others are amusing to me (using it as a platform to promote veganism), I've received others that are just mean.  You know it is always great to get a little note in your inbox that you've got a new comment pointing out that you're fat.

It hurts.  It hurts because it has a landing target.  It hurts because it is a judgement I have of myself, it is my own wound, and it is something I haven't completely healed yet, though I am working on it.  And feel like I'll be working on it forever.

These comments are an opportunity for me to look at how I bully myself.  And to stop it.

So!  The next time you get slammed with a bully in the internet, take a breath, and dig in to the opportunity:

  1. Ask yourself "Why does this comment bother me? In what ways do I agree with the comment?"
  2. Try accepting the comment as true and okay, "Yes, I do feel that way, or perhaps that is partly true, and that is okay."
  3. Now, find the bigger Truth, the Higher Truth.  For instance, with the fat comment, the Truth could be that my weight does not set my value as a human being.  This is the spiritual opportunity in the comment, to embrace and see the truth of the Truth.
  4. Realize that their comment also had a lot to do with how they judge themselves, and their own shadow - we judge others for the things we judge in ourselves.  And that having their judgements is part of their personal growth process, until they are able to accept their own shadow. 
  5. Now, take the energy that they've dumped on you, and send it back to them and let them take responsibility for it.  While it is an opportunity, you certainly don't need to carry anyone else's baggage.  You can allow it to be a flashlight that shows you your baggage, and then turn it off.

I sincerely hope that you don't have the opportunity to put these steps to use.  But, if you do, just be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself some space and support, and reach out to others who can affirm that you are a beautiful light.

Because the bottom line with cyberbullies, is that it is just a bunch of lies. 

I want to know:  do you have your own techniques that work with cyberbullies?  How do you prefer to handle them?  Let me know in the comments below!