Three Things Happen When You’re Honest On The Internet, Only One Of Them Is Good

I’m very honest on Twitter. There are many nights where I’ll tweet those dark moments I have when I’m thinking about my brother or my nephew. I’ll also grumble about my bad days, nothing major, just a general “can this day be over?” tweet. I’ve been doing that a few times on Facebook lately. The last time I did it, I received tons of support, but it left me wondering if I was annoying people.

Nothing anyone said made me think that. But, everyone’s support made me think of the amount of times I’ve seen people complain about the emotional honesty of others. There are a lot of social media police out there. We all know them, and maybe we’re guilty of it ourselves.

Here are the two things they convict people of:

  1. Posting your negative feelings.
  2. Posting only positive things.

The only things you’re allowed to post, if they deem social media acceptable at all, are memes, I guess.

Posting Negative Feelings

If you post about a bad day, or even go deep into your feelings and share your personal fears and hangups, someone will judge you. It will happen. Someone will bash you for complaining about things that aren’t important and others will say that you merely want attention when you reveal your insecurities.

I believe in putting things in perspective, sure. After losing two people I love and dealing with an debilitating illness, my view of a “bad day” is very different from most people’s. That doesn’t mean someone can’t complain about “one of those days” where you spill your coffee, your computer is slow as frak, you’ve missed a deadline, your subway car was overcrowded etc…

Why shouldn’t you complain about that? Everyone complains about that to their friends and family. What makes social media so different from face-to-face communication that someone can’t say “Today sucked?”

Even small stressors build up in our systems and can affect how we handle life. Things build up. For me, writing gets those things out of my body. Right after I post about whatever was frustrating me that day, I’m able to move on. Through the act of typing it and sharing it, I let it go.

So What About the Deeper Stuff?

People use the term “cry for help” as a way to demean others. That makes no sense. Isn’t it good if people are asking for help? Shouldn’t we want to give our friends advice? The cool thing about social media is that if you want to ignore someone’s sorrow, you can. No pressure.

That’s probably why a lot of people feel comfortable sharing personal thoughts on social media. They can put it out there without feeling like they are putting any pressure on their family or friends.

It also circles back to releasing that emotion. It’s good to get things out. It’s a positive thing when people can identify what’s bothering them. Even if someone’s emotional post doesn’t make sense to you, it’s them trying to work out how they feel. That’s a good thing. They want to improve their lives.

Yet, we damn them for it.

Only Sharing the Good Should Be Great, Right?

If people judge you for the “negative” things you say, then maybe it’s safer to only post about the positive things in your life. Maybe you should only post positive quotes and talk about how people can better themselves and be more awesome. You know, share some positive wisdom you’ve learned along the way.

Nope.

The number of times I’ve heard people remark “I can’t believe she posts that bullshit. Her life is a mess. She’s a mess” about someone else, sometimes even about me, is alarming.

We slap people who only share the positives in life with the “inauthentic label.” There’s nothing disingenuous about only sharing one side of yourself. If something is part of who you are, then it’s not fake.

There was a time in my life when I only shared extremely positive things on the internet. I wasn’t trying to make other people think I was amazing. I was trying to make myself think I was amazing. I was going through a hard time. It was trying the “what you think about, you bring about” mentality. It helped me to not dwell on the bad things.

Yet, when someone makes a collage of happiness out of their social media presence, we make it about us. After all, don’t other people share their thoughts for our own amusement?

Sometimes, I suppose they do. Other times, people share their thoughts to heal themselves.

Might As Well Abandon the Internet!

If you’ve encountered vitriol for expressing how you feel about your life, it may make you want to toss your computer across the room.

Don’t do that. There’s something else happening that you don’t realize.

That emotional honesty is helping someone.

If you’re sharing details about your deep depression, you’re helping other people to know that they aren’t alone.

If you’re bemoaning your frustrating day, you’re telling people that “hey, you’re just human. It’s okay to let the little things get to you sometimes.”

If you’re sharing the positive things, then that tells people that there is good in this world. Happiness is possible. Joy is a good thing to have.

Keep being emotionally honest, no matter what anyone says. Better to be in touch with your emotions, no matter how negative, than to be emotionally numb.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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Comments

  1. I don’t have much to comment, but ‘yup’.
    Sometimes I tell people they’re being an ass, but I’d also say that to them in person, as people can tell me when I’m being an ass. I’ll weed out people who are consistently being an ass, as I find it hard to be friends with them.
    And I guess that in that I treat online as real – some are friends, some you keep it on the ‘check in now and then’ level – it’s all fine. Things I post might be of interest to someone, or not, tastes differ. You don’t have to like everything I post, as I’m not interested in everything you’d post (or anyone, for that matter).
    Keep up the good work! In whichever shape it comes.

    • If something is too much of an ass too often, I’ll check in with them to see what’s going on. Maybe they’re stress out about other stuff. Same if they’re posting too many depressing things. They may need some help beyond the FB comment.

  2. I use sarcasm to live through those moments where a small thing becomes that tipping point to a melt-down. Some people appreciate it, others don’t. I believe being positive helps in every situation, but it’s always nice to find someone who is soooo honest on the Internet. It’s weird that I take more comfort in a perfect stranger’s perspective vs. someone who knows me. And if people get sick of “oversharers”– turn off the computer. 🙂

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