I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, but couldn’t quite hit the publish button. It is hard to share when I feel vulnerable. After I tucked this post away, the topic of cyberbullying started popping up all over, both in my real life and cyber life. I realized I needed to share because people need to know it is okay to say no, to delete that comment, to walk away from that conversation.
I am generally a quiet, patient person. But lately what I have seen on both social media and online games has made me cringe. It would seem people no longer care about their words. They fling them out across cyberspace like darts, hitting anyone that comes by. They belittle, demean, and use sarcasm as a way to get their point across. People are using words as a weapon. And unlike a real weapon, words leave deep wounds that people may never see.
Usually I let people comment on facebook and on my own website. I am open to people disagreeing with me. And the majority of the time the people I interact with know how to disagree in a respectful way. Then one day someone left a comment on a topic I shared on Facebook. I let it sit there. After all, they have the right to disagree with me. But the way they said it was not nice and not at all respectful. Finally, I removed the comment, the first one I have ever removed. Why? Because this person wasn’t simply disagreeing with me. They were using their words to belittle me. That’s when I said no more. I refuse to be used that way. I refuse to allow someone to tear me down in order to build up their own idea.
I refuse to be bullied.
And I refuse to watch others be bullied.
As a writer, I understand the power of words. One word can shatter a person’s soul. It can lodge inside a person’s heart and mind until the day he or she dies. Yet on the internet we have no problem saying things that I doubt many of us would ever say if we were face to face with that person. Or if we did, we would immediately see the hurt we had inflicted.
I no longer remain silent when I see people ganging up on another person in cyberspace. I carefully choose my words and say something. I stick up for the person being beat over the head with words. Because if I don’t, then who will?
And I will no longer allow comments to remain on my Facebook page or website that tear either myself or other people down. I will not bully others, nor will I participate by remaining quietly on the sidelines. It stops here, with me.
My friends, do not let other people tear you down. There is a respectful way to disagree with people, and then there is simple bullying to get you to join their side. You can delete the comment. You can leave the conversation. You can close the account. You are not what other people say about you. Let me say that again: You are not what other people say about you. You are not stupid. You are not a whore. You are not ugly. You are not lazy. You are not a noob.
You are a unique person, created in the image of God who loves you. Your soul matters so much more than your body. You have the potential to change the world simply by allowing God to transform you from the inside out.
You do not need to let other people stomp all over you with their words. You have the power to walk away.
The moment I realized this a couple weeks ago, I found freedom. I was not chained to that comment. And neither are you.
I refuse to be bullied. How about you?