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Criticism in a World of Social Media

In Mind by BreeLeave a Comment

Whether or not you’re religious, or know your bible verses off by heart, we’ve all heard at least the first phrase; “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Don’t be so critical. This is just a fundamental tenet of being a good person.

Unfortunately, it’s not always something we can avoid. We have a 7 second window when we first meet someone to both judge them, and have them judge us. That’s a shitload of pressure, friends! You have 7 seconds to wrap up your mind, body, and soul into a tight, nice, neat little package. We all know that it won’t always be favourable; you can’t please all of the people all of the time. That’s also a fundamental human tenet. So what happens when we encounter someone who may *gasp * not like us, or even * bigger gasp * judge/criticize us?

In Internet slang, a troll is a defined as “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement. This sense of both the noun and the verb “troll” is associated with Internet discourse, but also has been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.”

And where is it easier to harass people online than through social media? We practically BEG people to judge us with every photo and caption we post. These trolls/“armchair athletes”/ keyboard jockeys sit behind their screens and judge. They judge what we do, what we wear, how we look, how our partners look… If they can rip it apart, they will. Armed with this info, knowing that these people are out there (with the sole intention of messing with us and our self-esteem), what do we do about it?

Only YOU can prevent Internet fires

When you start lifting heavy weights, you get callouses, and man your fingers hurt. You realize you need to build up these callouses, and (to transfer the metaphor), criticism can do that. That hurt. That initial recoil when the bullet hits, is your callous. So it’s not that these callouses make the exercise hurt less, but they help harden you up so that the exercise doesn’t affect you as much as it did the first time. The criticism isn’t taken as personally with every passing post. With that said, it’s true that we all judge. But it is best to do so with reason, respect, and empathy, rather than the rage, resentment, and disdain. You’ve probably heard the term constructive criticism; that’s a thing. It’s criticism for the sake of getting better, not just criticism for the sake of criticism.

We are all born judgment free and not critical of others or ourselves. On the playground, we’re all even. Children learn to criticize as they grow up, and become judgmental adults who want what others have; the bigger and more expensive toys, the better partners, the dream bodies. The list as an adult is endless… Oh what a tangled web we weave!

In coming posts, we’ll continue with the theme of criticism, talk about the three separate parts to judging (self criticism, unjust criticism, and external criticism), and what to do about it.

Until then, be HumanAF, and keep the judging to a minimum.