I’ve had thoughts just floating around and around for the past few weeks and I’ve had a really hard time getting it down in a concise and readable way for others to understand that also comes from a place of loving. But, I think the gist of it is this:

Why do people spend energy and time sending out negativity? Isn’t their life just as busy and full as mine? Don’t they have only the same limited hours in a day and juggle things around trying to fit them all in? Why would they choose to spend any of those precious moments writing hateful and venomous things about other people?

The most used argument is that everyone has the right to write about whatever they want in their blog. And I mostly agree with that. In most cases, we do. But the part I don’t get is why? What has happened in that person’s life that makes it fun to trash other people for sport? Possibly residual resentments from their upbringing? Maybe they were teased or emotionally abused (or worse) and so they unconsciously need to unload that somewhere? I think if they focused on themselves for a while and went through their own emotional stuff, they wouldn’t feel the need they do now to tear others down,

I tend to think, for the most part, that it is not just plain jealously, because of the amount of pleasure these people seem to get out of their ‘sport’ and how zealous they are about trying to tear other people down. I think it borders more on an obsessive behavior, where they are finding their self-worth in hurting others.

Another common argument is that the people ‘on the top’ that are getting hit with the negativity, should somehow not care because ‘they are famous’ and so this is what goes with the territory. Since I’m not one to get into the trash magazines about movie and music celebrities and I don’t agree that being famous is synonymous with asking the world at large to judge you for every choice you make for the rest of your life, I don’t agree with this argument, either. If someone has worked hard, been recognized for their effort and reaps the benefit of being ‘on top’, then great for them! I wish we could all support each other and say, ‘Way to go! Nice work!’ or if we don’t agree with what they say or what they’ve done, how about, ‘I don’t agree with what you said/wrote/did but I hope you get everything you hope for!’ because them getting what they hope for and work towards takes nothing away from me. There is enough ‘good stuff’ out there for everyone.

Honest debating and real discussions are great. Not agreeing is great. Diversity is what makes the world a great and wonderful place to live. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, just as I’m sure there will be those that don’t agree with what I’ve written here. But resorting to name calling and trash talking and negativity can’t be the best option. And if you have the time and energy and get the inclination to put negativity out into the world, how about putting that excess energy into something positive, like volunteering for your local candidate who might get elected because of your efforts and create some real change in the government? Or, how about looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you love yourself, since that might be lacking. Be positive with yourself and let it come out of you and give it to others. You will be a truly happier person.

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26 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more.

    The paragraph that starts with “Another common argument is that the people…” is something I think ALL the time! The “it comes with the territory” belief is something that most people have come to accept, and I think there is something very wrong with that.

    I agree that diversity and difference of opinion are what make the world as interesting as it is. I love the fact that my life is full of different people and experience. I can’t understand why people constantly try to tear eachother down or hurt eachother.

    http://youmustchill.blogspot.com/2006/07/in-which-i-bitch-about-racial-division.html

    I’m not trying to pimp my blog at all, I just think that entry kind of relates. It’s not very well written because I was angry, and there is a fair amount of cursing. The words “stupid” and “people” come up a lot. I was really just trying to get at what you expressed so nicely with this entry.

    In any case, I think I’m such a happy person (although it won’t seem so after reading the linked entry) because I genuinely love people and I want the best for everyone I come into contact with. I think that’s why I enjoy your blog so much. I definitely get that feeling from your writing.

  2. Leah,

    Nope. Their lives aren’t full at all. This is how they fill them. It’s tragic, really, and I just can’t be party to it all. Neither can you, because you are so bothered by it.

    This was quite consise. While being short, it gives rise to what else is going on in your life (I’m speaking very generally here) and that is that you must need some positivity.

    Care to sign up for a Dale Carnegie seminar with me? We could giggle through the whole thing.

    Or just do the giggling. That is just about the best therapy for me.

  3. I struggle to write anything positive when I am depressed. I do my best to be positive no matter what; though somehow friends will tell me that they could tell something was wrong in spite of my attempts. *shrug*

  4. I think the answer is in your own writing when you said “I think if they focused on themselves for a while and went through their own emotional stuff, they wouldn’t feel the need they do now to tear others down”.

    Being introspective is painful and time-consuming work. It’s so much easier to lash out than to look within.

  5. Honestly, I feel badly for them. I mean that. I think a person’s life has to be pretty empty, and they have to be pretty well overcome with self-loathing and low self-esteem to spend their time and energy sending out hatred into the world.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean I condone or forgive what they do and say. But I *do* pity them. And, of course, I won’t give them one iota of *my* time or attention. I just don’t have the patience for it.

    Its sad, really. They want to be paid attention to so badly, they’re willing to do almost anything to get it.

    I’m tempted here to say something about ‘not enough hugs from daddy as a kid’… but i’m sure each of them has their own individual and unique but very, very sad story.

    Thanks for posting this, Leah. You’re a brave girl.

  6. I totally agree with you, and especially that about celebrities and people on top, that’s something I’ve thought a lot about too.

    “how about looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you love yourself, since that might be lacking. Be positive with yourself and let it come out of you and give it to others. You will be a truly happier person.”

    How about we all do that? I think I’m generally a positive person, but I’ll do that tomorrow anyway. It won’t hurt to strengthen my positivity even more…

  7. I don’t know where this is coming from or what the background is, but don’t think I need to. I think it’s a shame that the blogosphere has fallen prey to this same facet of human nature that permeates all other aspects of our lives. It’s just as you said: “they are finding their self-worth in hurting others.”

    I agree with Sweetney as well. Right now, I am struggling with a pretty tough case of depression, and it would never even occur to me to try to tear someone down to my level. It doesn’t make the critic feel better, and only makes them look worse.

    You’re absolutely right that “there is enough ‘good stuff’ out there for everyone.” If you don’t want to support others in getting theirs, fine. Then just leave them well enough alone.

  8. I know the site of which you speak, and after I glanced at it for a few seconds (and after I became really bored with it) here were the thoughts I had:

    1. Man, jealousy’s a powerful animal.
    2. How could a person possibly spend that much time writing about, thinking about, and discussing ANOTHER PERSON? I’d much rather spend that time writing about, thinking about, and discussing MYSELF! (Teehee.) The only explanation I can come up with is they find their lives too mundane—or painful—to do so.
    3. It’s a new brand of bullying. The old playground bullies had to show their faces and risk consequence in order to carry out their attacks. This kind of anonymASS bully would never, could never, have the calf nuts to have that discussion or say those things in person. It simply wouldn’t happen.
    4. They feel a sense of powerlessness and lack of control in their own lives. Their spouse or significant other holds all the cards, runs the show…their boss is domineering…they have no options and no recourse. So they use the keyboard and internet as their weapon of (misplaced) revenge.
    5. That was it. Then I got back to thinking about myself again.

    🙂

  9. Amen Sister. I don’t get it either. I can understand disagreeing with someone or having thoughts and feelings about an issue- but WHY take the time to mean to other people? I think those that do must not like themselves very much, and that makes me sad.

  10. I think they get a power trip off the reaction and the argument that usually ensues, so if you don’t argue or ignore them, then they back off and move on to someone who will. Sometimes those blogs point you to other blogs that might benefit you or interest you (because if they are making fun of you they are probably making fun of others like you), so I take it as an opportunity to find new people out there. There is always something positive in the concept if you look for it….as for the person doing it, he/she has to come to his/her own realization that what he/she is doing is only destroying him/her.

  11. This part really resonates with me:
    “how about looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you love yourself, since that might be lacking.”

    I believe that insecurity and lack of self-love is cause for much of the world’s angst and hate.

    Unfortunately, believing that doesn’t help change anything. Change needs to come from within. Cliche, but true.

  12. Excellent point:

    I think if they focused on themselves for a while and went through their own emotional stuff, they wouldn’t feel the need they do now to tear others down,

    Couldn’t agree with you more on this subject. Too may people not looking in the mirror. Me thinks it’s too painful for them and it’s just easier to trash other people.

    This is one of the main aspects about you that I really, really admire and love. You are a giver, and a good and positive giver.

  13. I’m not sure what you’re actually referring to, but there is at least one site I’ve read that certainly fits your description. I think it’s almost too easy to say it’s a lack of self worth that propels people who spew for fun. Some blame must go to our culture in which over-the-top is never enough. Years ago we had Dangerfield; now we’ve got Howard Stern. It just occurred to me, as I was thinking about the TV shows and movies that put the popular in Pop Culture, that much of humor today is 12 year old Boy stuff–crude, rude, picking-your-nose-in-public guffaws. Certainly the site that I read does exactly that, only it’s 40-something Girl stuff. I almost don’t think it’s personal. It’s a schtick. Belongs on the Borscht Belt.

  14. Speaking only for myself on a personal level I think it comes from stress. There are things imposed on me by others I endure until I can’t take anymore in, then when I get to the point I’m feeling really crazy/angry, writing the badness down is a good way to blow off steam and sort my feelings out. The interesting thing about this process is that for me, nine times out of ten I’ll regret having written what I wrote a couple days afterward, or wish I would’ve expressed myself in a gentler way, when at the time I was writing I felt like the people I wrote about deserved everything said about them and more.

    I’ve learned several good personal lessons as a result of this so I can’t really call it a mistake. More something I needed to do to get from here to there. I think it’s when you write out hate or cattiness with no reason other than to get a laugh or intend to injure that you have to really pull yourself up and think about your motivations for doing it.

  15. Great post. I don’t know which site you are refererencing (thank goodness), but I couldn’t agree more with what you said.

    I also appreciated your attempt to understand why people feel the need to be so negative and critical. I really believe that people are a product of their experience, and the champions are the ones who can turn their pain into something beautiful. (Much as I believe you have done and continue to do.)

    Or, how about looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you love yourself, since that might be lacking. Be positive with yourself and let it come out of you and give it to others. You will be a truly happier person.

    I think this is a beautiful suggestion, and the source of the true remedy. I read something years ago that has really impacted me: “Everybody needs more love.” It’s really simple, but every word bears a lot of weight. I have it posted by my desk and I often re-read it four times, emphasizing each word a different time. Everybody. Needs. More. Love. I really believe it.

    Again, great post!

  16. I appreciate your comments, Leah. I had a similar post, but on a more global sort of plane – and of course, I have spouted my hatred at the world now and then.. but yeah. Why can’t we all just be nice?

    The comments sound like there is a specific website targeting a specific person.. I can guess the person, but now I’m all curious about the website! Better not to give them traffic though 🙂

    Um. Total tangent – is that a plugin you use for comments, to allow people to be emailed followup? And if so, what is it? I’d love to get something like that installed.

  17. Thanks, Leah. This is a great post. I often find myself ragging on other people, and it takes a moment but eventually I see that it’s really just me and my issues causing my grief. (There’s a book title: me and my issues) Looking inward instead of outward can be daunting but very crucial to self-growth. Thanks again for bringing this up.

  18. So well written Leah. And it’s all true. I think the world would make a head-spinning turn around if more people would concentrate on putting out positive vibes. What you focus on grows… meaning that if all you put out there is negativity, that is all the Universe will give back to you.

    As for the celebrity thing, it drives me batty when people feel the need to tear down celebs for every little thing. I don’t know if it makes them feel superior or what, but it bugs me. Just because they chose a career that is more public than most doesn’t mean they deserve less privacy or respect than anyone else. I wish celebrity was like it was in the old days – where they had their own lives and only had to contend with public scrutiny when it was appropriate, like at a movie premier or awards show or whatever. Let people pee in peace! How would those who trash others feel if they were the target and they couldn’t live a moment in their life without being picked apart?

    Anyway, I honestly think negative people are just cowards and so insecure that the only way they can feel powerful is to sit behind a computer screen and spew vitriolic comments. They don’t have to be responsible for their actions and they don’t have to face anyone. It’s sad that they think so little of themselves.

  19. well, ‘amen to that’ as they say.

    i was also going to add that i have a cartoon about people like this on my profile page [linked above] and that pretty much sums it up. so does part of what ree said, because she beat me to it 😛
    “3. It’s a new brand of bullying. The old playground bullies had to show their faces and risk consequence in order to carry out their attacks. This kind of anonymASS bully would never, could never, have the calf nuts to have that discussion or say those things in person. It simply wouldn’t happen.”

    people behind a computer screen mask are relentless and annoying. someone else mentioned ignoring them and that is definitely key, but when they are specifically attacking you, even if no one else believes it, boy is it HARD to just let it go and not defend yourself against their ludacris comments. these people are trolls. lots of people in the world of the internet think trolls ‘aren’t real people’ but they are, it’s the behavior imo that makes them a troll. instigating, rude, etc. sad indeed.

    anyways, well written.

  20. It’s easy to be mean. Much easier than (a) looking at ourselves and our own short falls (b) forgiving the inadequacies in others and (c) understanding that success in one area of life doesn’t mean perfection in all areas of life.

    It’s easy to let our own imperfections stop us from achieving our own great successes, so we don’t like to be reminded that other people can overcome their own sh*&t to achieve something, or achieve something in spite of their sh&*t.

    I also think our society (maybe other societies too?) makes it easy to fall into this behavior. Jane mentioned TV shows, and I would add that so much of the comedy is about putting other people down, which is why I do not like most sit-coms. And news media seems to be on the constant look out for something bad to report about some well known person, even if it has nothing to do with his/her achievement (every celebrity break up, rehab visit, weight gain for example).

    Final point…. Totally agree with Mary Tsao: low self-esteem/ self-worth is the biggest problem facing this world.

  21. I really, really liked this. And couldn’t agree more. I would no more leave a cruel comment than trash someone on my site. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  22. i honestly can’t get over it i have been trying to since before blogher. it makes me feel physically ill and heartsick. i didn’t read it after i first found it and then found myself the other day, ready to wage battle, but did not. i don’t know why i just can’t give it up to god or whatever. let. it. go.

    come over for a drink. i need you girl.

  23. Very well said, Leah. I wish I could add more, but you said it perfectly and at a time when I really needed to hear it. Thanks for being brave enough to say it outright. Bravo, friend.

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