Socializing online creates this “public spaces” dynamic from a private setting that few are accustomed to and that’s why, I believe, the virtual world has so much toxicity. In the past the internet was more comparable to an elites club, only those who could afford to connect would be online. Today, the internet is booming. Everyone who is anyone has social media now. Hell, influencers online is an actual career path that can be incredibly lucrative. It’s so affordable and convenient to connect, you can use your phone from anywhere to tap in to this virtual community. Friends, family, peers. Everyone is here.
When this was a less accessed space, a fake name and some bullshitting you “could be anyone” and the concept of being anonymous ‘so who cares’ began. Truthfully you are not anonymous at all, but that’ll be another conversation. The virtual community of the web world wide is in pandemonium and ‘k*** yourself’ culture has emerged, where people are challenging each other to verbally abuse strangers online until suicides happen in real time, live on camera. So few are even aware of how dark this virtual world can become.
I have socialized online in one form or another since 1996 and I’ve first-hand witnessed society change through the lens of this virtual world. The social media platforms have all encouraged over-sharing and under-caring in so many, doing it all for the validation without human consideration. That’s not to devalue the moments of connection and compassion you may experience while socializing with peers here. Everything is a balance.
From my perspective, the internet has contributed to a societal desensitization and a greater devaluation of human kind on a grand scale. Everything can be solved or researched online, what value are real life people? While we are communal creatures and we do in fact need people to be a whole, healthy and happy human. We need people who support us and encourage our betterment so we can feel validated in our efforts to pursue betterment. No one needs to be devalued or ridiculed — that hurtful act comes from inside the person hurling insults, they are hurt in some way.
I often recite the phrase ‘hurt people hurt people’ because I believe it is a simple truth. When I am feeling happy or contented I am not overly concerned with others, I will go with the flow. When I am feeling insecure or unhappy I will take offenses quickly and possibly become aggressive to preemptively defend myself from the world adding additional stress to my day. This is human nature and self preservation tactics that do not always serve us.
Winter of 2018 I got determined about loving myself and making healthier choices for my life. I also stopped visiting places and people who did not make me feel good. Going from a mindset of seeking validation from the world into seeking validation from myself has been its own journey. I believe I have made great strides of progress and I know for a fact I hit my share of backslides too. Even this blog is a part of my efforts to express my experience in the hopes it can help another soul navigating the same obstacles feel they’re not alone.
It’s not easy to put caring kindness in front of everything, even the ways you treat yourself. Society has conditioned us all to believe we ‘have the right to remain silent’ and I am only now learning and accepting that I have a right to be me as much as everyone else has a right to be them. Everyone matters, if we don’t care for each other: who will?
If you identify with the neurodivergent community, would appreciate an adult space with a focus on support and betterment, I’d like to invite you to check out my discord server! Where shame, blame and devaluation are discouraged while compassion and personal growth are encouraged. The server is designated mature (18+) and minors are promptly removed. Multiple categories allow Members to decide what sort of content they’d like to see from the server using selections in the #about-you channel after joining. You’re invited!