Since I went a tiny bit viral this summer, I've been getting so many hate messages. The positive messages I get far outweigh the bad ones, luckily, but it's come to a point where seeing I have a new comment fills me with dread. Even though the thing everyone is commenting on is now months old and irrelevant, it's still getting attention. This is mainly over on YouTube but it happens quite a bit here, too, people writing entire essays about how I'm disgusting and deserve to die.
How do I deal with it? Well, sometimes I don't. I let it get to me, I contemplate quitting, I go to bed with a heavy heart and end up losing a night's sleep because someone out there made a conscious decision to make me unhappy and send a message full of venom.
Other times, I'll rant in my journal about how I've lost faith in humanity and people are unnecessarily cruel and should think before they speak, blah blah blah.
Sometimes I'll look at nice comments, emails and letters I've received to counteract the negativity. It doesn't always work, and most of the time I can't be bothered to search for them because I suddenly feel so bad about myself and don't want to do anything.
The thing that works the best for me and always has done is something I started doing when I was bullied at school, and the trick is to pity the person sending hate. You don't know what's going on in their lives - maybe someone close to them has fallen ill or has passed away; maybe they're lashing out and making you and others unhappy because someone is doing or has done it to them - it's no excuse, but there are lots of things they could be struggling with. It might seem a little dramatic, but everyone has something going on that they keep to themselves. Most people who send hate messages are dealing with their own insecurities, upset and frustration, and are directing it all at you to bring someone else down onto their level. Feel sorry for them - to make themselves feel good, they have to make others unhappy. You don't feel the need to stoop that low.
The other thing that helps is that, usually, the person sending you hate isn't someone who actually knows you. They might have seen ten minutes of your life in a video and judged you solely on those ten minutes without knowing the whole story. So, if they don't know you, surely whatever distasteful and unnecessary negativity they've just sent you is misguided, because they don't have the full picture and never will. For example, someone commented on one of my videos saying I must be lying about having anxiety because I 'was fine at the Insurgent premiere'. Actually, I had a panic attack in the middle of Piccadilly Circus and very nearly gave up and went home. The person who commented doesn't know that because all they've seen is a five-minute video showing highlights of the day, not a shaky one-minute segment of me throwing up into a bag, because for some reason that's not something I excitedly whipped out my camera for...
The most simple and effective way of dealing with hate is simply to delete and block. You can block someone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and you can even ban someone from your YouTube channel. It's worth doing and you should not feel guilty about it. They clearly don't respect you, so why let them continue to look at your stuff? It's your space and you have every right to rid it of unnecessarily rude comments, no matter how much the person protests that they were 'joking'. Jokes are funny; telling someone they need to lose/put on weight and telling someone they hope their parents get cancer and die is not funny. It's tasteless, unnecessary and makes you look bad.
It's much nicer to bring people up rather than down. Being mean to someone just makes you feel toxic inside - I'm guilty of saying things I didn't mean in the past; I think most people are - whereas doing a random act of kindness for someone or giving them a compliment is so much more rewarding. They feel good, you feel good. What's not to like? In a world full of sexism, racism, classism and ableism, it's important to put some goodness out there.
Feel sorry for the haters, block them and get on with your life and subtly give them the middle finger by spreading positivity instead of stooping to their low, low level.
I'd love to know your tips on dealing with hate, and if anyone is being bullied and needs someone to listen, my inbox is always open for you.