This morning I let myself be affected by some responses I got to a thread I posted in a Facebook group. Without going into detail, the thread topic in the group I chose to post was always going to spark discussion. Therefore, I was asking for it – wasn’t I?
Short answer, no.
I’ve seen this happen with so many online groups lately. Groups largely populated by mums, because those are the ones I frequent. A group made up of people who are often tired, constantly questioning their choices and worrying about what they might do better, these are the people we are pendantically tearing down. Essentially making them feel shittier than they already do.
In this instance, I chose to leave. I figured if I was in a place where I felt anxious to post for fear of response, then it wasn’t for me anymore. It wasn’t the first group I’ve left this week, a lovely friend of mine recently posted a spot on status update with a list of things she didn’t feel like she constantly needed questioning on and left those corresponding groups. This inspired me and I ended up doing a similar thing.
Now, a lot of people in these groups offer fantastic discussion points and the reason I enjoy them is because they encourage me to think more deeply about certain issues. They educate me and open my mind and that, I’m grateful. Another point I’d like to make is I always try to listen to well supported information as I don’t know everything (I know, shocker 😉) and often have benefited from excellent advice, particularly around baby wearing and baby led weaning – two things I was very interested in when I had my first child but didn’t know much about. In some instances, there are certainly situations when choices are right and wrong, from a safety perspective and I am happy to receive support around this.
But it’s the picking apart, the constant questioning and challenging in a way that makes you feel like crap rather than promoting deeper thought. I feel sometimes like people assign themselves certain labels are so concerned about getting their agenda across that they cease to respond in a relevant manner and rather, just poke and tear at any word or statement until the person asking the original question is so tied in knots they have no idea where to next.
One group I belong to, which I adore, is a writers group for mama’s. Such a diverse group and while I’m not a hugely active poster, I read almost everything in there and often turn it over in my head. And I have NEVER felt uncomfortable asking questions or offering my thoughts. A couple of wonderful ladies started a campaign a few weeks back, to Keep It Kind Online, and it was with joy I saw many of my favorite groups and bloggers support this.
So, what have I learnt from this? Definitely to be more discerning when joining groups but also to think more when I respond to threads.
Is it kind?
Is it relevant?
Is it helpful?
Until next time