This past weekend I learned of a bullying experience a 15-year-old had on social media. She was not engaging in a discussion, rather someone was bullying her because she was posting about things that were not political or contentious. She was being bullied because someone wanted to pick a fight. As I listened to the nasty comments thrown her way, this young lady did an excellent job of staying resilient in a difficult situation and trying to diffuse the situation. The situation got me thinking of the times when I have avoided engaging in an online discussion or the times when I have spoken up. Knowing I am not alone in the practice of either engaging or ignoring, I reached out to Deborah Gilboa, MD, a world-renowned resilience expert and leading media personality on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Doctors, for her thoughts on resilience and engaging in online discussions. Dr. Gilboa said, “Engaging online in a discussion about a contentious topic carries risk. When disagreement happens, it often brings insults and accusations. Individuals who are attacked often feel tremendous discomfort and need a great deal of personal resilience to stay aligned with their beliefs. It can be equally damaging, however, to stay silent when you strongly disagree, especially when standing up for that particular challenged belief is an integral part of your identity. Each person needs, in any online argument, to decide which path has more integrity for them - staying out of the fray to protect yourself, or wading in to defend your beliefs." Dr. Gilboa highlights the importance of knowing and understanding what you believe. That knowledge just doesn't suddenly appear, that knowledge stems from mindful introspection. In Find Your Selfie, I discuss the importance of taking the time to know your identity which includes your personality, values, and beliefs. Knowing the core elements of what makes you, you, make it easier for you to determine whether to engage or ignore. Do the conversations resonate with your identity? Only you can answer that. Whether you are 15 or 50, situations like those described above impact your wellbeing and it’s important to have the tools to handle it. The quick takeaway here is to stop, take a minute and be mindful of the conversations you purposefully engage in.
Resiliency is an important factor in one’s ability to manage stress. As a former military spouse, we had countless training sessions on resiliency because it is critical in helping you deal with everything that life throws at you. Dr. Gilboa, (“Dr. G”) offers books, courses, and videos on resiliency on her website. Check her out and remember to always, Be You. *Disclaimer. Find Your Selfie does not financially benefit in any way from any of the information or resources we share!*