One of the greatest joy’s in life can be experienced by following your dreams or simply filling a desire to give back to your local community or world. You make the seemingly scary decision to step out of your comfort zone, all wide-eyed full of hope, optimism, as well as a touch of romanticism, all hopeful and excited as you take action towards your life vision; until one day, a handful of individuals decide what you really need, is a dose of what they perceive to be ‘a few certain truths’. These words are harsh and can often shatter dreams, even though they come from faceless individuals who chose to sit behind their keyboards, and coincidently contribute nothing of value, other than a harsh opinion.  How do you deal or respond to these so called harsh critiques or online trolls?

As a blogger and life coach, I have received quite a few comments from so called trolls accusing me of anything from a lack of originality to profiting from my website; despite what I know to be true about myself and my intentions, I allowed these frequent harsh words to momentarily derail the pursuit of my life vision. I firmly believe that in every situation there is a lesson to be learned as well as a new level in life to attained.

Instead of explaining the psychology behind trolls, even though there are huge benefits to understanding the people around us and why they make certain choices, or even behave in a certain way; changing you’re perceptive and choosing to react in a different way, are 3 keys to persevering during times of hardship and not admitting defeat, like so many others do.

1. Attitude is everything

What hurts the most as a writer, is to receive comments from individuals about a lack of originality, or even dull ideas. It’s a little embarrassing to admit this nevertheless, my initial reaction was not ideal. I became really sensitive, disheartened and withdrew from my blog, and ceased to seek both paid as well as continuing professional development clients. Over the next few days, while speaking with my existing clients I started to feel like a bit of fraud. I had given up on my dream, but I was encouraging others to take action towards achieving their own. What type of life coach would I be if I gave up on my own dreams? At that moment, I became aware that my attitude was in need of some serious CPR.

The right attitude will allow you to be open to life and the opportunities that it brings, by withdrawing to lick my wounds and to ultimately wallow in self-pity, I was robbing myself of the opportunity to learn. In every situation, there is an opportunity for growth. We have two choices to blame everyone else or take responsibility for myself and embrace growth. The latter requires to let go of our pain and the right to feel hurt as well as getting even.

Ask yourself, What can I learn from this experience? Is there anything in these comments that I can use to become a better and more successful writer. The harsh truth of the situation is, in order to make it big in the wonderful world of blogging, you need to build an audience who is passionate about your topic. How do you do that? Through sharing valuable content, with your own unique voice. The worse thing you can do as a blogger is to try to be like someone else, even someone whom you admire, or try certain things, just because it is what everyone else is doing. 

I chose to take a long hard look over the content that I was sharing with my readers. I concluded that I needed to step back from my blog for three months and focus on creating content, through self-education. My sole focus was drawn to providing content which would add value to the lives of my readers and shifted off a harsh unnamed critic, and my wounded pride.

2. Seek Clarity.

My second reaction to these trolls was even worse than my first, I responded, I was not cruel nor rude, I was respectful, but I did defend my work, my reputation, and I addressed the accusations. I played the game, I gave my power away, and the taunts naturally continued. After a few moments, I came to my senses and I accessed the situation and I asked myself. What do I know about this person? What are they contributing within this forum? I am certainly not encouraging cyber stalking in any way, but I am encouraging you to check out their profile, if you’re on a forum like Reddit, for insight as to who they are and their role within the forum.

After a few simple clicks, I soon realised that my accusers were simply outspoken forum discussion contributors and not the industry professionals they professed to be. Not a single word penned, or post contributed, just their own opinion. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of this wonderful thing called the internet and online discussion is, it takes away one of the most crucial elements of conversation: physicality; and thus risks unintentionally dehumanise the individuals we come in contact with online; instead of seeing a person, we see an IP address, a profile, sometimes even a picture, and a few words. 

It’s important to take a few steps back and ask yourself, Are these words from an industry professional or another blogger, who are most likely trying to mentor or give advice, or are they from an over zealous opinionated forum contributor? Suddenly, the words of an industry professional are read and perceived very differently to a harsh opinion.

3. Take a Short Break

Time is both a blessing and a curse, it slips away in the moments when we want it the most, but it can often provide some much-needed perspective; looking back over the events, they seem insignificant and uneventful, despite the learning experience and everything that I have gained from these events.

Take a step back, log off your computer, do whatever it takes to distract yourself from making an impulsive decision to engage in a most likely, unfruitful discussion with a troll. At this present, point in time you may feel the need to defend yourself, or share your point of view. Talk to someone you trust who is supportive of your life vision and choices. 

Time out may seem like a counterintuitive move or may feel like you’re temporarily admitting defeat, but a lack of response will, in most cases defuse trolling, occasionally an individual might try a little harder but its been my experience that they move on to other discussions, with different people, who share their views.

As always, insight without action is futile. Which one of these tips do you plan on putting into practice this week? Or do you have insights on your experience in dealing with trolls? Please let me know by using the comments box below. Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting with such kindness and enthusiasm.

With love,

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Photo Credit: chrisgramly, iStock ID # 21963294

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Amelia Hay

Author + Coach at Amelia Hay International
I help multi-passionate women just like you to package, brand and market your passions so that you can create your dream business and life, find clarity, confidence, and clients, and make a difference in your world.
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