Receiving abuse over social media is hurtful and upsetting because we imagine that we’re having an actual conversation with the usual rules of engagement in force. We join in and share ideas like we’re socialising at a party.


405c0b255ab31ab654bcb09f373cd4faBecause we can’t actually see each other on social media, we don’t notice that a couple of people at the party are wearing banana costumes (having mistakenly thought it was fancy dress) and, feeling slightly bitter about the misunderstanding, consider it acceptable to have a wee in the punch bowl and skulk around the buffet table, spitting in the taramasalata while shouting snippets of wisdom that makes sense only to themselves.

In actual life we probably wouldn’t invest too much of ourselves, or our time, joining in with these personalities. If we did, we’d be unsurprised to be treated badly.

Without really understanding the real life motivation of those on social media, we assume everyone we engage with is standing around at the party, smiling politely and sharing our own attitudes and values.

That’s why it’s so distressing to go in with good intentions and end up down at the business end of an insult.


I do three things:

1) Breathe.

2) Imagine the tweeter dressed in a banana costume. An angry banana is just about one of the most hilarious things on the planet and helps me to shift my state really quickly!

3) Get of automatic and make a conscious choice not to let someone I don’t know, disagree fundamentally with and who has no love for me, have even 3 seconds of control over my emotions, actions and/or life.

On the occasions where I fail and end up automatically engaging, I always come off worse. On really bad days, I feel rubbish because I failed and so am obviously a big fat fraud etc, and the downward spiral begins!

It’s just not resourceful.

Also, at any time, life could present me with a relevent challenge (and valuable learning opportunity)  that I might actually need to be on my game for! You don’t see Usain Bolt stopping to address his critics during his warm up for a record breaking 100m.


Treat hurtful comments for what they are, a distraction. No more than random people shouting from the roadside as you continue on your journey to success.

Challenge comes from those who share your vision of success with you. You can spot these people a mile off as they tend to leave the comfort of their armchair, jog alongside you for a while, and offer you a bottle of water and a peanut protein ball before imparting valuable advice on stride length and breaking it to you that your knickers have been stuck up your bum for the last 15 miles!

Challenge is a world away from rudeness. When that occurs, shake it off, walk away and get back to being your incredible self.


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