• Anita Vandyke

Would you say this in real life?

There is a general social courtesy and etiquette we all abide by in our daily lives, yet it often seems our 'social media' communities are exempt from that. These are a few tips on how I've learnt to apply grace in all areas of my life...

Having started a meditation practice over four years ago, I’ve generally tried to be positive and kind towards others in my everyday life, as a result, I’ve noticed I've gained a tendency to avoid conflict. When people write nasty comments, take my words out of context or use my content without my permission, I generally let it slide because I’ve always thought it was better to be kind than to be right.


Yet now, I am feeling out of balance. I’ve realised I have placed kindness to others over kindness to myself. In letting things slide, I’ve become a doormat. I’ve always appreciated the Instagram community, and I love the comradery and friendships I’ve gained. But as my Instagram grows, there is also an increase in ‘nitpickers’. Nitpickers aren’t trolls or haters, they are people who take my words too literally or people who want to find flaws in everything I do. I find this exhausting.


I am only human, I am working towards a zero waste life, I haven’t arrived at totally ‘zero’ and nor will I ever get to ‘zero’. I am just sharing tips and tricks that work for me, I hope that it is useful to you too. I can’t represent all my views in 150 words and nor should I. The problem with commenting hateful or overly critical words is that you don’t get to see the full dimension of that person. One picture, one set of words does not present the whole.


I now have some general internet etiquette that I apply before I comment or message a person, I hope these are useful to you too:


1. Would I say this in real life?

This is an important question to ask. The internet allows a mask of anonymity, and people take advantage of this by commenting or saying nasty things without thinking of the consequences. Before writing something, ask yourself this question, and then ask, how would you say this in real life? Then do it.


2. Is this helpful?

I encourage and promote active and insightful conversation, yet criticism without purpose is not helpful. Ask yourself this question before writing a long winded passage attacking a person, is this helpful? Does it just help myself or will it help the other person too?


3. Am I doing this with grace?

This to me is the most important question, words matter. The way you use words can affect a person’s mood and set the tone for the conversation. Can you something with grace, can you approach it with grace, can you be grace?


Instead of kindness, I now approach things with grace. Grace embraces kindness without being a doormat, grace is gentle but firm. I am choosing grace. I hope you will do the same.


P.S. I want to also express my thanks and utmost gratitude to the uplifting and generous comments I've also received. These are by far are the majority and I am so grateful for them every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


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