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Shaming vs Uplifting: Tips on how to avoid being a miserable bully

Don't let your unhappiness turn you into a shamer or cyber bully. Use that energy for uplifting others, not tearing them down.
Don't let your unhappiness turn you into a shamer or cyber bully. Use that energy for uplifting others, not tearing them down.

As social networks grow more popular each year, so does negativity, bullying, and shaming. Day by day many people join in the bullying and shaming that so many deem entertainment. It is unfortunate that society has turned to criticizing and breaking down others as a way to laugh and enjoy themselves. While you may not be able to control the rest of the world, you are free and able to control your own behavior. Are you a shamer or an uplifter? If you find yourself falling into line with the shamers, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.

Avoid sharing things that make fun of other people's sexuality, weight, appearance, or life status. We are in the times of meme creation and Vine videos, many of which are geared toward poking fun at those who are unattractive according to society. You may not be able to wipe the internet clean of every video or picture you see, and you may not feel comfortable reporting them as spam. However you can do your part and avoid posting them online altogether. This action won't reduce the bullying drastically, but you won't be contributing to it. This also goes for commenting. Avoid joining in with others on posts, because if you are entertaining the bullying, you are part of the problem. Just think of those people that are being bullied because of their pictures that no one was given permission to use. That could be one of your family members or friends. It wouldn't be so funny anymore.

Stop criticizing and start helping. If you find yourself making or posting comments online that do nothing but criticize others, you are shaming. There is no help in shaming others. This only adds anger, offense, and hurt feelings. Whether you think you are being subliminal or speaking "generally", if there is nothing said that can help someone else in your message, it's best to keep it to yourself. If you feel the need to post a negative or criticizing comment online, it is because you are aiming to shame someone or rustle their feathers. This behavior speaks more of your misery and low self esteem than it does of the people you are trying to get the message out to, whether you do it directly or subliminally. If you see a problem with what others are doing, offer a solution instead of just voicing the problem over and over. If you are not a part of the solution, you are obviously part of the problem. Stop hiding behind "real talk", "questions of the day", and anonymous memes. Shaming others may give you temporary satisfaction (if you're the unhappy type), but offering solutions and help for others is much more rewarding and long term.

Start your own day off with positivity. We all have bad days. There will be times that you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. However, this should never be used as an excuse to treat others in a horrible way. Train yourself to wake up and think positive thoughts, even if you don't feel like anything is going right. When you focus on positive instead of dwelling on negative things, it helps to put you in the mindset to have a good day. Positivity is contagious. You never know who you are inspiring on a day to day basis just by doing something as simple as smiling. When you focus on positive things in yourself and others, you won't have time to sit around thinking of ways to criticize others.

Speak out about bullying and shaming. Don't ever be afraid to let others know that you don't agree with bullying and shaming of others. People that are afraid to speak out against things that are wrong usually fall into the enabling category without even realizing it. There are not enough people standing up for what's right, and in times like these when suicide rates (between adults and kids) are high, it is important for those that are being victimized to know that not everybody is against them. If you aren't comfortable speaking out about it online or in public, start by expressing your concern with family and friends. There are many people that know exactly what they are doing when they criticize and shame others, but there are a few that don't realize how serious of a matter it could be. Don't be afraid to let your voice be heard, and stand up for good, even when you feel like you'll be standing alone. You never know who will respect your views and possibly reevaluate their own behavior.