Have you ever stopped yourself from posting something online because you were scared? Perhaps it was a blog post talking about something personal, or an “imperfect” photo you were worried people would judge you for?
For many of us, a great deal of our lives are sprawled out online for everyone to see, and this can feel vulnerable. And I do certainly think that what you choose to share online is and always should be completely up to you.
But… if there’s something deep down you know you want to share, but you’re hesitating because of what other people might say, well – we need to have words.
Ironically, while I would consider myself a little shy in real life, online I’m more than happy to bear my soul (there’s a great post about this phenomenon actually on Me & Orla). My mum will often see what I post on Instagram and Instagram stories and call me ‘brave’.
I don’t often feel ‘brave’ doing it, it feels pretty natural at the time. Sometimes after I do it I’ll feel a little pang of fear, I’ll second guess myself and think ‘oooh should I have posted that?’ and wait for the reaction. Then… nothing. No one says anything negative, no one squeals in horror, no one tells me to pipe down.
I guess my small following online means I can be braver because *whispers* no one really cares.
And that’s just it. People don’t care half as much as you think they do, as harsh as that may sound. Those who do follow you and care what you have to say are more than likely supportive.
I’ve read so many blogs where the writer starts by saying they almost didn’t post it or that it had been sat in drafts for months while they built up the courage to hit ‘publish’ – and you know what? They are ALWAYS the best blogs. Same goes for Instagram posts people are nervous about sharing. Do you know why these are usually the best posts?
Because growth comes from vulnerability.
When we feel vulnerable, it’s because we care. It’s because we’re passionate and we’re afraid we’ll lay our hearts on the line only to be rejected. Feeling that fear, that vulnerability and posting anyway inspires others to do the same. It helps us grow. We see that, actually, nothing bad will happen if we speak our mind or show our true selves online.
There’s so much pressure in the blogging/Instagram world to be polished and perfect, it’s rare and empowering to see people ignoring the ‘rules’ and sharing what they truly care about – regardless of what other people think.
Here are a few moments where I felt the fear and posted it anyway:
My first monthly mindscape – I didn’t think people would necessarily want to read fiction, and according to my stats I was kinda right, but I’ve decided to keep going anyway because I love the creative freedom these posts offer. That and I simply cannot be assed to only write blogs that I think will get the high views/numbers, yawn.
This Instagram of my fat rolls – It was a genuine moment that I wanted to document, even if it meant showing an ‘unflattering’ part of myself. Posting it was scary, but empowering.
My post about feminism – I worried I might ‘scare’ people off by getting political, or piss off people who know more about feminism than me, (what if I use the wrong terminology? What if I offend someone?) but, it’s something I’m learning more about, something I care about and something I’ll continue to feature here.
My ‘self-love’ post – This was where I told the (online) world I loved myself. That’s quite a bold statement in a society where we’re told we should be humble, self-deprecating and demure. But again, it’s a message I care about spreading.
My eating disorder story – I mean in terms of vulnerability, speaking on camera about the worst time in my life is up there. But it was cathartic. And if it helps just one person, it’s worth it.
A recent Instagram stories – I introduced everyone to my spots, explaining that they were telling me to take better care of myself. It wasn’t until I started seeing people watching the stories that I realised it was actually quite a scary thing to post. My bare, broken out face. But I wanted to show that things aren’t always perfect and that we need to listen to our bodies when they show signs of stress.
So, have I ever had any hate/backlash from any of these things? No. And even if I did, I would like to think I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
I love seeing and interacting with humans online. Humans are raw, unfiltered and flawed. We make mistakes, we don’t always follow the crowd. We get passionate, we have opinions, we aren’t perfect. That’s who I want to see. That’s who I want to hear from. And – that’s who I want to be.
So, if you’re worried about sharing something because of what people might say, remember this – we grow from being vulnerable. And also… who gives a shit what they think anyway? Keep doing you and you will attract the right people into your online world.
What have you done online that’s made you feel empowered?