“What is going on here?” Everybody trembled as soon as Mrs. Aderonmu stormed into the classroom her voice louder than the microphone that was used during the morning assembly. The students in Primary 4C prayed silently under their breath, casting glances towards the class captain wishing they had been a little nicer in the last five minutes, “Yetunde, hand me the list” more trembling, as the chubby goggle eyed class captain made a painfully slow journey to the front of the class. She handed over the list and after what seemed like an hour-long inspection, it was handed back to her to read out loud the names of noisemakers!
If you grew up in Nigeria then that scenario should be very familiar to you! I, fortunately was the class captain/prefect in the story above and gladly wrote down all the names of all the people that instigated the melodious class chant of “Two eyes good, Four eyes bad” or simply “Frog eyes” caused by the fact that I wore a pair of prescribed fashionable (at least I thought so at the time) glasses to class, on many occasions my regular bully’s names found their way to that list whether they whispered it or asked someone less bright to say it out loud, “The names of noisemakers list” was the ultimate payback, however that was then and in 2012 reality sets in.
As someone that was thrust in the limelight at the age of 18, I have had my fair share of critics, negative comments and side-line commentators, but it wasn’t until the social media era came upon us that I realized it is now an industry on its own, the word “hater” is used to repeatedly refer to the faceless, mostly nameless people that attack you, your personality, your appearance and your work with hurtful comments which sometimes can be pretty damaging! The increasing popularity of soft sell magazines, blogs and entertainment websites allow for a wider reach to the public and in turn easy access to read for yourself what they think about you, this situation has repeatedly raised the question “At what point does it stop being an innocent opinion, at what point do we agree this is the newest medium for bullying” ?
A short research revealed that it is now popularly referred to as “Cyber bullying” and the truth is, its really no different from the teasing and the prodding that we experienced as children, the major difference now however is the effect this sort of negativity has on the people that suffer it, we’ve all watched people melt down right before our eyes, some turn to substance abuse, others eating disorders and sometimes just plain depression! Everybody’s punching bag threshold is different. Personally I see nothing wrong with honest and constructive criticism however, I draw the line at the blatant preying on of individuals specifically in the entertainment industry and online as a whole, and if we cannot effectively stop this sort of inconsideration for people, we can at least share how to rise above, or as Drake would say how to learn that “working with the negatives can make for better pictures”
Ladies and gentlemen here is an Eden life special on how I stay sane:
SASHA’S “SHUT EM OUT” SURVIVAL GUIDE 101
- SEE NO EVIL HEAR NO EVIL: The saying what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you is invaluable when it comes to dealing with negativity, if the comment is not knocking at your bedroom door at 3am I believe it can be ignored, if you like to go on blogs then skip the comment section, if curiosity is your middle name then as you read resolve to take nothing personal, as an individual you are responsible for what you expose yourself to, not everybody will like you but you don’t have to go looking for them either.
- BY ALL MEANS BLOCK AND PROTECT: Most people are easily accessible due to the variety social networking offers, so even when you aren’t actively looking for grapevine information it will land comfortably in your lap! What do you do? IGNORE IT! Don’t retweet it, don’t reply it, unless you have a response that is dignified/mature (which in most cases is almost impossible). If you happen to be someone whose job requires them to be in the public eye then remember to consider the big picture, remember the classroom dynamic, the person that gets pinched quietly is the one that ends up in the naughty corner, so be the bigger person and let it go, in all other cases limit your publicly accessible personal information, it is your right to preserve your sanity!
- LEAVE A MESSAGE …AFTER I HANG UP: Everyone has that one acquaintance that would make CNN ashamed, the mobile roving reporter, the transistor receiver for all the things you would rather not know, If this is your bearer of bad news, simply limit your association with the person, politely but firmly inform them that you would rather not be updated about their latest discoveries, Remember! Do unto others, as you want them to do unto you, so if you don’t appreciate hearing your own gist don’t encourage or be an audience for other people’s gist either.
- WHOSE REPORT SHALL YOU BELIEVE?: More often than not, you are bound to come across certain things that hurt regardless, out of ten positive comments, it’s the one negative one that is usually stuck in your memory! In dealing with this you have to get your mind right, it is a conscious decision to believe in yourself and focus on developing that self and your confidence, people will say anything to get to you but they can not belittle or berate you without your permission, so you have two options believe them or believe in YOU!
- LEGALLY FAMOUS: In a situation where it gets out of hand there are many remedies available, for public personalities consult your publicist and in extreme cases seek legal counsel, character assassination is actionable, and remember to save copies of the comments, you will need it for your case!
- SAY CHEESE: We must always remember to be able to laugh out loud! Sometimes negative comments are so ridiculous they become funny, at other times someone is really just trying to get your attention, don’t take everything too seriously, separate the wheat from the chaff, if you honestly feel that there is some truth to what is being said then you can focus on what you can do differently and see the comments more as helpful advice even though the medium of communication was not ideal, and if there is nothing worth saving? Shake it off and Smile …life is too short!
This list works for me and at the least I hope it cheered somebody up! The world will always have unpleasant situations; it’s in learning to deal with them that we grow, in learning to not let the bad color our good or distract us from our happiness or the things that really matter! Rudyard Kipling, an English writer once wrote “And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth”!
Primary 4C is now a lifetime ago, I can’t write names of noisemakers anymore but thankfully there is no age limit on writing songs, So here is one I find very appropriate, ENJOY!