Thursday, October 30, 2014

Could you be an internet bully? THINK about it.

We have all heard hurtful stories of cyber-bullying where people say incredibly hurtful things to each other via the web. 

Many of you may be thinking I would never do that.  As true as that may be, how many times have you said something or clicked "like" on facebook to something that you would NEVER say in person to someone? 

Is there a difference between what you would say face to face vs online?

Earlier today I read an news article that a friend had posted on facebook.  It was about a woman who called 911 and ordered a pizza.  The 911 operator was initially thinking this was a prank call but chose to stay on the phone and saw that that number had prior 911 calls in the system.  The operator asked the woman if she was in danger and sure enough she said yes.  After probing further the operator was able to send the police to the home where the woman's boyfriend was arrested for domestic violence.  Comments posted were mostly positive praising the woman and the quick thinking operator.  One particular comment read something to the effect of  - if the woman was so smart that she knew to make that call, why wasn't she smart enough to get out of an abusive relationship


We will always have bullies and haters.  I get it.  Despite all of the awareness and attention in the media lately about domestic violence, some people just do not understand it.  They are quick to judge others without walking in their shoes.

Those bullies are the minority and not the majority. 

What struck me is the fact that the rude and insensitive comment received approximately 8x the amount of "likes" than the positive comments about the woman's bravery and the 911 operator's quick thinking and compassion.  Every "like" represents a bully who doesn't even realize it. 

Clicking that "like" button is so easy to do when hidden behind a keyboard or smart phone and yet it can have the same impact as looking someone in the eye and making hateful and judgmental comments and yet we do it without thinking about the consequences.


Of course we are all entitled to our opinion and have the right to express it.  But I challenge you to think about what you write and post and ask yourself if you would say this to someone if they were standing right there in front of you.  If the answer is NO, stop yourself and ask WHY....

We all have opinions and thoughts that can be harsh or judgmental toward others. Thinking something does not make you a bully.  What comes next does...

Good news is we can recognize when we are thinking negatively and make a choice on how we want to communicate to other whether it is in person or thought a computer.  We have the ability to be more compassionate, positive and supportive of others. 

Next time you find yourself about to comment or "like" something ask yourself:
Would I say these words to someone if they were standing right here in front of me?

If the answer is NO then think about the person reading it and stop yourself from being an internet bully.  Pressing just one button is all it takes to validate hate and negativity. 

Think of how much better off we would all be if people stop and THINK before they type. 
T - is it True
H - is it Helpful
I - is it Inspiring
N - is it Necessary
K - is it Kind

Let's be part of a solution and help create a more compassionate and supportive world online and offline.  It starts with each one of us.
Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC

Monday, October 6, 2014

BAG of happiness...

What is in your bag?

Does it ever feel like you are carrying around a bag filled with negativity and stress?  We pile on the problems and to do lists and expose ourselves to negative stimuli throughout the day.  It becomes something we carry around with us and then have trouble shaking off. 

Empty it!

At the end of every day take 5 minutes to empty your BAG of negativity and stress and put it on a shelf somewhere.  Now it is ready to be filled.  Identify your BAG of happiness.  What does it look like?  Picture it.  Now here is how we fill it:

"B"  Best Thing!  What is the best thing that happened all day?
"A" Accomplishment!  What did you accomplish today?
"G" Gratitude!  What are you grateful for?

Now ask yourself WHY these things are important!

Take a look at this video that explains a little more about how this works.
Just 5 minutes a day you can empty your BAG of negative and fill it with positive.  You will notice the longer you do this exercise the more you will see the positive throughout your day!

Try it!
I would love to hear from you!

Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC
Maximize Wellness Counseling & Coaching, LLC