Everyone wants to be authentic online but today, this has become an excuse for ugly and antisocial behavior. “I’m just being truthful” has been used to defend many a cruel and reckless remark. That begs the question:
Can you be authentic online and still be kind?
This conversation is sponsored by oNecklace but all opinions are my own.
Are you authentic online?
Yes, you can but in this day and age, it takes guts. Many people are afraid of being who they truly are. Not all of those are bad people. Some just don’t fit the tightening box with which society defines what is “OK.” Others just don’t agree with the status quo. Instead, they lurk and observe and generalize, because they are afraid to hurt others or lose friends, or BOTH.
But if you can’t be you, then who are you?
Confession time: maybe I haven’t been “me” of late. I’ve changed a great deal about myself in the last few years, and am truer to who I really am, even though some of those things would surprise the friends of my youth.
It’s frightening and lonely, but it is also extremely freeing.
In the past, I didn’t feel as much part of a tribe as tied down or backed into an uncomfortable corner. I don’t feel that way now and am comfortable exploring new tribes. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s a sense of security in my faith, my choices, my parenting.
Maybe it’s that I’m over the world. Suddenly I’m feeling brave enough to just be me.
How To Be Authentic Online Without Hurting Others
Of course, as a freelancer, an entrepreneur and a woman of faith, I work hard to be honest, authentic and sensitive. Blurting out every random thought is not sensible for anyone. Unfortunately, social media has led people to believe that it’s not just acceptable, it’s our right.
Exercising that right, however, can wreck reputations, destroy friendships and hurt people that we barely know.
However, I believe we can all be our best and true selves, if we just have the courage to follow a few thoughtful rules:
- Always show respect.
Don’t confuse what you think is respectful with what someone else thinks is respectful. Respect their outlook, always. That begins with working to understand another’s perspective and that is never a wasted effort. And yes, you can be authentic online while respecting a viewpoint you disagree with or don’t completely understand. It can only bring us all closer.
- Be smart with what you share.
If you have a friend who is worked up over an issue, or you are questioning someone’s information or competency, or you just rolled out of bed and didn’t look at the news, maybe you shouldn’t post the first thing that comes to mind. This is not just about politics or religious. Maybe you’re posting about how great it is to be alive and didn’t realize a close friend or family just lost someone. Be sensitive to the people closest to you and voice your opinions judiciously or not at all.
- Don’t say it if it would insult you.
A little bit of the golden rule is a good thing, but letting it rule your actions and guide your tongue is even better! Just be kind and treat others how you’d like to be treated. Period.
- Avoid certain topics.
I know people say, “If you say nothing, you’re saying something.” On social media, that’s not true 100% of the time. People get sick, they get busy, they lose their internet. Maybe we’ve had a hurtful experience, like the time 4 friends simultaneously unfriended me for no reason. I was off Facebook for weeks after that, too upset to return. No one really can judge why you are silent, so you might as well set aside certain topics as off limits and save your personal opinions for friends and family in real life.
- “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
I heard this in one of Jordan Maylea’s Networking Success podcast. Sometimes, the real truth is called for. Sometimes you can’t sit by and not speak. If your head, your heart and your soul are all aligned in the absolute NEED to speak up, you can but be responsible about how and what you say, and expect consequences. I tried this twice in the last 2 days – once for a product, and once for someone who needed to hear something to help someone else. Both times I met with the BEST outcome but that’s not always the case.
- Use reminders.
Sometimes we get upset at something we see and we need a good solid reminder to set ourselves back on track. I received this lovely bracelet from oNecklace and whenever I wear it, I feel that I’m bringing myself to task for my convictions. If you walk around with “Be Brave” on your arm, you’re more likely to be that brave person.
Be Your Authentic Self With oNecklace
Jewelry can be a wonderful way to show others who you really are. When I received my products from oNecklace, I was pretty excited. I needed a new silver short chain necklace and found a perfect one! oNecklace carries an awesome line of Mother and Grandmother necklaces, perfect for gift giving. I chose the Cube Birthstone Family Tree necklace, which allows you to add 1-5 birthstones to cover all your kids’ birthdays. It’s also available in sterling silver or plated gold.The square shape is unique and the tree is so meaningful to me! I just love this piece and my husband complimented it too, which is a big deal.
This bracelet, though, really knocked one out of the park for me. My husband too was dazzled the minute I opened the box! It’s so beautiful and elegant, a simple sterling silver bracelet that you can engrave with one or two words. “Be Brave” was my choice because I want that constant reminder in anything I do: my parenting, my passions, my faith.
It really is me, and when I wear this I feel empowered by the words on my arm. This piece is solid and expressive, and you have several options on how to engrave it: your name, your kids’ names, you and your spouse’s name or be creative! It also comes in 24K gold plating and rose gold plating. Beautiful, weighty and just the right size to make a statement that people can see about the things you care bout.
In face, oNecklace has tons of options for engraving and personalizing jewelry. They have necklaces, bracelets, keychains, everything you need to make the best choice for your personalize engraved jewelry selection. You can search by categories and they even have kids’ jewelry now! Your oNecklace selection comes in a beautiful but simple box, which I recommend keeping to store and for when you travel.
Have you been brave today? This week? Do you know how to be authentic online without hurting others? Share your best tips for staying true and calm!