Social Media and Cyber Bullying

business strategies equine industry health journey inspiration keynote speaker women owned Feb 01, 2024
picture of something that get bullied

Bullying is something kids do and adults grow out of, right?  Wrong.  In fact, I feel that it even gets worse as some age.  The high school clicks that you were sure would dissipate as more important parts of our lives develop seem to show their nasty face in the equine world in age groups that should be mellow and supportive.  Here are tips to deal with adult bullying so that you can always take the high road and remain the better person.

My husband and I opened a trail riding facility in 2014.  I can happily say that 99% of everyone we meet has positive thoughts and actions towards us and our goals.  However, that 1% can present challenges to maintaining friendships and sometimes causing business issues.   Learning how to deal with this behavior and to keep myself emotionally safe has been a process. The Kenny Rogers song says it all. “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run”.

                Social media can sometimes create monsters out of very good people.  I have read the nastiest statements that I know nobody in their right mind would ever say face-to-face, but they feel safe to put them on social media, as if there were no future ramifications for their actions.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Facebook and keeping up with people from different avenues of my life. It is also a very effective business tool.   In my experience it sometimes seems when people in my life get mad  the bullying and mind games come full force on social media.  From posting sly comments that only myself and that person would understand, to only sharing and supporting my competitors marketing posts, to leaving bad reviews that aren’t warranted are all pieces of bullying done by grown people in the equine world.  I have other friends in other career fields, and they say it is the same for them.

 Here is what you should do 99% of the time…nothing.  That’s right, you should do nothing.  Most of the time the problem will cease; kind of like a fire without oxygen.  Now, if it gets to the point that the words end up causing harm to your reputation or your livelihood, then there are laws against libel and slander.  In the case of social media, you actually have proof.  Make sure and screen shot everything.  It is so easy now for complete written conversations to become basically immortal.  The main idea here is that once you type something and post it, your words are always there.

                Most of the bullying I have personally encountered is either a control tactic or is jealousy driven.  In fact, every person that has bullied us I have at one time thought the world of them.  I know that they are good people, but there is a small part of them that is not the good side.  I have to understand that there are a lot of people that are not happy with where they ended up in life, and seeing others actively pursuing their dreams and achieving them has got to be a huge reminder of what they did not accomplish.  My advice is to keep on doing what you are doing.  Work hard and remain positive. I promise you there is more positive in this world than negative.  If you keep being this beacon of light, most of those people that have wronged you will come around.  And when they do, sometimes it is best to not bring up the past.  Sometimes you have to lay your cards on the table.  Time does heal some wounds and friendships can mend.

                Every morning I start my day by writing three things I am grateful for in my life, a positive experience from the day before and I write a thank you note to someone.  I have found that by me focusing on being a positive person I can deal with the 1% a lot easier.

                If you are dealing with bullying in the equine industry, know that you are not alone.  Also know you do have rights if the line has been crossed.  If you have wronged someone, fix it.  Everyone involved will feel better.  We all love equine, so that will always be a common ground that everyone can meet on.  Let’s leave the bullying in grade school where it belongs, we’ve got horses to ride!


Additional note from Brandy Von Holten:

I have had friends that committed suicide due to social media bullying.  Please know that people would miss you if you were gone.  Block those horrible people and try to find your happiness again with better people.

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