Learn To Stand Up for Yourself (My Response to an Online Hate Comment Against Me)

With online being an anonymous space where you can literally type anything you want without having to account for it, and the internet being an easier forum for interactivity thanks to the evolution of the web in the past two decades, it’s now easier and easier for one to post hate against others and get away with it.

Check out this comment which I received this morning after I woke up, all ready to write my current book project:

(It was posted in response to my Celes.TV interview on YouTube, on “How To Score a GPA of 3.98/4.00“.)

YouTube hate comment against me

*stfu stands for “shut the f*** up”, basically a very rude way of telling people to “stuff it”.

My first thought was, What was that all about?!?

While I subconsciously deleted the comment right away, it didn’t take a few seconds for me to realize this would be an excellent chance to use this as an example to make a stance for myself and stand up against online bullying. I’ve been reading a lot about cyberbullying in recent news and it’s saddening to read about people entering into depression, some suicide, due to hate speech online.

(Though not common, I do get abusive comments against myself every now and there.  Which is funny considering my work is about encouraging people to pursue the higher path.)

So I undid the “delete” and posted the following response:

YouTube hate comment and my response to it

Unfortunately YouTube automatically removes any reported comment, so the original comment has been removed from the video thread. (Also didn’t get to correct my grammatical typo before I took the screenshot too.) I actually wanted to have it up as an example to how one should deal with online bullying… at least I took a screenshot and have the chance to share it here. (It’s also a good example for me to show to the blogging participants in my current Blogging Success Program.)

To be honest, I just found that individual’s rage amusing. I can only assume it’s a guy due to the way the comment was written. I guess there are all kinds of things that tick people off in this world? An anger management lesson may help.

Here’s how to stand up for yourself this new year:

  1. If someone (repeatedly) hurling verbal abuse at you, don’t let the behavior perpetuate. Make a stance about his/her abuse. (If it’s physical abuse, then please contact your local authorities or social services right away.)
  2. In your response, assert your rights as a person. Inform the person on what he/she did wrong that violated your rights and was rude/disrespectful to you.
  3. Always, always, focus on the person’s misconduct and not his/her character, otherwise it would be no different from making a personal attack. Read: How To Give Constructive Criticism in 6 Steps.
  4. Choose the moral high ground. Just because someone hurls abuses at you doesn’t mean you should do the same. Don’t shame, don’t bully, and don’t promote hate speech. Be kind yet firm in your response. Be the example to the person on what respectful conduct should be.
  5. Spread love. Everyone deserves a second chance, so unless it’s an unforgivable and unredeemable offence, try to give the benefit of the doubt and assume he/she bullied you in a moment of misguided behavior. Try to be as open and supportive as possible.

These past classics will help:

Happy new year everyone!! :D Check out my 2013 review and 2014 goals if you haven’t, and share yours in the blog post too: My 2013 in Review, and Happy New Year 2014 to You!! .

For those of you in Asia, you can catch me on Channel News Asia next Monday morning (Jan 6), 8:45am, to talk about new year’s resolutions! Update Jan 7: The interview is now up! You can view it here: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/cna-amlive-6jan2014/

  • Patyweckx

    I loved the way you handled it, what you wrote. You didn´t come down from your high heels as we say here in Brazil, it was a very classy response!

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Thank you very much for your kind words Patyweckx! :) Happy new year to you! :)

  • http://avene.org/ Glenn Thomas

    I think people with hateful comments like that should automatically have their channels removed. But sadly YouTube is full of people like that. Actually, not just YouTube, but the whole of the internet.

    I was reading an article today about this couple who ran a marathon a day for the whole of 2013, travelling around all of Australia and consuming nothing but a low fat raw vegan diet for the whole of that time. They’re 68 and 64 years of age, and managed to raise a lot money for charities. But at least 90% of comments I read on that article were negative. People saying that they looked old, that running a marathon a day isn’t healthy, that bananas made them look old, and all these other ridiculously insulting things. Of course neither had make up on, both had been running in the sun for a year, and it wasn’t the best photo of them, so it was natural neither of them would look their best at the end of a run like that. But I just couldn’t believe how nasty the comments were. There was even a comment by a 74 year old woman who claimed she looked better and healthier because she ate meat. But this woman hadn’t run a marathon everyday for a whole year! You’d think someone that age would have more decency. This couple had raised money for charity and done something inspiring that I doubt even 0.1% of the population their age would be able to achieve, and yet people were just hateful for the sake of being hateful. Really sad.

    By the way Celes, the u means up, not you. So it seems he was telling you to stop talking as much.

    Good work reporting him too. I can only imagine how such comments would affect all the young kids who post videos on Youtube.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hey Glenn! Wow, that’s sorry to hear with regards to those negative comments. But really, kudos for the couple running the marathon, that’s really an inspiring story! Can you share the article about that?

      Yes sorry, my bad on the typo: I was doing the edit in a hurry typed ‘up’ as ‘you’. Actually I don’t think he was telling me to even talk less, I think he was just telling me to shut up since he used ‘stfu’. I just think it’s hilarious!

      I hope YouTube takes these reports seriously. My guess is they probably receive hundred thousands of such reports every month and I don’t even know if they look at them. Maybe they use some filtering system where a user with a very high number of X reports will eventually get looked into or something.

  • samer

    celestine, you remind me of my mother telling me , ONLY good tree with a good fruit on it , people always throw stones at it so they can get the fruit to fall down, if the tree is bad and there is nothing on it people wont even look at it , you are just like that good tree , and as you said the internet is an open space , anyone can say anything , i guess if he is a real man he will mention his name at least but he is afraid to show himself .

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi samer, aw thanks for your kind words!! That’s such a wonderful analogy to share. That reminds me of something I always talk about regarding criticism (or flaming in this case): if you’re not being criticized (even flamed), you’re probably doing something wrong. When people make the effort to spread hate to you, then you’re probably reaching an area of impact.

      I wish you a happy new year by the way! :D

      (For those who want to read more about why criticism is good, here’s my past article on it: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/why-criticism-is-good/.)

  • http://NoMoreHoldingBack.com/ Larry Hochman

    Hi Celes,

    I always like to say people who feel the need to bring others down do so because they need to look bigger by comparison, or they’re in so much pain themselves they have to express it. I still think that’s mostly true, and I have compassion for this person.

    But it’s also possible, like you said the Internet gives such anonymity that people will speak or type without thinking. Either way, I thought your response was great.

    Thanks,
    Larry

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Thanks Larry! :) I think that even when words are spoken/written without thinking, it reflects a deal about the person’s consciousness too. For example my first words of description even for someone I dislike or am annoyed by wouldn’t be swear words or disparaging words, so I guess one thing that helps is always constant self-reflection to see the four fingers pointing at ourselves when we point at others.

      Happy new year to you Larry! :)

  • Appu

    You did the right thing Celes… Happy new year to you… :)

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Happy new year Appu! :)

  • Lina

    Hi Celes. Thanks for sharing the way you`ve handled this tricky situation and for all your work. Although I`ve been a reader of your articles for years (and loving them), this is the one that has triggered the strongest emotions in me and also raised an important question I need to ask (as it`s been hunting me for a long time): what is the abuser is a person that your existence depends on? My younger sister has been complaining of being verbally and sometimes physically abused by my mom for a long time (not continually, but quite often lately); she is being taken care of properly (she has some serious health issues that keep her from having a normal lifestyle, going out, cooking for herself or leaving the house for more than a couple of hours), but in terms of a sane mother-to-daughter communication, she is constantly complaining of being left out. I live in a different city and can only take her with me every once in a while; it hurts me badly to know that after going back she will be hurt again. Since my mom has raised us as a single parent, I can understand her pain and frustration but I`m still struggling to find a solution for my sister`s peace of mind and I am totally out of ideas in this matter. How would you approach this situation, knowing that the abuser refuses any kind of psychological assistance and even avoids discussing the matter saying that these are plain trifles and gets aggressive if I insist? Hugs and lots of inspiration for 2014 and beyond!

    M.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Dearest Lina, thank you so much for sharing your story. With regards to your sister, do you know how valid are her complaints of being verbally and sometimes physically abused? I.e., have you seen them happen before? Are there any evidence (e.g., bruise marks)? (Not saying it’s not true just because there’s no evidence, but this is a cross-checking point.) How much do you know of the relationship between your sister and mother to know whether it’s true?

      If the abuse is true, this may present itself to be quite an issue. I’m not in social services and I can’t advice specifically with regards to the best steps in this situation, but one thing that’s sure is this: your sister should not be expected to tolerate with any kind of abuse, be it verbal and MUCH LESS physical. How old is your sister and is she in the position to assert her rights?

      Have you tried to speak to your mom about this topic?

      If the abuse is validated and your mom refuses to speak about this topic (the abuse, not even about the reasons why she abuses your sister), then I will advise to take proper recourse and seek help from authorities, perhaps social services. Do you know how to reach out to them and the helpline to call?

      Your sister’s well-being (especially if she is a minor) is at stake here; it’s well possible that she may well be forming emotional scars from these experiences here now. Taking a quick intervention in this situation would be crucial if you were to ask me.

      Thanks Lina. Please update us on how the situation goes and if you need any assistance from anyone in the PE community.

      • Lina

        Hi again Celes, thank you for your thoughtful response. I know for sure that the situation is real because I`ve been there while growing up and it does not seem to be getting any better when I`m visiting:( She is not aggressive in a way that leaves evident marks but still, her almost daily episodes of rage along the years have imprinted huge fears on us both. The usual reasons are that my mom does not approve the way in which we do certain things or talk or act or deal with things and from that generate enormous scandals. Also, she would never ever accept a second opinion as she is very proud and seeks validation from like-minded people. Social services are not really an option as the children taken away from their homes are not benefiting of great care and my sister needs that kind of attention considering her disease (although she is 23). I guess the only valid option in this case would be to somehow convince our mother to undergo a treatment that would reduce her anger outbursts, but that is close to impossible since she does not even recognize she has an issue (in our culture, the parents are entitled to act whichever way they think best on their children, as they are older and supposed to know better). Thank you again, I`ll keep you posted.

        • Lina

          To be honest, it`s only now, after years of seeing it happen, that I realize what`s the name for what is really going on: I have been home-bullied (it has gotten somewhat milder after I left home for studies and then work – I choose one of the farthest destinations possible) and my sister continues to be. I`ve started looking for online resources and found a few similar stories but no solutions (most people focus on work or school bullying which are, to a certain extent, easier to avoid). I am truly thankful though that I finally have a name for it, that makes a part of the frustration go away and it gives me hope in finding a way out of it and its nasty consequences. Thanks, Celes.

  • Jason

    GREAT for you Celes! I am reading this first thing when i woke up this morning. I like this, because I was severely bullied growing up. This inspires me, and has started my day off with a smile! Thanks for posting

    Jason

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      That’s awesome to hear, Jason! I’m sorry to hear about you being bullied growing up and I hope you have had the chance to work through those experiences since then. I’m very glad this post has started your day with a smile. Good day to you! :)

      • Jason

        ;)

  • http://www.johncooperwrites.com/ John Cooper

    I think it’s best just to ignore those comments; not even deleting them.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      I think if someone is posting in response to material you created on your own channel or website, it feels a little bit like the person is inside your home and striking a conversation with you. If the person is speaking in a distasteful and highly disrespectful manner, then I wouldn’t want to engage the person in conversation and make my stance clear about the kind of acceptable etiquette I wish to have in my home. That’s just how I feel though with regards to creating my own channel and website; others are free to disagree.

  • Nancy

    I have been reading your articles for a few years and they are truly inspirational. I look forward to them every week. I love to read so sometimes I print them out and reread them.

  • Em

    You are intelligent, tactful, and a voice to be heard! Don’t let nay-Sayers ever get you down! You are an inspiration to us all; and I absolutely adore your response to Ploomer B! =)

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Thank you so much for your kind words Em!! :)

  • Christina Mattschei

    Good for you Celes! I love the way you handled this. Just seeing it takes the fear and uncertainty out of what to do should it ever happen to me or someone I care about. Thank you for sharing this and the best way to handle it!

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Christina, just remember that there are all kinds of people in the world and all kinds of comments fly online, and knowing that you don’t need to let any of such comments affect you is key to handling such situations. Happy new year 2014 to you! :D

  • Rainer Proksch

    It feels nice to read how you handled such a situation. You have done a great job by posting it on your blog. It will be a motivation to others and people will be motivated to stand against such disrespectful behaviors from others. Thank you!

  • Aseem

    Well. Nicely done and I can relate to it too because I am also changing from a passive to assertive personality (bit by bit , brick by brick) ;)

  • Kate Punivai

    Hi Glenn, I have been following (on FB) that couple for the past few months as they “marathoned” their way around Australia. I too saw some of the ridiculous comments by people (all of whom had never even attempted to do what they did, mind you!).

    In Australia, we have a thing called “Tall Poppy Syndrome” which is basically cutting down anyone who grows too high. I think it’s added to the great Aussie traits of being humble, and being able to laugh at ourselves…but it also means that people who step outside the box of “average-ness” get trounced, and others looking on are discouraged from following in their footsteps.

    One thing I’ve realised, is that standing tall and being head and shoulders above the crowd, will attract great opportunity, but it also attracts great opposition. Which is why it’s important that self-development and “success” training includes preparing ourselves for this eventuality.

    I guess it reminds me of the need to support each other on our journeys, because that one positive, affirmative comment in the midst of negativity could be difference between “make” or “break”…

    • http://avene.org/ Glenn Thomas

      Hi Kate, yes, very true. And I guess it’s always been like that.

  • http://thetopfivepercent.com/ Stephen W. Anderson

    I learned a big lesson in my life that I cannot control what other people think about me. I can be the best me I can be, and I can carry myself with honor and dignity and still people will try to knock me down.

    I am sorry thta this happened to you and I am glad you reported it. I hope that becomes the end of your torubles with this.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Stephen! It’ll never be the end; there will always be such comments coming up. :) (In fact, I receive comments in poor taste/jest on a weekly basis, just that I don’t call them out on the blog.) The key is just about taking it in stride.

      I love your positive attitude towards being the best you can be and carrying yourself with honor and dignity. That’s exactly what we should do! Others can treat us negatively or even rudely, but there’s no reason why we should adopt the same approach towards them too. What we don’t want others to do unto us, we shouldn’t do onto others.

      • http://thetopfivepercent.com/ Stephen W. Anderson

        I couldn’t agree more Celestine. it is how we are inside that creates our world. And I want to live in a positive one.

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