In the past week or so I have had to do something that I have never done before. I have had to use the block button. And because of how things are in this society, I have had to wrestle with feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety over this simple, peaceful act.
Yes, simple and peaceful. Why?
Because my feelings of guilt came from unhealthy places. Came from places of wanting to please, wanting to educate, wanting to be nice. Thinking that if only I tried harder maybe this person might listen to me, might understand.
My feelings of fear came from unhealthy places rooted in power and oppression in our society, aka: this person I block has more power than me and I might get in trouble, he might keep me out of success in some way.
My feelings of anxiety came from a place of not wanting to burn bridges, not wanting to be mean, not wanting to make a mistake.
And those unhealthy feelings were just that. Voices in my head. They had to pass and I let them. They were not accurate interpretations of the situation.
When someone creeps into your DMs and insults your work, your degree, your gender, your reality, there’s no need to mull over oh is it okay to block this person or not. They gotta go.
Blocking people who bother you, slander you, annoy you, trivialize you, harass you, or bring you down in any other way that puts a negative spin on your day is a right, just, and good thing to do.
You cannot engage with some people. Some people do not want to engage. It is not your job to teach people or to try to get them to see that things they have said hurt or are wrong. They did not come to apologize, listen, or learn. My feeling is this: give yourself peace. You are here to work and write and share and create. Not to debate or fend off trolls.
Blocking someone is easy. No, really.
The internet is like our home away from home. Except for we let in way too many people, on purpose, and mostly for good reason. We are here to share on social media and to be social with others in ways that build us up, form community, and foster positive career goals and connections. If all of these people were in our homes and one of them was acting out, calling us names or being snarky about our work, would we feel bad about kicking them out? Hopefully not!
We do not need that kind of noise in our lives, our hearts, our spirits, or our careers. We do not need to add people pleasing to our list of duties and tasks as writers and freelancers.
It is okay to block, it is okay to disengage, it is okay to be selective about who you let onto your page.
We write for our audience. They find us on purpose. Because they want to.
So do your best work for you and for them and ignore the haters in a way that lasts and resounds: hit that Block button and get back to work!
Jenny Justice is a mom, Sociology instructor, and writer. You can follow her on Medium and at Jenny Justice, Writer. She has been recognized as a Top Writer on Medium in Poetry, Parenting, Reading, Education, Books, Racism, Feminism and Climate Change, so far.