My Life · The Internet

Bye Bye, Negativity

I discovered the app Whisper a couple years ago after reading an article about women who used the app to confess they regretted having children. According to the article, dozens of women were supporting each other through the app. It sounded horrible, that so many women could confess to regretting their children. As I read deeper into the confessions, I began to understand their perspective. Many of the women were young moms who weren’t ready to be parents. Then I researched the app Whisper.

Whisper is like a modern-day diary. You create an account, and then you can ‘whisper’ your most private thoughts. The app then generates an image to represent your thought. You can also search images by keywords or add your own images.

Sounds great, right? We all have thoughts we don’t want to broadcast to the world. We have thoughts we feel like we can’t tell even our closest friends because it might offend them or change their perception of us.

When I first joined Whisper, people seemed mostly positive whenever I ‘whispered’ something, which was infrequently. I eventually uninstalled the app from my phone because I wasn’t using it and I needed space.

I installed the app again on my current phone a few weeks ago, and I started using it over the holidays while at my parents’ house. My family can be aggravating, and I needed a place to unleash my thoughts. What I wasn’t expecting was some of the negative, inappropriate responses I would receive. I had people asking intimate questions about my life and commenting inappropriately.

On Tuesday I was watching Chicago Fire and Chicago Med. I only watch television for specific shows, so I hadn’t turned my TV on since early December. So this was the first time I was really seeing the latest political commercials. I’ve found myself more outraged by them this year than ever before, though I’ve found them frustrating since I took a Persuasive Writing & Speaking class in college where we discussed fallacies in politics. Basically, they’re all liars.

I voiced some of my thoughts on Whisper and, all of a sudden, I had five people attacking me. My heart rate quickened. My blood boiled. Symptoms of anxiety rushed through my body. I became angry. In the past, I would have carried on hours of arguments with these strangers.

But then I would have missed out on Chicago Med.

So I deleted the app, and I have no plans to re-install it anytime soon.

I don’t have time for negativity anymore.  I’ve wasted too many hours being angry, being upset, and unleashing my rage at others. I’ve spent too much time feeding the trolls online.

It’s unhealthy. When my heart pounds so hard I feel nauseous, I know it’s time to step onto the balcony to take a deep breath and recompose myself, then I need to redirect my attention to something else. People will always have different opinions than me — online and offline — and that’s fine. However, it is not fine for them to attack me for sharing a different opinion, but there’s nothing I can do to stop them. I even used to be that person.

Once upon a time, I searched Twitter for people who thought differently than me and I scanned message boards for people with different opinions, only to reply to tell them they’re wrong. So I understand where they’re coming from.

I hope that one day they also realize they’re wasting their time and can choose to seek out joy instead of misery.

Pleasure is more enjoyable than pain. Happiness feels better than sadness. Being positive feels better than being negative.

Bye Bye, Negativity.

With all that said, I still follow the Whisper App Facebook page, because it highlights some of the best whispers on the app. The app isn’t all bad if you’re able to ignore the assholes.

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