“I DIDN’T know you could train like shit and be an Olympic champion”.
That was a message I received on my Facebook page on Saturday. Shortly after there was another similar one. Then another. And another. And another.
I was taken aback when I read the first one. Confused with the next few, then shocked and by the time I got past 100 negative remarks I was angry.
Cyber bullying is something I’d heard about but never experienced – until now.
On Friday I achieved a personal best in the weights room. It was a very exciting day as I managed to squat 100kg in the weights room – 25kg above my previous best.
We took a 20-second video of me doing four 100kg reps and posted it on Facebook the following day. I enjoy sharing these moments because I know people are interested in getting insights into the life of an elite athlete.
I never expected the reaction I received. There were so many negative messages attacking me for what I was doing on the video.
There were the personal trainers who said I was doing everything wrong with my technique but overall the criticism just went over the top.
It cut really deep and I was surprised how hurt I was.
It’s such a personal thing that I’d invited people to look into, something I was so passionate about as it is my job yet people were attacking me.
After a few hours my husband Kieran suggested I take down the post. I didn’t want to do it initially because I didn’t want those people to win but the bottom line is I don’t put things up to be attacked and I don’t want to be bullied about something I do.
What this has done is open my eyes to cyber bullying.
I don’t think people understand how hurtful this can be no matter who you are saying it to. Whether it’s me, an Olympic champion, or the girl who lives across the street, when you read this sort of thing it affects you.
What these people said to me is on a very low level to what some other people experience but if people are going to hurt my feelings then I’m going to say something, I don’t wait around for it to happen again.
That’s why this whole episode makes me want to do something. People need to be made aware of how just a few words can hurt someone deeply.
It also made me look into how I see people.
I think we all as humans forget to thank people, congratulate people or just pat someone on the back and say they’re doing a good job.
For example there is a small suburban cafe on the Gold Coast that Kieran and I go to a lot, particularly on weekends for breakfast.
The waiter there is absolutely fantastic, the standard of which you would see in a world class restaurant. We decided that we needed to say something to the owner.
He seemed surprised to be receiving any feedback, let alone of a positive nature, and was really appreciative of our kind words about his staff member.
People need to understand that positive comments can really leave a mark. Just saying ‘Thank you’ for doing a good job can mean so much.
I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to think more before expressing an opinion. Before you speak, try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
You might not know that person, you don’t know what they have been through or where they just came from five minutes ago so don’t be so quick to judge someone so harshly.
If you’re going to have an opinion, make sure it’s constructive and actually has some substance to it.
But most of all, THINK before you type.