Evanna Lynch on Defeating Internet BulliesLynch
Today's Independent features an article written by Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) on cyber bullying, and how she learned to overcome the intense meanness of the Internet:
was somewhat prepared for the inevitable internet onslaught in the wake of my casting. I was already an active member of the 'Harry Potter' internet fan community and had seen how quickly passion turned to rancour when a beloved book series and the specifications of its characters were at stake.The piece describes how Evanna started learning to shut out the negative places of the Internet and focus on those who provide the positive encouragement that humans notoriously ignore in the face of negativity:
I'd even admitted to my dad, after one of the auditions where I felt I'd blown my chances, that I would forever despise the awful girl who got Luna's role, and would never be able to watch another Potter movie again.
They say we remember a compliment for two weeks and an insult for 14 years. Just as I am about to single out the one troll and prepare to fight venom with venom and fire, I pause and think what kind of person that makes me. Someone who doesn't care about the dozens of pure, generous souls who offer kindness and support, and instead lavishes time and attention on the one miserable leech? I stop, delete the offending tweet, maybe block the user and focus my attention on the people who remind me to see the beauty in the world and in myself.We encourage you to read the full article! It is tremendous stuff that highlights what a beautiful journey this young woman has taken since the day she first appeared on our screens.
I don't think we're ever strong enough to read the hateful stuff and let it roll off our backs. It's all very well for the self-help books and bespectacled psychiatrists to dole out the very grand advice to simply "love ourselves". What the hell does that mean to the 13-year-old who's put on 15lbs and is told every day at school she's a fat pig?
Essentially, "loving oneself" is the answer, yes, but as a hyper-aware, introspective, self-help-book-consuming 22-year-old I have already deduced that that is a mission that takes a lifetime of learning, forgetting, crying-in-your-car-that-you're-a-giant-failure and relearning all over again.
No, it's not about demanding of ourselves to instantaneously love ourselves. It's about consciously choosing light over dark. It's about realising that even if we don't have the strength to stare these hurtful comments plain in the face and say "you're wrong", we have the strength to search for those people who will convince us that the bullies and the nasty things written about us, or others, are wrong.
And it's about practising that positive outlook every single day, with every person, in everything we do until eventually – eventually – that becomes a habit.