Recently some social media influencers have come under serious scrutiny after a deeper dive into their private lives. While there have been quite a few that topped were eye opening, the announcement of Rachel and Dave Hollis’s divorce has been nearly breaking the internet. With close to 2 million followers, it’s not surprising that influencer/author/speaker Rachel Hollis has more than her fair share of people giving their opinions on her personal life.
Aghast, many folks hopped behind their screens to make their disapproval known. The conversation ranged from holier-than-thou statements of the sinfulness of marriage to utter disbelief at how this seemingly happy couple could lie to us all.
Then there was the anger. Folks that have been listening to Rachel and Dave’s podcast and buying tickets to marriage seminars were up in arms. Comments like, “If you have been struggling, then why have you been giving advice for years? That is so disappointing.”
Also, one of my personal favorites: “Sad. I can’t believe a brand that is based in a lie. Praying for their kids.”
I have a lot of questions for the folks out there hurling accusations at these influencers.
First and foremost: Would you, if you were face to face with that person, say the same thing? If you met Rachel Hollis and she was standing in front of you telling you her struggles, would you really shame her? Would you really open your mouth and hurl out the same venom that is so easy to type behind your anonymity? While you are safe behind your screen and your tiny bubble of influence, are the words that you speak words that you’d say to your friend, your sister, your neighbor?
Secondly, are you married? Have you ever given advice to a friend who was going through a rough patch? If so, was your marriage perfect when you did it? For the people up in arms about buying marriage advice from a failing couple and then feeling deceived, take a look at why you chose to get advice from them in the first place. Did you know and trust them, or did you trust that they had nearly 2 million followers? Did their marriage advice somehow steer you on a wrong path? Do you blame them for what happened to your marriage?
Lastly, exactly at what number of followers is a person granted zero privacy? As comment after comment about disappointment and deception and profiting off of lies rolled in, I wondered how many of us live up to the expectation of truth and honesty that we put on other people.
That’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Social media influencers are living our dream lives. They have what we want, so we try to buy it from them. We buy into the brand and think we’re in a relationship with the person. We’re not. We’re consumers. We’re customers. After all it’s the very idea that we PAID for something that makes us so mad, isn’t it?
We say, “Shame on her for making money off of me,” but we really feel shame on ourselves for giving it to her in the first place.
Behind those derogatory comments is a person who is all together too comfortable judging another person’s mistakes and totally ignoring their own. Behind every rant is a person shame-shifting and blame-shifting.
Here’s what I’m trying to say: We all have junk. We all make mistakes. We all deceive people, say the wrong thing, and do the wrong thing. Rachel Hollis had to own up to a mistake in front of 2 million people. Over here I can barely apologize to my husband one on one.
When we feel we’re at a place to heap a pile of shame on another person, influencer or not, here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t. Never ever, not ever. Not if you have given that person money, trusted them, followed them, been influenced by them, or loved them. Or here’s a great idea: unfollow them. It’s your choice to be there in the first place.
Shame is never the answer.
Instead, take a look at your own life and where you could use a little transparency. What have you been hiding; who have you been pretending to be? We are all out here begging for some genuineness and honesty, but we’re afraid to give it.
Go first. You want genuine, BE genuine. You want truth, tell YOUR truth and don’t worry about how someone else tells theirs. Like I tell my kids, “If we all just worry about ourselves, we’ll be just fine.”