The internet is full of crabs in a bucket.
Here’s a quote from wandering-scientist that illustrates the concept, and a bit more.
As I was reading the comments on the various blog posts in the latest round of the WAHM vs WOHM vs SAHM argument, I was struck by how many mothers sound genuinely miserable and even bitter about their lives. Sure, there was a lot of venting and some oneupmanship, but there was also a lot of genuine pain. I’d read what the WOHMs wrote and think that their lives didn’t sound that different from mine. So why am I happy when they clearly are not?
Crabs in a bucket, pulling themselves and each other down. Why not lift people up?
Why do we get into these ridiculous “my life is worse than yours” (yet “my choices are better than yours”) arguments? My childhood was more troubled. We had less money growing up. My husband is more sexist and lazy than yours. My child is more of a problem. I’m sicker than you are. I’m more discriminated against. You have no right to call yourself badly off because that denies my experience of being worse off. You (professional women) shouldn’t be allowed workplace rights until independent contractors (cleaning folks) are allowed workplace rights. I feel so guilty for things that you never considered feeling guilty about before but maybe now you’re thinking there’s something wrong with you and are feeling guilty about not feeling guilty.*
Why do we encourage each other to complain about things we could instead be thankful for?
My social science doesn’t study these questions. So all I can do is complain and speculate. But seriously, human beings are messed up. Evolution is a harsh mistress.
And we’re rational. We don’t have to pull ourselves and others down. Sure we can listen to each other vent, but we don’t have to encourage it. We don’t have to attack people who offer solutions instead of sympathy (though we can say, “I’m not ready for solutions yet, just listen”). We don’t have to one-up each other in despair competitions. We don’t have to attack different choices as wrong choices. We don’t have to be miserable about the choices we’ve made. We can actively try to be happy and we can actively encourage other people to be happy too. Either happy with the choices they’ve made or encourage them on the way to implementing new choices.
Let’s create small tides that lift all boats. Let’s focus on how we can grow to be the people we want to be and encourage others to do the same.
*Disclaimer: The above statements have nothing to do with our actual lives.
Do you think most people are as miserable as people on the internet seem to be? Do you think people on the internet are really as miserable as they pretend? Do you think sharing/spreading the misery on the internet helps or harms? How can a person help decrease widespread misery without getting hir head bitten off?