My snarky, rude and negative comments online can be contained within a 2 year period where I would say things that were out of my positive character. At first, my comments were intended to be funny in a sarcastic sort of way, but after some time, I realized these comments were no longer said in jest - I truly felt this way.
However, I over came it and have changed my view of the world and my interactions with others. It took some work, but more signficantly, an improvement in my health that removed the dark veil of negativity and allowed me to see the world with stark clarity.
After you read my ramble, I suggest a great article in The Albion BMX Magazine called "Words Made Flesh" by Steve Bancroft which gives insight to internet trolls, flame baiters and negative online personalities and how they affect the online community.
1. The most significant change that took place - which cleared my head - was getting my health checked and becoming diagnosed with sleep apnea. While sleep apnea isn't a grave illness like major heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity or other things of that nature, it can - and will - lead to those diseases. I do have hereditary high blood pressure, and combined with sleep apnea, can result in deadly consequences.
When somebody has sleep apnea, they never fully fall into deep sleep which can cause a multitude of problems. For me, it raised my blood pressure, but a more severe side effect was depression. I suffered from depression so bad, my life became dark - and my mind went to dark places. It wasn't that I needed a vacation, a new wardrobe or to "have a talk" - my sleep apnea was causing a severe chemical imbalance in my brain. I was drinking 8-10 cups of coffee a day to try and stay awake, just to wake up 30 times an hour from sleep apnea when I went to bed at night.
My depression caused me to say and do things that were outside of my character. My job performance was absolutely the pits, and it was the first year (in my 10 year career) that I did not meet or exceed my goals. My athletic performance also suffered greatly.
After a visit with my doctor and some tests, I was prescribed a CPAP machine.
Within a month of using my machine, my life changed. It was like a veil was lifted and I could see the world clearly. Depression - gone. Bad thoughts - gone. Internet douchebaggery - GONE. I saw gigantic gains in my athletic performance and my overall positive presence among other people. I lost 30lbs. My work performance got better, and I exceeded my goals within the 1st quarter of 2013. I was nicer to people online and offline. I started to seek out a higher purpose and felt an obligation to charity and giving.
Just by getting full sleep, my life changed for the better.
2. With this new reboot and clarity, I decided to stop spending so much time on internet forums. MTBR, BMX-Forums, Bay Area Riders Forum, Global-Flat... great forums with a wealth of information, but there is also a plethora of trolls and flame baiting. Combined with my depression - trolls and flame baiting would cause me to go down extremely negative rabbit holes, making me obsess over online debates.
Knowing it was hurting me more than helping me, I simply logged out and never logged back in. News and updates can be had by subscribing to selected Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. In other words, I choose my internet experience on my own terms and ignore negative trolls.
3. Clarity also has allowed me to not be so judgmental. Religion and politics are always the big heated discussions, but 1) I refuse to engage in them and 2) I accept people for their beliefs, even if it conflicts with my own. I realized people can be extremely religious or extremely atheist, hardcore liberal or conservative - and that's okay. Their beliefs don't give me warrant to battle, block or hate them; if I agree, I accept - and if I don't agree, I accept.
I also realized that when people are posting messages about a birthday, birth, anniversary, a big purchase, those over-the-top inspirational Facebook meme's, or anything else positive in their life - they aren't necessarily bragging or throwing it in my face. I now know they are just genuinely happy - and I cant be nothing but supportive of that.
† CHECK YO'SELF
Yes, I am a former internet douchebag. I said some mean, snarky, negative things in my past - and for that - I apologize. I can't believe I retained that many friends during that time... but I've found that I've made a lot more friends as a much nicer, positive person.