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Jenni Falconer Talks Kindness

3 MIN READ • 26th November 2018

Our woman pounding the pavements tells us why we should all watch what we say online

Would you tell a stranger that they look fat? Would you dare to say that they have a flat chest? Would you think you’re qualified enough to tell anyone that they need to take action to better themselves aesthetically? I hope that the answer to all of these questions is no. Sadly however, it turns out that social media is fast becoming a hub of trolling and an opportunity to voice unwanted opinions.

I’ve been on social media for years and I love that it enables me to connect with others. I enjoy sharing experiences, seeing the world through other people’s eyes and learning about places I may have never heard of. Instagram, in particular, has allowed me to meet others with similar interests and I’ve made new friends with the same passions. We’re all different ages, sizes, shapes, and have various levels of ability, and yet we all share a common interest. Whether it’s golfing, running or simply general fitness, it’s been great to chat with others who can offer training advice, help motivate or simply just have a conversation about something we are passionate about.

Unfortunately, there are also those who use this opportunity to access other people’s accounts as a tool to troll. Trolling is now an official thing, and it can cause sadness, upset, paranoia and, on occasions, the consequences can be even worse. It means literally to verbally attack, bully or abuse someone on an online forum, while being protected by the anonymity of your internet persona or simply by the degree of separation you have from that person. But, just because you don’t know them, or they can’t see you, it doesn’t mean that it’s OK – in fact, it’s unacceptable.

In the fitness realm, trolling happens a lot – perhaps from those who don’t work out, or maybe from others who don’t appreciate the amount of effort fitness fans put in. Clearly, they feel the need to let people know that fit folk exercise too much – we’re too thin, or not thin enough considering how much training we do. The list is endless. I know I don’t have the perfect body but this doesn’t concern me – I just want a healthy body. Yes, I do aspire to be toned, to lift heavy weights and be able to carry my golf clubs. I also really like eating, mostly because I need the energy to run marathons. Many of us pride ourselves on being fit, setting good examples to our children and feeling healthy.

Exercise makes me feel good – it’s my form of meditation. It can be a physical challenge yet still a hobby, and it’s a way to burn calories. My diet isn’t brilliant, and my cooking is best described as diabolical, but I try to ensure my family have healthy meals and that they don’t obsess it. Everything in moderation – why limit the fun? You only have one life, so you may as well live it.

I’m 5’9”, have a healthy BMI, and work out four to five times a week. Six days a week, my alarm goes off at 2.30am and I work hours that many people shudder at. I look shattered by Friday, meaning that I rely on concealer to hide my eye bags! But still, I’m generally a happy person who thrives on the positive. Being told by a stranger on Instagram that I look dreadful and need to eat a few pies is baffling, not to mention offensive. Be careful what you say and how you say it, because that comment may take you a second to type but it could affect the other person for a lifetime.

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