Chelsea Clinton’s Secret(s) to Staying Emotionally Healthy on Social Media

A bit from my Let's Give A Damn podcast conversation with Chelsea

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Chelsea Clinton to record a podcast conversation. The biggest question I got from people after our conversation was, “What is she like?” I usually responded, “She’s everything. Perfect.” Obviously, she’s not perfect. But she’s everything I hoped she would be—mature, gracious, loving, compassionate, passionate, visionary, and her final statement on the podcast blew me away! You’ll have to go listen to it to experience a bit of what I experienced. 

During our conversation, I asked her how she stays mentally and emotionally healthy on social media. You think people are mean to you on social media? Imagine being the daughter of two controversial, famous parents—one that was President and the other that was almost the President! Rush Limbaugh called Chelsea a dog when she was just 12-years-old. Can you imagine? Anyway, this is precisely why I wanted to ask her about it. Her response was fantastic. 

Me: There is so much good and bad to be consumed and social media and on the interwebs. How do you stay emotionally healthy on social media? What are your practices and habits? How do you figure out what to consume, when to stop, and then still become a person of action?

Chelsea: I’ll start with the last question first. I just don’t think being a person of inaction is an option, really. Particularly, not at this moment in time. I’ve had a lot of people say to me since the election, “Don’t you just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head?” What good does that do anyone? That doesn’t do my children any good or the world that I want to live in tomorrow; much less the kind I want for them to live in for many tomorrows. I only consume social media through Twitter and, once in a while, Facebook. So, I’m not on other social media platforms. I think that probably somewhat helps me to remain healthy because there is a limit to my social media consumption. I also really do believe that when trolls—whether bots or real people saying heinous things about me or anyone else, that it reflects so much more on them than on me. And I really do believe in the golden rule. That may not be particularly fashionable right now but I really believe in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. I always try—and believe I do—come from a place of kindness and respect even if that is not being served to me or returned to me. I do think it’s important to not dwell in the trolling for very long but also to not ignore it. I think it is important to shine a light on it. Particularly when it is so offensive to a sense of common decency. I’ve been horrified by the attacks on the courageous Parkland students. I think with what has been shelled out to Emma González, in particular, is just unconscionable. And so I do think it’s important to kind of shine a light particularly on the darkness that is trying to snuff out her light—to say, “No, we’re not gonna let that happen and we’re going not only protect and push back on and continue to elevate and show solidarity.”

ME: I ask that because I, and so many others, love the way that you gracefully handle trolls and people that are spewing ridiculous things. You’re so kind in sort of a way that says I’m here to stay so you can keep spewing your bullsh*t but I’m not going anywhere. You have things to say and you point to so many great things. So, I love that we need more of that.

CHELSEA: Thank you! I mean, I will say I think that sometimes people mistake kindness for weakness. It’s not weakness. Being kind is still very much a way of affirmatively engaging in the world. I just have no interest in trafficking in vitriol. It’s not how I think, it’s not how I feel, and it’s also not what I ever want to role model for my children. So, thank you for saying that. It’s not something that I have to try to do. It’s just, thankfully, kind of what I believe is the right thing to do.

You can listen to our entire conversation on the Let’s Give A Damn podcast here

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