McKayla Maroney’s “Not impressed” face from the London Olympic Games four years ago became one of the most famous Internet memes in history, and made the now-20 year old into a massive social media celebrity overnight, with millions of followers and fans. Sounds great right? But in Mckayla Maroney's interview with Jessica O’Beirne of Gymcastic on Wednesday, the gold and silver medalist revealed that there have been days she felt like deleting all of her social media accounts. Which means, if social media stress can happen to an uber confident Olympic champion, what chance do the rest of us normals have?
Maroney remains a positive influence on her social media channels, and she has been open and honest about her struggles with depression and image. As most people who use social media have discovered, it can be a scary place filled with trolls, negativity, and self-doubt, and can have real impact on one’s life. Maroney, who announced today that she has moved on from her competitive career (the world will have to live without any new "Not Impressed" memes at the Rio games this summer, sadly) has come out the other side and had some wise words of advice and encouragement for anyone who wants to participate in social media.
1. Be Yourself!
“With social media” Maroney told O’Beirne “My advice is to just be yourself, because at the end of the day people are going to really appreciate that. And the people who are going to get it, it’ll speak to them, and the people who aren’t, they weren’t going to get it anyway.”
Maroney says that she is finally at peace with people not agreeing with everything she says, adding, “You just have to stay true to yourself.”
2. It's Totally Cool to Take a Break
Maroney mused that in regards to social media sometimes, “It’s just so much better to not do it. Everybody is always going to say something that kind of hurts you, no matter what you say. So I just don’t even read it anymore.”
3. Winning Isn't Everything
Maroney has been able to find humor and peace, not just with her famous meme coinciding with a devastating event (she fell on her vault in the Olympic event final, and had to settle for the silver medal), but also with the craziness of life in the fish-bowl of the Internet. “That’s just social media in general” she said when asked about facing criticism online, later adding, “You can’t win.”
4. Find the Positivity, Leave the Negativity
Maroney told O’Beirne that what keeps her going on social media is the many people who have sent her messages or thanked her for being positive and honest. “Those are the things that make my day,” she said. “I just stay away from things that are lower vibration and just try to stay up for the highest good of everyone so I can help more people and spread more love and light.”
McKayla Maroney's incredibly accomplished competitive career may have come to an end, but her life experience, wisdom beyond her years, and her ability to rise above it all, are positively golden — just like the Olympic champ herself.