People say to not pay attention to the negative out there, especially on social media, but it’s hard. “F*ck the haters!” they say, “No one can judge me but God!”
But I have a different response.
People judge us every single day. Heck, we judge other people every single day! One part of the human condition is that we all care way too much about what people think. And don’t tell me, “I stopped caring a long time ago.” If someone comments rudely or attacks you with words, how do you respond? Do you ignore it because you don’t care? Or do you respond just as harshly? You aren’t alone. Almost all of us take negative comments to heart instead of focusing on the positive, and if a single person disagrees with us we wonder either what’s wrong with her, or what’s wrong with me?
Negative Nancys Are Everywhere
A couple of weeks ago, I started receiving messages from a divorced mother having trouble getting past the negative people in her life. She couldn’t decide whether to cut them off, or kill them with kindness. My answer was something else: instead of focusing on how to treat them, focus on how you react to their negativity. If your life is not serviced well by having those people in your life, then why are they in it? If you love them and want to keep them around, then focus instead on not letting their negativity get to you.
Many times when we post something new on Kandy Apple Mama, it’s met with mixed reviews, tons of positive remarks and quite often a few negative comments. For the most part, advice and stories are well received. But there are always a small number of readers who just can’t stand us. Whether it’s our positive relationship between mom and stepmom, our focus on including stepparents instead of only co-parenting between bio parents, our belief that dads are important too, or whatever the case may be – we just aren’t every person’s cup of tea. And that’s absolutely okay!
Parents, co-parents, bloggers – this issue applies to us all. Nothing we do will ever please everyone, nothing we write will ever apply to everyone, and nothing we say will be understood by everyone.
The Draining Power of Social Media
Social media (and news media) is known for bringing negativity to the forefront. It’s what catches the attention of most people, gets the most traffic, the highest ratings, and therefore the most screen time. But it’s terrible for hearts and minds.
Do you ever feel like any time you post something personal on Facebook, you could have a hundred encouraging comments, but that one Negative Nancy gets all of your focus? It’s ridiculous, and we know we shouldn’t dwell on the negative, but it’s hard to pretend it just doesn’t exist.
My advice is: don’t pretend. Just accept it.
To put it more eloquently, here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Nobody truly interesting is universally liked.” -Carl the gigolo (Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce)
“You could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” -Dita Von Teese
You could be saying the most positive, life affirming things on your blog next week, and there’s still going to be someone out there that reads it with a “bitter filter.” They’ll never understand the point you’re trying to get across.
You could have had the most fun and amazing day with your kids at the water park, and someone is going to judge the snack you gave them in the pictures.
You could have the best relationship with your child’s other parents, one that works for all of you, and there are always going to be relatives or old friends who think you’re batsh*t for it. Heck, you may even lose friends over it!
But that’s okay.
You’re Going to be Just Fine
It’s okay if someone doesn’t like you, or doesn’t want to be your friend, or disagrees with things you do or say. That’s life. And instead of saying “f*ck the haters” all the time, why not just accept it? Chant those inspirational quotes above. Remind yourself that you don’t need to be universally liked in order to be happy. Accept that your opinions differ, that you don’t think the same way. Just keep doing you! They are who they are. And if they express themselves hatefully when they comment to you or about you, then that says much more about them than you. That’s their “bitter filter” talking.
It’s not always easy to accept, especially when your emotions get involved, and it takes a lot of conscious thought to refrain from responding just as negatively. But if you put your mind to it, I think you’ll find more happiness and self-respect in accepting differences combined with your own respectful responses. Because just as you don’t agree with everyone else, they don’t have to agree with you. And just as you don’t enjoy being around every person out there, they don’t have to enjoy being around you either. Agree to disagree and be a better person for it.
You’re going to be just fine, Mama.
Until next time ladies,
PS: Remember, don’t take it personally. It’s not about you.