The other evening at about 10pm, I shared a link to an old post on Twitter. I hadn’t shared it in a while and thought it deserved another outing.
I woke up the next morning to a negative comment – not really about the post – about me.
To put it in context, it was an old post that I wrote over a year ago. I wrote a letter to my husband. Basically to explain why some days I’m chatty and some days I’m quiet; some days I’m touchy-feely and some days I want to be left alone; and so on. The title of the post is “Dear Husband, I’m Sorry.”
The negative commenter – let’s call her Lara because, well, that appears to be her name – wrote “Poor man. If you were really sorry you’d do something about it.”
I was a bit taken aback and then I laughed. I laughed because I knew that Lara had a) missed the whole point of the post and b) been rather naïve.
Of course I approved the comment – unless there’s offensive profanity in comments or they are clearly spam, then I approve them. If I write a blog then I should accept criticism when people read it. But Lara wasn’t criticising the post or anything in particular about it. Just me.
I had lots of sarcastic responses springing to mind (sarcasm is my first port of call for most types of communication – I know, it’s the lowest form of wit, but I’m really a big fan). I considered asking her for advice given that she had obviously cracked it and was the perfect partner. I considered pretending to be genuinely inquisitive about her life as an all-round brilliant human being.
But I didn’t. Because, especially recently, I am feeling so much more at peace with myself. Whether it’s daily yoga or a wonderful group I’m part of on Facebook, I didn’t really have much desire to respond in this way.
She had completely missed the point of the post. The ‘sorry’ was because my behaviour, at the time (and probably still!), could be unpredictable depending on the type of day I’d had. So far, so the same as every other person on the planet. It’s just that sometimes, I felt that people didn’t fully grasp that being at home with young children is about as mentally challenging and draining as it gets for a lot of people. It’s not ‘going to work’, so some people just don’t get it. I fear that Lara may be one of them.
My husband always has ‘got it’ to be fair to him. But I wrote the post to acknowledge it myself and recognise that I’m not always easy to live with. I wrote it so that other people could show their partners and say “this is why.” I wrote it so that people could read it and maybe, just maybe, understand their partner better.
So I didn’t respond to Lara’s comment with another negative comment.
If we respond to negatives with positives, the negativity has nothing to feed on. And I’m not just talking about online. When we talk to people in person, if they are always moaning but we are always smiling and happy, they don’t get a reaction to their negativity – it can’t go anywhere – positivity cuts it off. And either they stop being so chuffing miserable or they stop talking to us (and who wants to be around people who are constantly negative anyway?)
So I’m trying not to get sucked in to conversations that are nothing to do with me at work, or on the school run or between family members – especially when those conversations drain the good mood from me. No one wants to be friends with a dementor.
If someone is being negative remember that it’s their problem – not yours. Do I still moan about stuff to my husband? Yes of course I do. Do I still bitch with my girlfriends about things that are happening in our lives? Too bloody right. Do I write personal things about strangers on the internet on posts that are over a year old? Er, no.
Because when I moan to my husband or gossip with my friends, it is almost like therapy. I am talking about things so that they are easier to deal with. If I wrote a bitchy comment on a blog post I’d be being negative into an abyss – unsure of whether the author would even bother reading it, even care or even respond.
So I choose positivity.
And if anyone’s wondering what I wrote to Lara, it was this:
Lara, thank you for taking your time to read and leave a comment. Don’t worry too much about my ‘poor man’ – I make up for it in other ways 😉