Carol Burnett once said:
Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.Carol Burnett
Carol’s quote came to mind recently, when I received some strongly-worded criticism in response to a post I’d made, on a social media group. Whether my words were truth or lies, seemed less relevant than the individual opinions of the responders making the comments.
It seemed some people relished an opportunity to vent their spleen, albeit in an anonymous way.
Normally, I’d be a little rattled by heavy-handed criticism, but I’m no longer surprised by being hammered with a critical counter-argument, at least on social media.
And yet, in distancing myself from reacting to the negative commentary, I began to feel like some kind of stone-hearted internet troll.
Aristotle was unsurprisingly philosophical about criticism:
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”Aristotle
I wondered should we ignore all negative feedback and scroll on, or respond to critical comments? If so, how?
Criticism of others’ opinions via the internet, and indeed, cyber-bullying, itself, has seemingly reached pandemic proportions. Thankfully the blogging world is mostly immune to negativity, but it did make me wonder how others dealt constructively, with heavy-handed criticism.
An American Politician, Sam Rayburn once said,
Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.
Marc and Angel advocated creating space between hurtful words and feelings.
“Accept that someone else’s opinion is NOT your problem.”
“How you seem to someone and how you actually are, is rarely congruent.
Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. What someone thinks of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine.”Marc and Angel
A measure of acceptance that we are all flawed and that we are all different, is echoed in this anonymous saying from wiseoldsayings.com
Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.
Perhaps we can all agree to disagree?
Have you experienced reactive negative criticism on the internet to a post you made?
How did you handle it?
Is there a better way to respond?