I donâ€™t get a whole lot of negative email. But occasionally one slips into my inbox.
I got an email from someone this week.
â€śYou suck. Your stuff sucks. I canâ€™t believe your online and in business.â€ť
Okay, thatâ€™s not exactly what it says â€“ but you get the point. (It had a lot of negativity and a lot more *$@% in it then I care to write here.)
I scanned the comment. Then I looked at the email address. And thatâ€™s when I started laughing.
The email address was from a generic account (ie gmail, yahoo, etc) â€“ but in front of the @ was a saying that made the whole thing ironic.
It seems when they created their email account, they felt they were a very ethical, kind, and happy person. Could someone like that really write the message I just read?
Delete. Not worth another thought.
Yet thatâ€™s when it hit me that this could be a valuable post.
You see Iâ€™ve been online long enough now to be called every name in the book. Iâ€™ve had some of the worst comments in the world posted to pretty much every account I have. And when I received the first one, it stung more than you can imagine.
I questioned who I was, what I was doing, and a whole lot more.
Gradually I pulled myself back up and moved forward.
Number two was easier. Number three was even easier.
You see, if youâ€™re going to subject yourself to the online world, negativity comes along with it.
When people are comfy, cozy in their homes or offices and donâ€™t have to see the deprecations of their actions, they can sling mud all day long. Maybe theyâ€™re having a bad day. Maybe things arenâ€™t going right in their world. Why not share a little of their misery with everyone else too.
Maybe youâ€™ve heard the horror stories. Maybe youâ€™re worried about the same thing happening to you. Guess what? Itâ€™s unavoidable. If youâ€™re online, it will happen to you.
- Someone will tell you your photography is crap.
- Someone will tell you that you suck.
- Someone will rip you apart in language youâ€™ll hopefully never hear in person.
- Yes â€“ you will be bullied. In an extreme way.
And the more successful you become, the more likely you will have these comments posed directly to you.
How do you handle it?
Realize you shouldnâ€™t take it personally. Yes, their goal is to tear you down. But only you can allow them to do it. In the online world, your best friend is your delete key. If you donâ€™t like something â€“ delete. And move on.
Do they continue? If someone sends you one rude message, delete and be done. If they send you something again and again, ignore and block. Whether in your email, your blog or your Facebook account, there are features in place that allows you to block contact with certain addresses. Do what ever you can to get them out of your life. If you donâ€™t respond, over time they should lose interest.
Never, never respond angrily. In some cases, a message can really hit home. Maybe it sets off your anger. Or it makes you very emotional. Step away from the computer/phone/tablet. Put it down and go for a walk. Yell about it. Scream about it. Cry about it. But never respond. If you respond, youâ€™ll say something you regret. And it could elevate beyond anything you can imagine. (Amyâ€™s Baking Company recently found out the hard way in the past few weeks.)
Focus in on the positive. Every day I hear from people that have nothing but positive stories to share with me. Like this one.
Thank You! Your advice was such a gift of peace for me.Â I wasn’t quite sure where or how to start.Â Thanks for taking the time to listen and help a total stranger!
Your best clients love you and what you do. And when they tell you, put it in a file to go back to when youâ€™re having your hard days. It will be a constant reminder that youâ€™re on the right track, doing exactly what you are meant to do.