By Sarah Hamaker
Remember that old Nickelodeon TV show for kids where someone got slime poured over his head? That image of the green, gooey stuff cascading out of a giant bucket onto someone’s head came to mind when I read a snarky online comment about me. The person knew nothing about me. But the anonymousness of the Internet has given rise to a whole bunch of slime that’s poured out indiscriminately on writers, celebrities, bloggers, companies, businesses, posters, political figures, and sports players. Basically anyone who happens to ever get online – or has something posted about them online – at any point has the potential to have a bucket of slime poured over their heads.
As writers, we know our words are not always going to find a receptive heart, but it still hurts to hear ugly comments about us and our work. As Christians, how we view those unrepeatable, hurtful, hateful, and otherwise derogatory comments has an impact on our own spiritual and mental health. Here are some common mistakes we can make-and some remedies to fix them.
Taking it personally. If we take those nasty posts to heart, we can worry ourselves sick with the knowledge that someone really doesn’t like us (or multiple someones). Overemphasizing the need to have others think well of us can wrap us up in a world of frustration and hurt.
The remedy is to remember that God loves us just like we are, warts and all. We are made precious in His image. It’s Him we strive to please with our lives. As long as we are serving God with our whole heart, then the aberrant comments by others should slide off our backs.
Setting the record straight. Sometimes, we itch to correct all the misinformation about us that posters make, but that can lead us down the wrong path, too. There will be times when setting the record straight will make sense. Most of the time, our words are not going to change the wrongheaded assumptions of the person who made in the comments.
The remedy is to recall that God knows the truth-and so do those who matter most to us, our family, our friends, our writing community, and our church. Those who know us and love us will usually not be so quick to believe the bad stuff written about us out there. Our time and energy would be better spent ensuring that what we send out there, in blogs, in books, in guest posts, in emails, is truthful and honest. What happens after it leaves our hands, we should leave in God’s hands.
When you encounter negative posts about you or your work – and you will! – remember not to take those comments to heart.
A freelance writer and editor, Sarah Hamaker’s stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her nonfiction book, Ending Sibling Rivalry, will be published by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City in October 2014. She is currently working on a suspense novel. Visit her online at www.sarahhamaker.com.