I had kind of a shitty week last week. Actually, no, it just ended on a shitty note. I published something that many people loved, but that some people hated. This tends to happen when you throw around the F-bomb. I’m actually okay with that – with some people not digging my stuff. My work tends to attract a certain crowd and turn off a certain crowd.
What I’m NOT okay with is an encounter I had with a raging, malicious hater.
This person sought me out specifically for a personal attack. What he said to me goes beyond the usual criticisms and disses you get when you share your work. It was pointed, personal, and intentionally offensive (which is probably why he contacted me directly), and I’m not going to repeat it here.
Haters gonna hate. I get it. I’m not new to criticism. I don’t even think I’m more sensitive than most, but that encounter left me unhinged. It ruined the rest of my day and even some of the day after.
Every time I see someone rant about haters, in a tweet or Facebook post, I always think to myself, Dude, why focus on it? You’re giving them too much power. Just forget about it. But now I get it. Those really bad run-ins? The intentionally hateful encounters? That shit gets to you.
I had a hard time with my hater incident, and with a little distance from it I finally figured out why: it’s because I told myself I shouldn’t care.
This was just some random asshole, a troll looking for a fight, so I told myself I shouldn’t care. This belief – the belief that I shouldn’t care – was something I thought should make me feel better, but it actually made me feel worse. I thought there was something wrong with me for caring, for being hurt. That’s what did me in.
Not only did I have an asshole lashing out at me, but I judged myself for having a totally natural reaction to it, which was to feel hurt. Had I accepted my feelings about it I could have just had a little cry and been done with it. Instead, I labeled myself a nut job and told myself to toughen the hell up. Not helpful.
Foul-mouthed and brazen though I am, there is still a part of me that is a sensitive little flower, and that part of me just needed a hug. It needed to know that it was okay to not feel okay, to hear the words, Oh honey, someone was just really mean to you. Of course your feelings are hurt.
The very minute I realized this I felt better. I thought to myself, Oh, I’m not an oversensitive whack job after all. I’m just…human. Huh.
Work is personal. So is business. Especially if your business is a one woman (or man) show, like mine. If you have a run-in with a particularly mean-spirited hater your feelings are likely to get hurt. Seems obvious, but it was a revelation to me.
So here’s to feeling our feelings, even when we thing they’re the wrong ones, to being a little softer, a little kinder to ourselves…even at work.