Combating Negativity

• 23 September 2010
























I recently stumbled upon a post that sounded interesting initially, but actually grew quite ugly as it went on...and then there were the comments. This experience made me ponder the subject of negativity, and why we can be so down on others at times. Since when did anyone feel better after putting down others? One of the characteristics I most admire about a person is his or her ability to be happy for others...always...despite what is going on in their own life. It's so admirable, so noble, to be in a place where you constantly think of others and are happy for their successes.

What about you? What is the quality you admire the most in a person? What do you do to combat negativity in the blog world?

Update/Caveat: I am by no means insinuating that it's bad to never be grouchy or to have a bad day. This morning, in fact, I felt quite cranky after my sleepless night with our newborn. Sometimes you just have those kinds of days! The negativity I am referring to above dealt with people who left comments on a post that were personally attacking. Style preferences, blog management, parenting methods, and even people's religious faith were targeted. The kinds of comments left were those you think adults have already risen above.

image via Sundance

30 comments:

J and Company said...

This is a tough one. To me it is still hard to believe that people go out of their way to be so ugly at times, often to those they don't know. I guess there will always be those that are so unhappy in their own circumstances that their unhappiness spills out in ugly jealous or superior ways. I think the only way to get around it in the blog world is to simply ignore it and rise above it. It's a great topic to ponder on.

HumbuckerChapell said...

I struggle with this as well- especially when it is coming from people I know. I just stop looking- it is like a car wreck sometimes that you can't look away from but I force myself to.

country girl said...

This quote always uplifts me:

"Let every virtue in you blossom;
Let every hidden good quality shine forth."
-Gurumayi

Hope it uplifts your spirit, too, and inspires!

xo dawn

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you brought this up. It is so hard to understand why people feel the need to be so nasty. I actually don't write a blog or share my thoughts because I'm so sensitive to negative comments that I'm afraid my writing will be scoffed at and I won't be able to handle it well. I wish I knew how to combat negativity.

Karen Torres D'Amico said...

For me, there is always a way to turn a phrase to move a conversation toward positivity. With all of the available media options, negativity has a large stage of it's own. In fact, my best friend and I had this same conversation regarding negative status reports on Facebook in particular...lots of sadness out there! I guess the best way to get above it would be to lead by example---accentuate the positive!

Amusing Pursuits said...

I think the culture of everyone's a critic can often lead to the kind of knee-jerk acid-tongued commentary that appear online and can pepper so many blog comments sections. I totally agree with J and Company that often what leads to this Negative Nancy attitude is personal insecurity or unhappiness with their own situation.

I find when I read something online that I totally disagree with or think is less than stellar, I always try to assume the best bout the person rather than automatically assuming the worst.

Julie Pia said...

What a great topic Steph!

I'm continually disappointed in people around me because of this very subject. I guess at the end of the day, the only person I'm really in control of is myself.

If we could all be in control of our actions, stay positive, have an open mind and choose to be selfless, the world would certainly be a better place.

Wouldn't that be great! I also LOVE the quote Country Girl left about Virtue. I'm definitely taking that to heart!

Thanks girl!

Kelly and Kelly said...

i ignore it and try not to read it. hard!

Anonymous said...

I saw a quote on a website: Be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle. I try to remember this.

It has been a tough year for my family and the negative thoughts creep in. I try to keep them to myself and keep the faith that things will turn around.

It seems like life has become more of a competition than something to be enjoyed. (jobs, houses, things)

Anonymous said...

I saw a quote on a website: Be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle. I try to remember this.

It has been a tough year for my family and the negative thoughts creep in. I try to keep them to myself and keep the faith that things will turn around.

It seems like life has become more of a competition than something to be enjoyed. (jobs, houses, things)

Mary said...

Optimism and positive thinking are definitely two of the most inspiring traits a person can have, and I really try to surround myself with people who have them. Being a natural pessimist myself, I constantly battle the urge to be negative by focusing on the positives. It's actually one of the reasons I started blogging to begin with - my blog is a sort of a gratitude journal, where I can think only about happy and positive things. So that's how I combat the negativity in myself. In others? Well, that's harder, but really staying away from it is the best.

Abby - Bright Yellow World said...

I've been "marking as read" a lot more lately, if I come across a negative post. I also refuse to read the comments if a post seems incendiary. I also have five or six "feel good" blogs that are my go-to sources for positivity, joy, or laughter.

stephanie said...

I recently found your blog (and I can't remember how...) and I love it.

I think that people get nasty and say mean things on blogs for the same reasons that kids are mean to other kids at school; they want to make themselves feel better. Even if it's a trained behavior from how they were treated at home, it still on some level makes them feel good. Which is terribly sad. People should feel good about themselves without having to put others down to feel that way. When I see stuff like that on blogs or in comments, I almost shake my head in pity because the person that wrote it must be so miserable in their life and in their head. It's a shame.

gvide said...

You've handled that so well. I coudn't agree more. In fact, am realizing that as I mature how good it avoid negative people. (easier said that done because positive people with energy seem to attract those in need) I don't have a blog and although I have contemplated it, the idea of someone black clouding something I'm sincere about would really bother me.

The song "Make Some one Happy" is one of my life-tracks --- the world is just such a better place when we see and experience the good in others.

I hope you receive more blog specific advise, but until then, surround yourself with positive people and ignore the bad. I certainly enjoy your blog -- even more today when I see your style. Keep going! gvide

lindsay marie said...

I think I know which post you are talking about (all the things the person hates about current design blogs/mags?) and the commments! I agree with you... it was so negative. I love your blog because it has such a light, fun, positive vibe. I try and fill my days with beautiful and happy things, not dark and negative (which is why I read YOUR blog!)

marian said...

I've made one negative blog comment in my life and I still feel badly about it and wish I could go back and make a less selfish choice. There is no satisfaction, let alone joy, in meanness, criticism, condescension, or pride. To be at peace with our fellows is priceless.

wakako said...

I try to look for happier blogs, posts..., something that brightens my day instead of the ones that cloud my soul.

Your blog is one of thoes happy one that I look forward to reading:)

I hope you feel better...

the emily said...

I refuse to allow myself to be surrounded by negativity. If women want to be petty and put each other down, that's their business, but I won't take part. I don't read negative blogs and I don't befriend negative people, because it's too easy for them to bring me down as well. When I started high school I was really nervous. Two of my older sisters said, "Just be nice to everyone, and don't talk behind ANYBODY'S back, ever." I still live by those words. Just be nice! It's not that hard.

Marilyn said...

Stephanie, I really appreciate this post and the comments that have been made. I will never understand negativity. Ever. It just doesn't make sense to me.

I personally try to read only positive, uplifting blog entries, the second it starts to go sour, I split. And I generally try to avoid reading comments because unfortunately, so many in our society lack decency and kindness.

I am grateful to have blogs like yours to read which teach, uplift, and inspire. Keep up the great work.

KJ said...

I don't frequent blogs or websites that are hurtful to others or too heavy with sarcasm. Guilty of some sarcasm in my own life, for sure, but I don't need to feed it by deliberately putting bitterness in front of me. A blog is someone's own space in the web universe, so if I can't say something nice about their words, I don't say anything at all. Really mean to leave snarky comments on someone else's page. I just seek for things that make me happy or peaceful.

kalanicut said...

As soon as I read your first couple of sentences I also had an immediate sense that I knew of what you were speaking. Still bothered by what I read last week.

This seriously just came to me as I am typing, but I have a feeling that when a person tries to live a good,positive and generous life, for every one negative lob there are at least 100 good things said.

We should attach ourselves firmly to those sentiments and remove ourselves from the dirty, ugly, uneducated world of negativity and smallness. The best medicine is to think good and do good. That always removes the negativity from our souls and refuels us with love.

At the same time, I think it is very important to stand up and point out what we are seeing and how it is inappropriate, unjust and undeserved. Kind people often let bad behavior flourish because we are unwilling to risk further vulnerability by standing up for good.

I only have a few long-term regrets in my life and they are from times when I did not stand up and say, "this is wrong and you need to stop NOW" only because I was afraid. In truth, I'd rather be respected than liked, but amazingly when you go for respected you usually get like even when people disagree with you.

Nicole said...

My mom likes to say, "Make excuses for everyone but yourself." Wish I were better about living by that motto. It's lovely.

lynne said...

Oh, this is so hard! I think it's just hard to be human! We get so grumpy sometimes. My favorite, favorite quote ever is the one from Marvin J. Ashton (sorry it's long, but I love every word):

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other."

The Peach.... said...

Blogs are tricky, they sometimes seem like a void in space where whatever we say will just disappear....but it doesn't. I learned that the hard way, too, after posting an "iffy" post on my blog that really hurt someones feelings. Oh, how I wish I could take it back. ....
As far as negative comments on blogs, I think there is always a WAY to say something nice and reconstruct a phrase to be non-threatening.
Good thoughts...and PS...anyone is grumpy after so many sleepless nights with a newborn! :)

emmaproctor said...

i really admire women who appear to be at peace with themselves and their lives. i think that the more satisfied we are with ourselves, the less temptation there is to put others down.

i am always shocked at how ruthlessly people feel that they can comment on people's blogs.

Jennifer said...

I saw that post and read the ugly comments, sigh. Not going back there that's for sure. I love the beautiful space you create in your blog and find it refreshing and inspiring. Don't let the negativity get you down.

Anonymous said...

"Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success."
- Oscar Wilde
Often blogs bring out people's competitive spirit for some reason, and they tend to want to cut one another down in order to feel better about themselves.

casey said...

hi lovely steph. i don't understand the negativity in the blog world. there seems to be a lot of it. maybe it's because commenters are behind a computer they feel brazen to hit publish before filtering their words. it's likely they wouldn't say such things in person. i think the reason to read a blog is because of like, not dislike. i barely have time to read the blogs with content i love. the last thing i want to do is read someone's blog i don't truly love and become upset enough to leave a negative comment about a post i disagree with.

Stephanie said...

You guys are amazing. There is so much wisdom in all of these comments. I love all your profound advice and excellent quotes. You've given me a lot to ponder. Thank you!

Nutbird said...

Emails seem to intensify the content. Is that even a word? What you write in an email seems to be received at 150% of volume. Also, emails seem to reinforce your personality quite a bit. If you are basically really nice, it is amplified. If you are snarky, you are snarkier. If you are basically mean and snide and yes, jealous, these traits really show up in Capitol Letters. A lot of bloggers are content and happy with their lives. Some are so thrilled to be married and have babies that they want the whole world to share their joy. Some are so surprised that the little project they made turned out so well they want to show it off. Some have been encouraged by their religious leaders to blog and give glory to Christ the King. Some want to make a little money to help out with their homeschooling projects, and other things. Other people want to show off their critical writing skills and superior tastes. Some need to blog to relieve the pain of ill health or heartache. In a way, reading blogs is like watching TV. We don't have to watch Jersey Shore, Rock of Love, or the sweeter shows like ......I am at a loss....Bueller, Bueller? (Ferris Bueller reference). So let's ignore the popular kids and don't read their blogs.
I am turned off by all the religious references. I am a "cradle Catholic" that was taught in school to "become more Christ-like everyday." I believe in a loving God that instituted free will and does not have a plan for everyone. That would be predestination. I have compassion, especially for those that make fun of design trends they cannot afford and houses they cannot own. Their blogs might be their only outlet.
I am also fascinated by all the Mormon authored blogs. I have studied the history of the religion, and live in a town in the east that has many famous Mormon residents. My husband's mother grew up in the RLDS church. (I know, it is different.) I guess many people are amazed at their zest for life, wholesome lifestyle, many children, lack of complaints, and work ethic. Gee, starts to sound like New Englanders. So, because they don't understand it, and are jealous of their peace and calm, they make fun of them. I would hope that those bloggers that have the Temple in Salt Lake City ( button?) on their blog could help us to understand more about their beliefs. Have I embarrassed myself enough? Ignore these bloggers , and remember : Hakuna Matata: the circle of life, no one remains unscathed. Ann

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