Now you’ve done it. You’ve published a written something and have encountered the inevitable negative comment. Maybe it’s personal or riddled with accusatory language or, simply put, horribly rude. Either way, a complete stranger in a strange land, made known to you only through the magic of the interwebs, doesn’t agree with the something you’ve written and they want to make it known.
And you’re, for whatever reason, allowing it to bother you.
Stop. Cease the now-snowballing emotional reverberation of a hard-lined society and slowly repeat these eight truths you either need to realize, or have realized and subsequently forgotten. I promise, you’ll make it out alive.
1. Having a firm and extensive understanding of how the internet works, you’re already a willing participant and, therefore, have opened yourself up to its scrutiny. You aren’t above it or below it and unless you’re acutely aware of the choice you’ve already made, you won’t get through it.
2. Having a firm and extensive understanding of how humanity works, you’re already aware that individuals think differently. Not everyone is going to agree with everything you write, or how you write it or why you write it or where you write it. It’s science.
3. Know this: the moment that final period was typed on that final sentence and that final draft was sent to that final editor, that piece was no longer yours. You relinquished sole interpretation and therefore acknowledge the readers’ right to take your words as their own. They’ll mold them and shape them and digest them as they see fit, according to the lives they’ve lived, and there’s an extensive possibility those lives are very different from your own. Welcome to the English language.
4. Whatever personal attack you believe you’re experiencing is actually anything but personal. Just like the individual commenting knows nothing about you, you know absolutely nothing about them. Whatever they’re saying, as painful as it may be, is nothing but a reflection of the unhappiness they’re feeling within themselves. Displaced pain and anguish is to blame for their endless trolling, not you. Sure, you can make assumptions and conclusions and glorified guesses about the individual who seems to inexplicably hate you, but you don’t know shit.
5. If the aforementioned person is unequivocally happy, and the whole “displaced pain” theory is a load of bullshit, and your writing really is the source of their anger instead of some deep-seeded ectopic pain: so what? They can make assumptions and conclusions and glorified guesses about you, but they don’t know shit.
6. While cat videos and hot dog gifs and excessive memes prove otherwise, the internet is a thinking machine. If you’ve created, and then managed to publish, a piece of work that evokes not only cognitive thought but opinionated action: you’re doing it right.
7. You can’t dictate what those cognitive thoughts or opinionated actions will be. See #2 and #3. Again.
8. For every negative comment you inevitably encounter, at least two positive comments will follow. You’ll move people to gratitude as well as grief, peace as well as pain, understanding as well as intolerance. This horrid comment, as personal and accusatory and rude as it may be, will soon be nothing but an afterthought when you read its completed counterpart.
And on the off-chance none of the previously articulated truths have helped, stop. Cease the now-snowballing emotional reverberation of a hard-lined society, slowly pour yourself a glass of whiskey, and calm down. You’ve published a written something.
Now you’ve done it.