You know you’ve made it when you get your first piece of “hate” mail. I didn’t always believe this. In fact, I was once so naïve that I shuddered at the mere thought of someone having those sorts of feelings toward me.
Everyone likes me, I once thought. What’s not to like? What’s not to love?
Apparently, that’s not the case. It seems not everyone does like me. It was a jolting awakening, but one I desperately needed. Some say that the only true measure of your words or actions can only be reflected, not in all the praise and accolades you receive, but in the “anger” you incite in others over said words or actions. I know, it sounds bad, and yet, lately, I’ve been wondering: Don’t we all need a little “hate” thrown our way every now and then to really feel the “love”?
Let me explain.
I received my first piece of hate mail a few months ago via my lovely blog. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a wee bit; the comment left by a reader wasn’t exactly hateful or spiteful, but it was obvious from the choice wording (which I won’t repeat because I’m a lady, after all) that he (or she? The ‘person’ didn’t even sign a name) wasn’t too happy with my recent musings. At first, I was steaming mad. But with time – and a glass of Coca-Cola – I’ve calmed down and can see this as an opportunity for growth, both as a writer and as a person who once thought of herself as just a humble girl from the Midwest.
Now, I don’t even remember the topic I was writing about that this person didn’t approve of, but maybe that’s not really important. Too often, we get to a point where we begin to think we’re infallible – first as whimsy teens and then as all-knowing twenty-somethings. And apparently in my mother’s case, there’s also a resurgence of this trend in one’s early 50s. We like to think we have everything – all this life stuff – figured out. We’ve got it down to a science, and we begin to think there’s nothing we can’t do, solve or make better.
Yet, not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to like every single thing that you do. And yes, believe it or not, not everyone has to in the first place. It’s not an amendment of the Constitution: Thou Shalt Like Everyone Forever. Sometimes, people simply don’t like you – or your writing – and frankly, there is nothing you can do about it.
So even though we may curse these little wake-up calls in the form of not-so-nice words, we need to hear them, whether we want to or not. Because in the end, it’s not only all the love in the world that makes us better, stronger people. It’s also the “friendly” suggestions along the way that help us stop this roller coaster we’ve put ourselves on and say, “Wait, maybe I need to re-examine some things.”
Certain people probably don’t want to hear this, but even though you may hate me, know that I do love you. You’ve helped me come down a notch or two from my self-imposed pedestal. I really should be grateful to you because as we all know, falling from such a height could be very dangerous, maybe even deadly So, really, you saved my life. Thank you.