On Negativity and Criticism

This is something that is bothering me like no other.

Over the past few days, I have been seeing a number of posts from bloggers – saying that they are overwhelmed by the negative criticism that is being received through comments on their blogs.

What ever happened to – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

That is how I feel.

I know that being open and honest in the blogging community opens you up to a world of criticism.

And I also feel like it is SO easy to SAY .. take each comment with a grain of salt; let it roll of your shoulders.. don’t let it bother you.

I’ve said that too. But like many other things in life – this is MUCH easier said then done.

Criticism – negativity – are the exact type of self talk that can bury us deep in a hole; a hole that feel captive – with no escape.

We recognize t – we blog about the negative effects of fat talk.. distorted body images.  We talk about how important it is to learn to love ourselves.. to accept ourselves.

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So, why is it … that in a community that so strongly believes in acceptance, support, and encouragement – there are individuals that find the need to openly criticize, judge, and evaluate others.

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Each blogger – though stories are unique – has fought some sort of battle.. has traveled on a journey – to get to where they are today.  I mean.. life is a journey, after all – isn’t it?  The stories that I read – the blogs that I follow on a daily basis (more and more every day) are nothing short of inspirational and motivational – in their own special way.  On the journeys – and in each batle – there are bumps in the road, times of defeat – remorse, sadness, struggle.

To me – it is these struggles – imperfections if you may – that MAKE the blog world what it is.  That makes each blogger who they are.  That bring together a community of people – to support one another in times of hardship – and to celebrate momentous occasions.

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So why the need for negativity?  For the “Negative Nancy”s; “Judging Judy”s; “Critical Karen”s?

I feel that EVERYONE is vulnerable to the effects of explicit critiques – negative feedback.  Even the most confident person in the world will feel a little bit of a blow to their self-esteem if someone comments on not liking a hair-do .. or an outfit of a blogger (yes, I have seen comments noting this).

Even the person who is strong enough to overcome an ED, courageous enough to blog about it – and is working hard on their path to recovery – will feel a pierce in their heart when someone says – you exercise too much – you eat too little – there is not enough variety in your foods.

And yes – the person with a rightfully earned weight loss.. who has worked hard for months – even years – to keep that weight off.. will feel that burning sensation inside their stomach.. if – after a wooful weekend.. or a splurge weekend because.. (YOU DESERVE IT..) their is backlash in the comment section.

So – here is where I am confused. WHY do people feel it necessary to critque the lifestyles of others?  No – we are NOT always going to agree with what others post.

What should you do? In my opinion… move on to the next blog.. and read it – find something to celebrate.

Obviously – if there is serious concern for a true blogger friend.. then something needs to be done. But – there are mature and appropriate ways of expressing your concern.  In my opinion – this should not be done ON BLAST through public comments.

No one is made of stone. And we should not act like we are made of stone. Words can hurt. Words remain in our mind.. long after they are spoken.. long after they are typed.

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This community is FULL of supportive people. I know that those read my blog regularly .. are NOTHING but supportive. Sadly – this is not the case all over blog world.

I have been blessed to have great support since I have started this blog – only a few negative Nancy’s passing through.

To me.. beauty is found in IMPREFECTIONS.  I would not – in a million years.. wish to be perfect.

Every battle I have fought.. wrong decision I have made; tear that I have cried, and occasion that I have celebrated… has made me WHO I AM.

Mistakes – there have been many?  Regrets – very few. It is within the scars that remain from the hard times – combined with the life that is exploding from my soul – that I find my beauty – and my purpose.

If you don’t like my scars.. my mistakes.. if you think maybe I should be regretful – then that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

But in MY humble opinion.. you should keep that to yourself.

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54 responses to “On Negativity and Criticism

  1. Love this! I totally agree – didn’t these people ever learn “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”?!

  2. I agree! It takes a lot of time, effort, and guts to put yourself out there – especially on the internet! I think the positives of being a part of this community outweigh the negatives.

  3. Well said! We bloggers should see each other as a team–supporting and encouraging one another. We all have struggles, issues, and quirks and that is what makes us unique.

  4. This is a great, sincere post. I completely agree that bloggers and readers should only write something that is about the post, and not negative. It’s really not necessary to be mean or give “tough love” for no reason. For me, my recovery from disordered eating as been so much easier because of the amazing support I receive from this community. I really don’t like the idea of people making snide comments

  5. Cait,
    Thank you for putting this out there… I have such a hard time understanding why… why people have to act this way. I agree we should support each other and lift each other up… It really is so so easy to smile and say something nice… I have been so blessed in the blogging world so far.. I continue to meet amazing kind people… and I continue to try touch people each day! I enjoy reading your thoughts everyday and I hope you will continue being you… YOU ROCK!

  6. you stated everything perfectly! it is sad that often times people will make themselves feel better by tearing into someone else…but that’s not fair and in the end only leaves others hurt. i think when it comes to people who make a comment to a blogger like, “you look unhealthy” or “you’re not doing such and such right” we’ve got to think about their intention. they may say it’s out of true concern and care, well, there are constructive ways to express that care. but really, it’s not really their place…not on a blog comment section. people saying things negatively and with only a malicious intent should just go read something else. i’m with you on all you’ve stated, i enjoy reading your posts because they are positive and you have an eloquent way with words…keep it up!

  7. I completely agree, I got a horrendously nasty comment at the weekend. Luckily in some ways it was just so plainly nasty I knew all it had been left for was to deliberately hurt me. I actually felt very sorry for the person who left it, they must have so little love in their lives to be driven to attempt to bring others down like that. You are so right when you say that we are all on our own journeys, I think there’s a difference between comments that show concern and comments that are just plain nasty. Great post!

  8. This was a great post, and something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, as well. I don’t understand why people feel like it’s their place to criticize and accuse… especially when they don’t know the whole story. I’ve recovered from an ED myself, and I wanted to blog about it to show others that it’s possible to overcome something like that and be healthy, but I always worry that someone is gonna look at the way I eat or exercise and accuse me of still clinging to my disorder. It’s like having had an ED pretty much labels you for life in the eyes of others, and it shouldn’t be that way. I see a lot of people doing some pretty unhealthy things around the blog world, but I’d never think of outright accusing them of anything. If I was really concerned, I’d probably just send them a private e-mail and offer support rather than criticism.

    • Agree with you 100%. Public ridicule and criticism.. like REALLY public..is just not right!! I think that email concerns should be from people who are regular readers too.. not someone who is just passing through.. and doesn’t know the whole story. It is too easy to judge a book by its cover in that sense!

  9. I haven’t been affected by this, but it’s so sad to hear what is happening. I totally agree that if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all! I think everyone should support one another because I know there are lots of bloggers out there going through hard times and are in need of some support!

  10. you are wonderful!!! This post is amazing. I wish more people could see this! I completely agree with the if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it at all. it’s so true.

  11. well done! blogging is a way to express yourself and you can’t help who stops by to be a part of the ride. if you don’t agree with what you read, move on to the next blog instead of blasting negative energy into someones (and the readers) day!

  12. wow great great post!! I really agree that there is no need to be harsh if we “truly and genuinely care for others”. Sure, we should take everything others say lightly–but the power of the tongue is what destroys people! It’s exactly what I’m meditating on today actually 😀 Thank you for this and your bold words girl~btw! love the new layout! 😀

  13. Well said Cait!! It’s so true that harsh words can really sting; especially after you’ve opened up your heart and soul! Critique on hair dos and outfits…that isn’t criticism that is just plain nastiness. I love receiving and spreading positivity and support to my bloggie friends and if someone posts something I can’t really relate to, I read it and move on. I guess we need to focus on all the fabulous friends we have and leave those negative nellies in the dust!! I love all my fab followers and their comments are what warm my ❤ every single day 🙂 You're one of them girl and I hope I spread some positivity and bloggie love your way too!!

    • You always spread positivity to me girl! Fortunately, I have not been a victim of that harsh comments – but I’ve been seeing more and more of it.. maybe it the changing of the weather that is making negativity so strong in the blogosphere!

  14. Love thiis, totally agree! As a new blogger, I haven’t yet received a nasty comment. I actually wrote a post today that’s kinda raw though about my thoughts on the first month of blogging. Wouldn’t be surprised if something negative comes through on it. Haters can hate, whatever! 😉

  15. THANK YOU!! While it terrifies me to receive negative comments, I haven’t gotten any yet. I mostly attribute this to the fact that nobody really reads my little blog.
    When I read other peoples blogs I can honestly say I would never dream of being critical. Its so funny to care so deeply about people you have never met, but I feel like we are all friends or at least have a deep bond because we are all part of this community. I agree with the “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” mentality, 100%! This post is so incredibly well written, thanks again for addressing this topic perfectly!

    • Thank you so much Leanne. I am SO taken back by the number of comments.. and the thoughtfulness that is going into each one. I am fortunateenough to have only received one sneed comment. But it did burn a little but.

      The amazing thing was.. EVERY ONE of my supporters had my back!

  16. YAY! This post is amazing and perfectly worded. Really. I love you for it! You said exactly what I believe A LOT of bloggers feel! I have never personally gotten a lot of rude comments on my blog but you are right, it hurts when people say these things but you are also right when you say that these struggles make you who you are! 🙂

    Awesome job!

  17. I’m actually shocked I don’t get MORE negative comments. I’ve had a few backhanded ones, but for the most people people are positive… which is a huge help when you compete!

  18. It’s easier to say things via the Internet than face to face, and people really abuse that some times. I’m so happy to have not had negative comments… yet.

  19. Ahh thankyou so soo much. What bugs me is that the people getting the negative comments are being purely honest with what they do or eat or what they are going through in life and that takes someone really brave to do that. Meanwhile their are other bloggers ‘masking’ as healthy living blogs who aren’t honest with themselves about their realistically unhealthy lifestyle and may have an eating disorder in disguise and they get all the praise, millions of readers and make money from blogging.
    People negatively commenting are only doing so because they have their own problems in my opinion and instead of fixing their lives, they’re too busy picking up on other bits of other people’s lives that they think are disordered. I also think that they should remember that we are all individual and have different needs and requirements so they just cannot compare what is healthy for them and what is healthy for someone else.

    • What an awesome comment, Nicky. Great words.. andI agree with them all 100%

      Negativity often comes from our own insecurities.. and short comings. Saying something snide.. can make those people feel better about themselves.

  20. There will ALWAYS be those who wish to attack you and they’re not worth the attention. Their comments are painful to read, but they really don’t mean anything. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and if they have nothing positive to say, then that’s a reflection on them, not us. Stay positive, you’re amazing no matter what some lame person might have to say.

    • Fortunately – I have not had the negativity in my blog. I am just voicing my opinions about the blog world in general.. as I have been seeing some of my favorite bloggers struggle with the constant bashing!

  21. I cannot agree with you more on this. I have been kind of appaled by all the negativity lately – however, in the same respect, there are always going to be people who try to tear others down!

  22. Omg yes I’ve been hearing so many of my lovely bloggers friends talking about negative criticism on their blogs and I don’t know where it’s all coming from. I would never be disrespectful to someone like that. People need to accept others

  23. Love this post. I see no reason for bloggers to receive negative criticism from anyone, about anything, unless I suppose they’re slandering another or sharing widely known as untrue information or something. I love to read certain blogger’s blogs because they’re real, relate able, and they inspire me. Other blogs, I don’t have such connection to, so I don’t frequent as much. Basically though, I feel like criticizing someone you don’t know about a situation that you probably don’t have all of the facts to is disrespectful and rude. You hit the nail on the head Cait – if people don’t have anything nice to say, then they shouldn’t say anything. Great post & happy Thursday!

  24. I think, unfortunately, that it’s a lot easier to criticize people that you don’t know. While there is definitely a sense of camaraderie and “bloggerhood” on a lot of sites, I think not knowing someone personally creates a disconnect, which can lead to unnecessary bluntness. There is a definite difference between people being concerned or helpful and downright rude and disrespectful. Good message.

  25. So true! I am so sad to see how much negative criticism some of my favorite bloggers have been getting. I don’t have very many readers so I escape it for the most part.

    I hope that people can shake it off and realize that the mean comments are usually said in spite or jealousy.

  26. I LOVE this! I often wonder why people waste time writing negative comments on people’s blogs. I totally understand that we put ourselves out there and that criticism can be expected, but I think some take it too far. It is one thing to have a differing opinion on something or to disagree with a topic, but there is never a reason to be downright rude or hurtful. 😦

  27. Great post! I felt led to leave this comment for you… I have gone through the same thing, as I used to be a really popular diet blogger. I’d often get really negative comments. Over time I came to see a pattern: everything that those negative bloggers would say to me and/or about me (elsewhere on the ‘net) were the same things that I’ve said to myself at one time or another. So in reality they were reflecting some of my own inner thoughts – most of the ones I tried to ignore. That’s one of the gifts of being a blogger – you learn a lot about yourself, your own thinking, by listening to what others say to you.

    Keep up the great job, your blog is really positive and fun to read! 🙂

  28. I’m so glad you posted about this, Caitlin! I’m totally with you on not understanding why some people feel the need to criticize — as if they lead these perfect lives. It’s hard to put ourselves out there on our blogs, and those of us who do it in the right spirit (definitely you!!!) should be commended for honesty and positive attitude towards healthy living. You’re awesome. Keep it up!

  29. I completely agree! Thanks for a great post. I agree with your first statement- if you don’t have anything nice to stay, then don’t say anything at all. I feel that if you have something negative to say that is not constructive then why bother commenting? You choose to read the blogs you do….if you don’t like go elsewhere. I really admire you and others who are very upfront and sincere on their blogs.

  30. I guess what I don’t understand…is if you don’t like what someone posts…why not just NOT comment? Like you’re putting the effort to type out a nasty comment…that just makes it more horrible!!! You are great girl!!

  31. Such a great post Cait! I have to say I have been lucky not to have encountered too much criticism from strangers who are readers and fellow bloggers. My problem is dealing with my in laws who only read from time to time. I really have a thin skin about it because they’re supposed to be family, and in my mind family = supportive. Sigh.

    You said it so well, we’ve all made mistakes and will continue to do so. But life is a journey and we have such a wonderful community amongst fellow bloggers in which we can share our experiences and garner support.

    Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  32. What a great post! its such a hard thing to really open up and put ypourself out there on the internet… knowing good and well, you could be judged and critisized for it! I’ve even seen other bloggers being bashed in the comment section of a DIFFERENT blog than their own! Sometimes I think its jeaalousy, sometimes I think ppl just don’t have manners/respect. Or maybe ppl ‘forget’ their is a real person w/ feelings behind the computer screen! Whatever it is, thanks for bringing it up and reminding ppl to be a little more thoughtful in their choice of words 🙂

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  34. Really great post! Being new to the blogging world I haven’t received any negative comments yet… not to my face anyways! 🙂 But i’m sure (hopefully not) in time there will be a few. I really can’t understand how people don’t get the ‘if you have nothing nice to say then SAY NOTHING AT ALL!’ Like you said people have had their own struggles and still have the courage to move forwards, the blogging community is about celebrating this and supporting each move. Were all human and none of us are perfect, again like you said, it’s a journey. Who on earth do these people think they are!?!

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