Dear Preston: The Comments On Social Media Are Hurting Me
February 3, 2015
Last month, I did a wedding and showcased what I believed to be the best floral decoration I have ever done. I was so proud of my work and even more thrilled that my client loved my design. A week later, someone posted photos of the design and it was met with the worst comments ever. Some commenters said that it looked like flowers for a funeral and that I should give up wedding and focus on funerals from now on. I was so hurt by this that I could hardly get out of bed. How do you deal with the negatibe responses of those on social media. Why are people so mean?
Welcome to the evil side of social media. Your letter reminded me of a bit of a vulgar saying that I once overheard. “Opinions are like a…holes; everyone has one.” Hurt, I understand where you are coming from and I know many others do as well. None of us are immune to hateful comments from the peanut gallery. Someone once commented that my work was so over-the-top that I should just die. Now, I certainly do not have to recite the many positive sides of social media. I am the first to admit that whenever I read a positive message or review on my Facebook or Instagram pages, it makes my day. As artists, we seek validation. That said, we must be very careful in how much power we give to the opinions of others, especially in terms of valuing our work and ourselves.
If you read my blog, I often encourage my readers to share their negative opinions as often as their positive ones. I will say that I have learned a great deal by these often great suggestions. But there is a big difference in making a suggestion or observation and being vicious. Hurt, if you look closely, you can tell a lot about the poster by his or her statements. I can tell when comments are made by a jealous, mean and frustrated person. These individuals log on with the goal to make you feel small.
Please remember that, ultimately, the only comment that truly matters is the one from your happy client. Please continue to do the work you LOVE and forget all about these evil people. Those who cannot build one another up and support one another are in a very sad state, indeed.
Question: How do you all feel about people who write hurtful comments on social media? Have you ever been a victim of this kind of commentary? If so, please share your story with us.