A friend of mine texted me yesterday and asked me if I write my blog at a specific time every day. “No,” I responded. “I write when I’m inspired to write.”
I want to share my experience at the Propel Women’s conference, but I’m inspired to share something else today..
Often times, my job consists of dealing with angry people (something I’m very good at). I enjoy this part of my job because most of the time, I can help change the vibration of a situation and offer the angry person a surprise or a smile or a gentle shove towards the exit door because my goal is always to seek my own peace and happiness. Yesterday, in response to an entirely free offer, someone sent this to one of my clients:
I find it interesting that you make two really big assumptions right from the start..Your fundamental flaw…….Why your way doesn’t work. I find it a turnoff that the language you are using assumes all this to necessarily be true. Perhaps a more positive use of language such as how to improve the success of your work, or some other way of saying that would be way more inspiring.
Not the most well-written email, but you can see the point was to suggest my client use more positive language in her attempt to solve a problem and meet a need for her clients.
If you knew this client, you’d know she is possibly the most positive, attentive, life-giving, well-intended woman on the planet.
So, she forwarded the email to me because she was so flabbergasted that anyone could find her to be negative, she couldn’t even respond. I wrote back:
Thank you so much or that feedback, Name. Each time we re-write or improve a section of our work, we take this kind of input into consideration. Without it, we can’t grow! We will try to use more positive language in future versions.
Now, I could have responded like this:
The language you are using to point out this perceived negative language is, in fact, rather negative; which leads me to believe the common denominator in all of this negativity is you. Those coming to this site and choosing to participate in this FREE offering are doing so because something isn’t working for them, so to speak to them as though something isn’t working is only to validate their feeling that they are in the right place and that we want to serve them and hopefully improve their situation. Your feedback highlights to me that you didn’t resonate with (or perhaps didn’t even read) any of the material because you are far more interested in finding problems than in solving them. When and if that point of attraction changes, we would love to work with you.
That second email…that felt fun to write. It felt righteous and well-stated and hilariously ironic in its tone. The person reading it would have probably felt belittled at best, revengeful at worst. The email string would have gone on and on, trading bitchy (yet proper) issues raised with the other until someone finally ended an email with “Good Day” and we all went off and talked to our friends about how right we were.
Here’s one I fielded on behalf of another client not long ago:
I fucking hate this newsletter and I hope you die or kill yourself.
There is an unsubscribe button at the bottom of every newsletter. I do hope you can find that button and click it, soon!
A little more cheeky of a response, but warranted, no? Of course, I wanted to say:
I cannot imagine what your life must be like that you have the time and the energy to produce so much hate for a digital file sent directly to the computer in your home, free of charge, using technology that wasn’t even available 10 years ago in the way that it is now. I would like to suggest that you not only unsubscribe from this newsletter but that you also seek counseling; it doesn’t even have to be professional. Just talk to ANYONE about what’s really bothering you and try to get to the root of it.
It terrifies me to think what you say to the mailman the day the local circular comes out.
I spent years using my wit and intelligence to destroy people with words. I was good at it, too. It was pretty rare someone could top me. There was a superiority that came along with it and, for a good long while, it made me feel better.
Until it didn’t.
I don’t know if I grew up or matured or just got tired of five dollar words, but I would so much rather mind my own business now than I would getting all spun up in someone else’s baggage. If you cannot speak to me kindly, I can speak to you kindly but I can also walk away. If you cannot be constructive, I can be and I can move towards people who have a greater tendency to BE constructive. If you aren’t respectful, I can just smile and move along. I waste FAR less energy worrying about whether I’m right or wrong, and spend far more of my time focused on how I feel. If it doesn’t feel good, I don’t do it. And reading someone their proverbial rights only felt good in the moment…then I realized I’d just put time and effort into something that yielded me nothing.
So let me appeal to your greed. The next time you want to show someone why you know more on Facebook, or why your way of doing things is right, or why so-and-so is wrong…ask yourself if it actually makes you feel good. Investigate what you’re trying to accomplish. Do you want to feel good or do you want to be right? Do you want the other person to feel bad before you can move on to feeling good? Do you need to make a point or do you need to surround yourself with people who don’t need the point in order to be happy?
Like everything else, this has been a process…an evolution for me. I still occasionally decide I’m going to show someone how smart I am and how dumb they are for challenging me to a word-duel. But for the most part, I get way more satisfaction snuffing out the bitching-fires and focusing on snacks and naps and funny TV shows.