Don’t read the comments.

I’ve heard “don’t read the comments” so many times. But I’ve never had to take the advice because, well, I don’t usually get a lot of comments on my work. That’s the beautiful thing about writing things that no one reads: your words just belong to you, safely and securely. 

I thought I had gotten past that perception. Recently, I decided to stop locking my words away from other people. And for about a year, I was able to without any pain. But then I wrote a post for a blog. And it was published somewhere else. And people linked to it on social media. And suddenly way more people read my work than I’m used to. At first, it was absolutely exhilarating. No, my article wasn’t exactly becoming super popular, but people were reading it. People were responding to it in a positive way. It made me so happy, I couldn’t even put my feelings to words. For most of this summer, I’ve been doubting myself. I haven’t really vocalized those doubts to anyone, but I’ve felt them. I think change does that to people; change fills people with doubt. I kept wondering “what do I even want from my life? What do I even want to do with my writing? What if I was wrong about everything? What if I have no idea?”

When I saw that my article had inspired people, even on a small scale, my doubt washed away. I remembered the importance of stories and the importance of truth. I remembered why I love words and why I could never abandon storytelling.

That all happened yesterday and I felt wonderful.

But this morning, when I went online, there were more comments. “Don’t read the comments” didn’t even cross my mind. My article wasn’t even controversial. I’m seventeen. I’m a little incoming freshman. I realize now that none of this matters. I realize now that if people feel like tearing someone to pieces, none of that matters. 

I wanted to respond to the negative comment in a sassy way, telling the person that he probably didn’t even read my article and whatever else. But I wasn’t feeling sassy then. I was actually crying. And I’m not the kind of person who can easily say something didn’t affect me at all when it did affect me. 

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t sit there and think about ways to insult this person. I didn’t sit there and think about how this person is a loser who has nothing better to do than insult someone’s article on a publication that he apparently doesn’t even like anyways. 

I sat there and cried. I sat there and tried to think of a way to respond, but nothing felt authentic. If I were to tell the truth to him, I would have to say 

You hurt me. For a brief minute, you absolutely destroyed me. You made me feel so worthless, so awful, so stupid for having faith in the human population. Is that what you wanted? Does that make you happy? 

But I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything. And suddenly, just when I found the courage to raise my voice, I felt silenced again.

It astonishes me. It completely baffles me. I could never wrap my head around why someone would insult someone for no reason, especially on the internet, especially to a stranger. I can’t help but think of all the people who have to deal with this so often. The people who feel the constant agony of logging onto social media but do it anyways. The people who are affected by this so deeply. Because, honestly, everyone says “don’t read the comments,” but how many people actually listen?

Because we’re all human. We all have stupid faith in the human population sometimes. We all want to inspire people. We all want to be inspired. We all want to believe in people. Sometimes we all are just waiting to hear “you’re not awful, you’re not worthless, you’re not alone.”

Forgive me for thinking that believing in people isn’t stupid. Forgive me for writing a story about what I felt. Forgive me for being honest and broken and vulnerable and human.

I realize now that I’m not sorry. 

Do you read the comments? How do you deal with negative comments on your work? 

 

P.S. You’re not worthless.

 

Dream big,

Paige 

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10 thoughts on “Don’t read the comments.

  1. As an amateur writer and professional musician, I can’t help but give in and read the comments sometimes. However, I do steer clear of them as much as possible. What I don’t do now, like I have in the past, is let them bother me. When I had low self-esteem i would be affected by comments terribly, but now I have gotten better in terms of my self-image, etc., so it just doesn’t matter to me anymore. You are awesome, and keep doing what you’re doing. Just be yourself and f*** the people who can’t handle the real you.

    DL

    • Thank you so much! This really made me feel better. I have a hard time not reading the comments. Even today, I kept going back and looking at them until I finally convinced myself that they truly don’t matter.

  2. It’s a MUST to read the comments…especially for me as I strive to create a community within the site. Negativity will come, it’s just something to be expected.
    I feel that it is courteous and welcoming to not only read but respond to the comments received. I was actually thinking of posting something that I saw online of how a blogger responded greatly to negative words. I may post it soon now that I have seen your predicament.

    • Thanks so much for reading! I definitely read all of the comments on my blog because, like you said, building a community is SO important. However, my article was a little different because it was posted on an external site and I didn’t really want to respond to every comment. I also wanted to maintain some form of “professionalism” and I didn’t know how to both be professional and respond to negative comments. I’m still not sure about the whole thing. I would love to see how other people have handled similar situations. Thanks again!

      • No problem! I can definitely post the story. It can be hard to maintain professionalism especially over something that you wrote- emotions can run high.

  3. I usually read my comments but that’s because I don’t get that many! Don’t listen to the negatives – I promise there are SO many more people with positive reactions! Some people just look for fulfillment in the wrong places. Your blog is awesome!! Don’t let it get to you :) Xoxo

    • Thanks so much, Laura! I used to read ALL of my comments because I didn’t get many at all; I think that’s why the negative comment surprised me so much. It kind of felt like “wait, people care enough about this to be negative? People are using their free time to critique my work?” But it didn’t feel like a good thing at all. I just am not one to go around saying “haters make me famous.” Haha. Thank you for the kind words. :)

  4. Hello! It’s nice to be here. I have enjoyed your post. I think it’s a good one. I read all the comments that I find on my blog. Sometimes I spend a lot of time because I do not only read them, I answer them as well. Most of the comments I get on my site are lovely. I also write comments that uplift. It’s not nice of us to write comments that pull people down.If we find a post that we are not satisfied with, we can always comment in an educated way. I have had a few comments that did not sound very friendly. What I did was, I thought that the fellows did not have the gift of a positive mind so I showed by example that we need to be positive and treat people with love and respect. They changed.

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