Is Your Self Worth Wrapped Up in Your Blog?

Filed as Features on April 24, 2007 8:38 pm

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Recently, a series of personal problems have been testing my self esteem. I lost myself in my writing and blogging, hoping to find some some esteem. When an article I felt really good about was published recently, my heart broke when the first comment on the blog was a nasty slap in the face.

I found tears running down my face. How dare they say those things? They’re not even close to true. It’s not what I said, intended to say, or even thought of saying! I felt slammed down and stomped on.

Screaming inside and pissed off at the mean world, I went for a walk, stomping my feet against the gravel road to work out my frustration. When I got back, I took another look and realized that what they said wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was pretty harmless.

I had let my self worth become wrapped up in my blog. Surrounded by personal pain, I’d let my perspective become distorted. I felt everyone was out to get me, and the universe proved me right.

Does this happen to you?


Allowing Our Blog to Become Personal

For a lot of bloggers, our blogs are very personal. They are the avenue we choose to express ourselves, our passions, feelings, opinions, creative energies, sorrows, and joys. Caught up in the connection between expressing ourselves and providing information we believe to be helpful and valuable, it doesn’t take much of an insult to make us reconsider our blogging self worth.

Writing a blog can be an intimate way of communicating with the world. We put a lot of energy into what we write. We explore all the ways we want to say it and how we say it just right. We fuss and fret over every word to make sure it says what we want it to say, using just the right words to get our meaning across. We think about our readers and what they want to know from us. and we do our best to give them what they want.

When those good intentions are met with scathing or radically opposite views, are you crushed? Are you hurt?

Sometimes when we’re feeling bad, it feels like the whole world is out to get us. The evidence is all around us, telling us we’re no good and useless, right? Information passes through the filters in our heads, allowing through only what we want to hear, not reality. The last place we may want negative reinforcement is through our blogs.

I’ve had posts with tons of positive comments, and only one negative. Which one do I focus on? Can you guess? Do you do that?

There are some bloggers who must have really thick skins. They put themselves out there, exposing their inner most thoughts and feelings, rants and rages, passing all barriers to objectivity. And business bloggers representing a business that takes a lot of punches, usually getting a few in the blogging face. What courage to keep blogging in the face of expected attacks.

And they still keep blogging.

It takes some serious callouses to have the ability to ignore it and keep on blogging. Doesn’t it? Do you have it?

When your blog post is attacked, what do you do? How do you respond? Do you? Should you? How do you keep blogging when you feel the world is out to get you?

Or do you just take a walk and come back to find out they really weren’t out to get you after all? It was just you out to get yourself? And do you then just keep blogging?


Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on .

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  1. By Ian posted on April 25, 2007 at 2:59 am
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    Surely no-one likes it when they are criticised but acknowledging that there are people out there with different ideas to you is part of being a rounded blogger.

    So I feel that just because someone disagrees with you is no reason to quit on something in fact listening to a view point opposed to your own is often a good chance for you to grow.

  2. By bryan posted on April 25, 2007 at 3:57 am
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    For me blogging is the way to to express my views on finance with others.Its no matter whether people are responding to it or not but i like to communicate with people through my blog.

  3. By Andy C posted on April 25, 2007 at 5:26 am
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    No-one reads my blog, let alone comments on it :-)

    However, I am genuinely staggered that a comment actually moved you to tears.

    I always though this blogging lark was supposed to be a bit of fun.

    Remember, just because they’re all out to get you doesn’t mean you’re paranoid :-)

  4. By Bret posted on April 25, 2007 at 6:59 am
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    In my opinion there are two types of criticism: constructive and destructive. Constructive criticism is always worth reading and considering. Destructive criticism is childish, worthless, and should be ignored. It’s not always easy to ignore destructive comments but no matter how popular or unknown your blog, destructive comments are a fact of blogging.

    I had an article appear on Digg several months ago. It got hundreds of Diggs. Unfortunately, I made the mistake and started to read the Digg comments. Very nasty and destructive. I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head, stopped reading and moved on to my next writing project. I suggest the same approach.

  5. By Tony Hung posted on April 25, 2007 at 8:52 am
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    Brett,

    I totally agree.
    If you want to develop a thick skin, post something contentious and then have it Dugg. Read in the comments and begin wallowing in all that delicious fan-boy hate! :D

    No, seriously — excellent topic brought up by Lorelle, here.

    If you’re blogging for others (i.e. not a journal style for yourself and loved ones) then I think you *have* to be prepared for negative comments, and some that may not even be constructive.

    I think there’s a spectrum of feedback. From the positive constructive feedback bordering on adulation, all the way to negative personal, ad-hominem attacks.

    If it gets serious, you can always delete comments if they violate your own sense of what a comments policy ought to be; on the other hand, if they’re not that flagrant, I think you just have to be prepared for these kinds of comments.

    At the end of the day, I do try and disengage myself from stuff that I write, although its hard to remain completely disengaged.

    This is the blogosphere after all, and cheap shots and ad-hominem attacks are something we should all be prepared for — and ultimately not take to heart.

    I think the better question, Lorelle, is what you would do if someone you already *knew* decided to leave a bit of a rancorous reply? What if that person wasn’t anonymous, or someone you didn’t know?

    Cheers
    tony

  6. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on April 25, 2007 at 10:41 am
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    This is a complex issue. There is the issue of our self-esteem connected to our blogs. When low, anything said on our blog or elsewhere can quickly be misread as an attack, even if it’s not. So a “separation of blog and state” needs to be in place so we don’t base our self-worth on our blogs, but use them as building blocks for our self-esteem, becoming stronger because of our ability to take it on the chin.

    Then there is the issue of our reaction to negative or horrid comments, and how we respond to such comments.

    As for the issue of a truly personal attack, and whether you know them or not, that depends upon the relationship you have with that person. Not knowing them, the delete button is always close at hand. Knowing them, you have other options.

    This post was about our response to such comments. The issues of why others leave such comments is for another article. ;-)

  7. By Becca posted on April 25, 2007 at 11:02 am
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    When someone writes great things about your blog you’re going to feel flattered and the flip side of that is a slam is going to bring you down. But I’ve found that those who do that are usually hecklers and like both seeing their names on someone’s site and making others feel bad. I’ve only dealt with that once, luckily, but after my initial horror I realized that the kind of person who receives gratification from doing this shouldn’t have the power to hurt me.

    At first I engaged my heckler and tried to be reasonable but after several comments and e-mails (initiated by him) I both removed his comments and blocked him from my site. I have a feeling he still reads me by RSS but I kind of feel sorry for him more than anything.

    And while I’m here, let me say that I love reading you both here and on your personal site.

  8. By timethief posted on April 25, 2007 at 3:42 pm
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    Although there is the issue of our self-esteem connected to our blogs, I can handle critical remarks about my posts. But it’s a different story when I’m personally and publicly criticized or chastised by people I know in the forum. It hurts and I do cry.

    Some people are intellectually gifted with the ability to deliver a quick and witty comeback in response to a personal put down without feeling the slap. I envy them.

    Because I’m an introvert the most difficult part of blogging for me has been speaking up at all and learning to answer forum questions well has been a tremendous challenge.

    Toughening up and developing the calluses required to be able to withstand being smacked down publicly is what I’m struggling with right now. Hence your post resonates with me and I thank you for making it.

  9. By Webomatica posted on April 25, 2007 at 7:37 pm
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    I can relate to this, definitely. When one spends a lot of time blogging, day after day, with few comments, and then gets some negative ones, it’s hard not to take personally, especially when it’s against a post you thought was really good.

    However, I think many of us welcome comments, even if they are critical, so I remember that, and take a step back – away from the computer. Usually when I return, the comment isn’t really as negative as I first thought. And even if it is, I can usually respond with a comment of my own that agrees to disagree.

    As a result I have only ever deleted one comment that was blatantly offensive and added nothing to the conversation.

    Now, digg is another story. You just have to accept that tons of commentors are going to rake you over the coals no matter what you say…! That might be some good practice to learning to detach emotionally from posts and negativity.

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  11. By tina posted on May 2, 2007 at 9:55 am
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    My primary reason for blogging is me. It helps me process things and serves as a diary of sorts so I can see how far I’ve come. Negative comments?? Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

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