By Fredrica Syren:
There always will be critics when it comes to the green movement. I have to say, I’m a bit surprised that I’ve not gotten as much as I had expected, considering I have blogged since 2009, written a book and founded Green-Mom.com. I also have been blessed with friends and family who whole-heartedly support me, even if they don’t always agree with me. However, I have lost someone because of my beliefs and my family’s lifestyle over an article I wrote about global warming. It made me very sad and surprised me as well. For a while, I drowned myself in self-pity over this. This was a dear friend and we both had been there for each other at the worst and best times in life. Soon, though, I began to really look at myself and figure out why this bothered me so much. I began to see that taking criticism is hard, especially from someone you love and trust.
Most of us tend to take on criticism more than praise. Criticism seems to stay with us longer, and we remember pain more than the joy of praise. Truth be told, there always will be critics whether it’s because of your mistakes, because some are jealous, because people have opinions, because they judge, because they want to help you or because they want to drag you down for doing something different. The trick is to learn from someone’s constructive criticism, which will make you a better person, while staying clear of those who just want to push their opinion on you and hurt you.
Once I started to look at my situation, I began to examine whether, despite the rude comment, this person had a point. I realized I had touched a sensitive nerve with this person, that my lifestyle and views seem radical to her. I also had to learn that she does not understand that, from my point of view, her choices and opinions are radical for me. I also recognized that she wrote in anger and really does not expect a response, so I just had to learn to let it go.
The few times I have received an angry comment here on Green-Mom.com, I have taken a deep breath and tried to look from that person’s angle to determine whether there is something I can learn from him/her or if there’s anything I can do to grow and become a better person and environmental activist. My tips are never in reply to angry criticism because that will result in an angry response. I try to figure out why the criticism was made and if the person is angry, having a lousy day or if he/she is just a bad person.
Once I get a chance to look clearly at the criticism and have learned from it, I begin to let go of the negativity and move on as fast as I can. Instead, I try to focus on all the good things and praise I get. And, when it comes down to it, I know that I’m doing all of this for my family, my kids and the planet.