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Words Matter

Words Matter 3

This wasn’t the post I had intended to publish today, but amid a rash of hurtful comments around the blogosphere, both on this blog and others, and even in our normally positive & encouraging private LWSL Facebook group, there is something that has been weighing on my heart this week.

It’s about words.

I think sometimes we forget that what we say matters a whole lot.

The Internet is an amazing place, full of inspiration and ideas and useful information. It is also a scary place, full of people who will cut you down, just because they can, hidden safely behind the cover of their computer screen, people who will throw out criticism and judgment without giving a second thought to the people that are on the receiving end.

But words matter.

My oldest daughter is seven and in second grade, which is apparently the age at which girl drama appears.  Last week she came home crying because her best friend at school had told her that they weren’t friends anymore.  Did you have a fight? I asked, trying to understand.  No mommy, she sniffed, she just said she didn’t like me anymore.

My overprotective mama heart broke as she sobbed in my arms, not understanding why her best friend would be so mean.

Words matter.

The next day at school the drama escalated.  Harsh words were spoken, a favorite eraser was broken in half, tears were shed, and all five girls in the 2nd/3rd grade class spent their recess in detention, talking it out with the teacher.  By the end of the day, all was forgotten and the girls were all friends once again.

But a part of me wonders if my little girl’s heart will ever be quite the same.

Words MatterBecause I know to well how it feels to be hurt by someone else’s callousness.

I’ve felt the sting of cruel words and I know how it can change you.  How it makes you second guess you own self-worth and want to hold back in order to do whatever it takes to guard your fragile heart.

I am a blogger, which means I have chosen to put myself out there, for better or for worse.  I share bits and pieces of my own life or ideas I’ve collected along the way in the hope that it will bring encouragement, insight, or assistance to others.  But let me tell you friends, it is a scary job sometimes, this blogging business!  Every time I push that “publish” button, I worry and wonder how that next post will be received.

Because the truth is that although I spend countless hours crafting each post, testing recipes, trying out new projects, creating printables, researching topics, and coming up with just the right words to say, it will never be good enough to please everyone. I know there will always be something wrong with every single post I write.

My recipes are too complicated.  Or not complicated enough.  Or too vegetarian. Or use processed ingredients.  My cleaning tips are too unrealistic.  Or too obvious.  Or clean things the wrong way.  My DIY projects are ugly. Or too expensive. Or too cheap.  Or use the wrong materials.  My money saving tips don’t save enough.  Or save on the wrong things.  Or save too much.  My thoughts on life are too personal. Or too God-centered.  Or not God-centered enough. And my parenting ideas are just downright crazy!

It’s not hard to find the flaws or mistakes or weaknesses in the things that I post here.

They are everywhere.

And you don’t have to tell me how inadequate I am.

I already know.

It is so very easy to criticize, especially from behind the safety of a computer screen.  It is very easy to pass judgment and write people off or throw out a snarky remark without fully considering the lasting impact a few careless, critical, unkind words can have.

But words matter.

And I’d like to think that I am a big girl, that I can handle it, that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, and for the most part, I can handle it.   I’ve learned to hold my head high and go about my business and continue doing the work I was called to do while trying not to pay too much attention to the naysayers and the critics, the ones who have nothing nice to say.  I put up my imaginary Superwoman wrist cuffs and try to let it bounce right off.  Because I know I can’t please everyone, and I am so very far from perfect, and in the end, I am only playing for an audience of One.

Words Matter 2But here’s the thing…..I’d also like to think that none of us are intentionally cruel or mean-spirited.  Perhaps I’m being naïve, but I don’t think most of us wake up in the morning thinking, “whose spirit can I crush today?”   I think life gets busy and hectic and things go wrong or we have a bad day and so we snarkily comment on a link our friend shared on Facebook or someone’s pin on Pinterest, not realizing that the comment we meant to be seen as funny by just a few can actually be seen by everyone, including the person who created that post.   We say things we wouldn’t dare to say in person because we forget that behind every link is a real person.

It only seems anonymous.

Like many of you, I find inspiration online from a blogs and websites every single day, and I am incredibly grateful for this technology that not only allows me to have a job, but to benefit from the seemingly endless creativity and ideas of others as well.  And despite the fact that there are also things I don’t really like or necessarily agree with, I still want all that creativity to keep flowing.  I can’t say for sure, but I think the rest of us do too!

So let’s be gentle with our words, even the ones that are tossed into cyberspace–especially the ones that are tossed into cyberspace–because we never know just where they will land.

And if you are one of those people putting yourself out there, here is my advice to you:  Keep going. Don’t give in to the critics’ math that makes you only see the one negative comment out of 100 positive ones.   Hold your head up high and tell yourself again and again—as many times as it takes—that what you have to offer the world is valuable, no matter what anyone else says.  Take comfort in the fact that YOU are one of the brave ones, and listen to the people who build you up, not the ones who tear you down.  Life is too short for anything else.

*   *   *

Have you ever been hurt by someone else’s words online?  How did you respond?

75 Comments

  1. February 21 at 09:24AM

    So well written and said. I believe that people DO hide behind their computer and say things they may not normally because they feel safe. But truly, who among us is perfect? As bloggers, our hope as we write is to be insightful and inspirational to most, but obviously not ALL. That would be impossible. They very thing that makes us human makes it so. And there are those who will NEVER be satisfied no matter what. Their own insecurities prevent it. Thank you for writing this. I’m sad to say it isn’t the first one I’ve read as of late. BUT I believe the best thing to do is stand up and say it isn’t ok to bring someone down who is trying their best. Who writes daily to try and help and inspire. You don’t like what was written? That’s ok. Move on. don’t feel the need to comment. It’s a free world true – but it works both ways. 🙂

  2. Tracey
    February 21 at 09:29AM

    I have just started following your blog and have to say that I have enjoyed it very much! My 2nd grader has been recently involved with the girl drama as well and has been “un-friended” countless times by a little girl that changes her mind like the wind. My daughter has already shown a streak of loyalty and good friendship and she just doesn’t get it and we have had many tears of late. It just breaks my heart that she has to learn these life lessons so early and I just pray that she won’t let one person shape her experiences. Great article!

  3. February 21 at 09:32AM

    Wow! What a great post. I agree that once the “internet wall” goes up, people forget there are real human beings involved! I recieved my MBA through an online program, and I would say to my husband all the time – people can be so mean when they can’t see your face or rationalize that a real person is out there writing these assignments. I now have an Etsy store and both buyers and sellers can be so impersonal and rude sometimes, and sadly I think its because we forget the words being exchanged are between real people with real feelings. The person on the other end may be just like you! Would we treat them this way if we were having the conversation face to face? Most of the time I think the answer is NO. I’m now in the process of starting my own blog, and I think one of the main things that holds me back is how people are going to perceive and judge me from it. A lot to think about! Thanks for this post today 🙂

  4. Angela Day
    February 21 at 09:34AM

    This hit home for me and my family! Not only in our personal lives, but in a previous coupon group on facebook I help ran. I left it, and chose to walk away, because they hateful messages in my chat box were ugly. I have since started my own coupon savings page, and zero so far negativity. But thank you for bringing this too light. Words do hurt at any age!! (((hugs))) to you being as amazing as you are!! I always look forward to your posts! 🙂

  5. Ashlee
    February 21 at 09:35AM

    I grew up at the beginning of social media. High school had instant messaging and by college we had Facebook. I’ve never felt the need to be mean to others online. I do worry so much about my kids. They are still toddlers, but before I know it they will be navigating the internet at an earlier time than I. Kids can be so mean without realizing it I can only imagine that’s amplified with social media. If we adults can’t be nice I doubt our kids will learn to either.

  6. Stzeus
    February 21 at 09:39AM

    You are right in so many ways. Some hearts are easily crushed because they have been crushed many times in the past. God heals… I am living proof. I hope your heartfelt post touches someone today so that maybe, they will think twice before they haphazardly post a snarky comment. I recently thought about this very same topic. I was disappointed in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics because one of the broadcasters could sparingly say anything positive about some of the countries that had sent their athletes. I felt that it was an honor just to be there. (As well as in my journey in life.) SO I understand, I will pray for you and your adventures with this fabulous blog. Keep up the amazing work.

  7. February 21 at 09:45AM

    Such a great post Ruth and it is so true. It’s hard not to focus on the one negative comment amidst 100 positives. A good reminder for us all to be kind to each other always. Have a great weekend! xo

  8. February 21 at 09:48AM

    Great reminder. I have been on both ends – and like you said, it’s NEVER because I want to hurt – just having a bad day and then someone says something…
    I have learned to just re-read every comment a couple times before I publish it, and if it is the least bit snarky, to just delete it. Better to not have my clever thoughts out there, than to hurt someone else!
    My blog is still so small that I haven’t received much feedback yet, but on IG, FB, etc, I have been criticized often.

  9. February 21 at 09:51AM

    LOVE this post and you’ve worded it just perfectly. Bloggers will never be able to please everyone, and though we develop a sort of thick skin over time, it’s still not right for others to be so mean. Words still can hurt. You are awesome and have much to be proud of!!

  10. Milly
    February 21 at 09:58AM

    Thank you for this post- I think you hit the nail on the head. And thank you for being willing to put yourself out there- because you have so many great things to offer!

  11. Anonymous
    February 21 at 10:01AM

    So well said…I want to use my words to edify and build up..so please keep pressing on..and share your amazing stuff..the ones that are trying to make the world a better place say THANK YOU! :0)

  12. Anonymous
    February 21 at 10:04AM

    Thank you for putting this out there! For the past 6+ weeks, while recovering from a serious injury, I’ve basically been bed-bound and have had to rely on my iPad mini for entertainment. All too often this finds me on Facebook, Pinterest, and the internet in general. Not having previously spent a lot of time on social media and the internet I’ve been stunned and saddened by the amount of thoughtless, hateful, judgmental, and often bigoted vitriol people seem to feel comfortable posting. It’s as though the filter that rules our daily face-to-face interactions has been ripped off and frankly what lies beneath is none too pretty. I believe that although we live in an age of greater accessibility we have somehow become disconnected from one another. Because we don’t typically see the reaction of whomever reads our posts, we are somehow freed from the consequences of our actions and words. I believe you are correct in saying that words DO matter. But I think they matter not only because of how they affect others, but because of how they affect ourselves.

  13. February 21 at 10:08AM

    Ruth – such beautiful words! You DO inspire so many (including me) and I think that the internet gives people that normally wouldn’t have the courage to confront, courage to do it. They hurt people because of it, and it is just not right! I am scared to think about the challenges that our children will have growing up in this digital world where so much is hidden. I pray for them daily! Thanks again for opening up your heart to so many, you are AMAZING!

  14. February 21 at 10:16AM

    I completely agree with everything you said and before I publish a post, I too worry about how it’ll be received. For a while, I’d also get extremely nervous after I had a new comment because I just KNEW it would just be someone pointing out how flawed my post was. Thankfully it was usually just a positive comment. I do appreciate feedback from my readers – good or bad – it helps me improve as a blogger. But some people can be unnecessarily rude in the way they go about things. Being a blogger has definitely made me more mindful of my words.

  15. February 21 at 10:16AM

    I totally agree with this article.

    Lately, I have witnessed an abnormal amount of critical comments on blogs and Facebook sites.

    For example: I currently follow a positive body advocate on Facebook and Instagram. She is a world famous plus-sized (18/20) model. She takes very good care of herself and eats healthily. Her message is that regardless of your size thin, short, tall, fat, you should love yourself for who you are. I love the positive message, especially in the midst of the constant barrage of social media showing our kids figures and cosmetic surgery results they may not (and should not) ever be able to emulate. She is not advocating to be fat or to be unhealthy. However, with every post she puts out, she gets hundreds, yes HUNDREDS of negative “EWH gross”, “You’re going to die soon because you are fat”, “Why would you wear that outfit with you being so fat?” type comments. It’s really disheartening on how these keyboard warriors even under the premise of being concerned about her health, have such horrid words to say. I have a pretty thick skin and I have been appalled by the blatant cruelty of these words.

    This me-first generation is rearing it’s ugly head. Technology is allowing people to show this side of themselves without a second thought past pressing the post button. It is removing the human element of compassion and consideration. And most importantly it’s affecting our children, these beautiful tender souls who are either experiencing it first hand at school, or will learn to imitate it because it is becoming the norm.

  16. February 21 at 10:16AM

    It’s so sad that drama starts so early with children. My daughter is four and my son is two and it breaks my heart thinking of the times to come when mean things will be said to them. I love what you said about holding your head up high as you do what you were called to do. Even Jesus was persecuted for doing the right thing. God has built me to be encouraging, so when mean words are said it’s hard for me to understand why anyone would say such hurtful things but focusing on my purpose helps carry me through the hard days.
    So well written! Glad you changed the blogging plan for today because clearly this is what you were to write about!

  17. February 21 at 10:19AM

    Thank you for saying this! It’s so true. Written communication is always tricky, especially because it’s so hard to communicate tone of voice. I guess that’s why smiley faces were invented! 🙂 Thanks for being willing to put yourself out there and share your gifts and insights with the rest of us.

  18. February 21 at 10:23AM

    Another thing! Ha!
    This de-friending is also occurring not just with girls but with boys as well. My son just turned 10. He tells me every day about one kid or another no longer wanting to be his friend.

    So I had a discussion with him about the difference between friendlies and friends. Friends are the people that are family members, church members, and really close friends that would never say “I’m not your friend anymore if you don’t do xyz”. Friendlies are the kids at school that you are with while there. Ones you can play with and are ‘friendly’ with, but those are the ones that will drop your friendship for the slightest things. I also told him that friendlies have the ability to become true friends but they have to show they are your friends by their actions.

    He’s such a sweet kid and was getting his feelings hurt every other day. This really helped him to draw that line. Not that I am encouraging him not to be friends with the kids at school, but it was a simple way of explaining how he could decipher who his true friends were.

    • Monica
      February 26 at 11:06AM

      What a fabulous idea! I also deal with this with my two boys (8 and 9), in school. I can’t wait to have the friends vs friendlies conversation with them! Thank you for putting this out here!

      • Rachel
        February 26 at 04:48PM

        Thank you so much for this – my 6 year old son is going through this as well. We will be having this conversation tonight!

  19. February 21 at 10:32AM

    Yes ma’am! We can’t expect our kids to be nice and for the bullying to stop until we, as adults, stop ourselves. Let’s lead by example. If you see someone’s DIY project or recipe you don’t care for, just don’t leave a comment. They spent a lot of time and effort on that, and we don’t all have the same taste. And that’s ok! Our differences are what make this world so beautiful. Sometimes its best to just keep our opinions to ourselves. When we meet Jesus face to face, he’s not going to say “Did you always speak your mind?” he’s going to say “Did you love my people?”.

  20. Jill
    February 21 at 10:34AM

    I’m sorry people can be so mean to you. I love your blog. I suppose they were never taught “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.” I view the blogs, ideas, etc. on the internet as I do TV. If I don’t want to watch it, read it, etc. I change the channel. I don’t call the TV station up and cuss them out. Wonder if they get calls like that? 🙂 Probably, considering how crazy people are. Keep up the good work and don’t let the trolls win.

  21. Kb
    February 21 at 10:37AM
  22. February 21 at 10:39AM

    I loved this post Ruth, it touched my heart. Words do matter because you may not remember what someone said to you but you will remember how they made you feel. I think that with the shield of the internet people have forgotten that words can be taken another way and become hurtful and some blatantly hurtful. You are right when there is a person behind the link and if we could take a moment to remember that and even pretend it was a loved on behind that link, maybe there would be so many hurtful things said.

    Thanks again for the beautiful post.

  23. laura
    February 21 at 10:42AM

    Nice job. I’m blown away with what people write. The critiques, negative assumptions– especially the words that are snarky, downright mean, challenging in a negative manner. The misunderstanding happens and when the dialogue occurs that’s good. Thank you for sharing and writing your words today.

  24. February 21 at 10:55AM

    This happens more than I care to admit. I have had people come & tell me that they didn’t like my recipe. They thought it wasn’t sweet enough. Too many calories. Whatever. I have read a thread of comments on Pinterest from a project I did that a friend pinned. The comments were mean & nasty. Personally – when I see something that I don’t agree with, don’t care for – I just move on. Why must one leave the comment? Why can’t they just think whatever to themselves & move on? I do think that some may feel their own insecurity & it makes them feel better to spout off something to bring that other person down. It’s sad. But I really wish that if people didn’t have something nice to say- they would keep it to themselves. I find it amazing that we have come to a place where others have such little regard for others. But if you were to give it back to them- you would be the mean one. Funny how that works sometimes. I think it’s great that you are talking about this Ruth. I think we all should be talking about it more & more to bring more awareness to it. Maybe all join together & post on it on the same day & make it known that it’s not okay.

  25. February 21 at 11:19AM

    I love your blog,Im trying to get my life in order and you have so many good ideas. Thank you

  26. February 21 at 11:57AM

    WOW! I wish I had this post last week!
    I knew I should have said something… I just didn’t know what to say

    http://tondradenise.blogspot.com/2014/02/that-n-gga.html

  27. February 21 at 12:17PM

    This is a wonderful post! Have you read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown? She talks a lot (personally) about people’s negative comments online… It’s easy to be cruel when you can be anonymous… Constructive criticism is a good thing but being mean spirited helps no one. I’ve learned that when people are cruel it’s because they are cruel to themselves… I remind myself of this frequently. I hope I can help my girls learn this too , as we head towards elementary school… You inspire me every day! Don’t let those nay Sayers get you down!

  28. Thanks for this post! Sometimes it is hard to grown a thick skin in the public realm we have chosen. Sometimes I think people forget that we are a human not a corporation (or maybe they don’t know it is a person not a corporation running our blogs). I wrote a post that I hit publish on today that I am really hoping I don’t get slaughtered for…it is one of those that I really wanted to write, but you never know how people will respond. It feels so vulnerable and I’m not sure our readers always get that we feel that tender sometimes when we hit publish. Of course, all of that being said, it still hurts when they leave mean comments. I follow a simple philosophy that many need to learn: Don’t say something unless you have something nice to say.
    Thanks, Ruth.
    KC

  29. sue
    February 21 at 12:47PM

    I know that reading this blog has helped me to be a better person and a happier person. People who love drama and are begging for attention have found a new way to get both via the Internet. Just like bacteria and sharks, the best thing we can do is stop feeding them and they will go away. Thanks for putting it all out there! You have great ideas and I have learned a lot here.
    Sue

  30. Richard Buse
    February 21 at 01:00PM

    I find myself wondering what would happen if an individual committed to leaving one kind comment per day somewhere on the Internet for someone? No matter how desperate our personal circumstances might be, we all have opportunities every day to do something to brighten someone else’s day.

  31. Terry H.
    February 21 at 01:25PM

    Ruth, I don’t think you’re inadequate at all. We’ve only met through your blog but it comes across very clearly that you are a lovely, thoughtful, and talented person. The haters are always going to hate and stand behind the anonymity that technology offers. Don’t let them touch your spirit. Take care and have a wonderful day and weekend! Hug your husband and beautiful daughters!

  32. Debbie L.
    February 21 at 02:17PM

    Mike says that sometimes the Holy Spirit sounds a lot like his wife. I don’t know about that, but this time the Holy Spirit sounds a lot like Ruth. You probably couldn’t have known, but these are just the words I needed to hear this week. Thank you once again for your very on-target words. I love you and your blog

  33. February 21 at 02:50PM

    thank you so much for writing this ruth. it is true and it bears repeating and sharing and spreading all over this social media world in which we now live. it happens on purpose and it happens by accident and the result is the same. words matter. what we say hurts even when and if we didn’t intend it to. thank you for this & for the encouragement to press on through criticism. thank you for being brave. xo

  34. February 21 at 03:24PM

    Ruth,
    This was so well stated. You are right that today’s society is so eager to tear someone down, rather than build someone up. It’s a shame that you had to even draft a post addressing this issue. Hopefully, this will resonate with all who see it and compel them to stop, think, and empathize before posting words that will hurt another.

    Thanks for the inspiration you put forth on your site.

  35. Ruth
    February 21 at 05:34PM

    Let us remember to treat others as we would like to be treated. It is true that the screen does give us courage to say (write) what we wouldn’t dare in person. I enjoy and have learned so much from your blog, posters and others.
    Thank you for all you send my way!
    From one Ruth to another

  36. Heather D
    February 21 at 07:03PM

    I think your blog is great! You put so much time and effort into it and I have found it very helpful, even life-changing (the 31-day no spending challenge…by the way I did it! Now I know I can, thanks to you.) Please know that there are probably hundreds of people out there who appreciate you. Keep up the good work, and thank you for sharing this particular post.

  37. February 21 at 07:47PM

    This is so timely in my own life. Thanks for sharing this. Been dealing with a few of these situations myself and you are right. Every part of this encourages me and I appreciate you taking time to address it!

  38. Yvette
    February 21 at 07:57PM

    Hello,
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and I am enjoying it very much. I bet there are hundreds of others who are enjoying your blog but just never comment. I made a comment once on another blog, and someone had replied to my comment with an exclamation point. I didn’t think that I had said anything wrong and so it surprised me. I felt a little reprimanded for sharing what had happened to me, so this post hit home:)

  39. February 21 at 08:09PM

    This was so well written! I’m not sure I understand the purpose of tearing people down and it’s so unfortunate it happens in all realms of life. In my previous job it was awful. Now, putting myself out to the blogosphere opens me up again to criticism, and you’re right. Words matter. Thank you for a beautiful blog full of unbelievable ideas, for putting yourself out there by sharing your life with your readers, and for your kindness, even in handling this very difficult situation.

  40. Christina
    February 21 at 09:24PM

    My heart breaks for your daughter. Your words brought me back to my seventh grade year when my closest friends one day told me that I could no longer hang out with them and were not my friends anymore. I was crushed. I built walls to not let people get too close to me and its been hard to tear those walls down. Thank God for Jesus! Your post was so great and encouraging. Thank you!

  41. Anonymous
    February 21 at 09:33PM

    Super love. A few friends and myself have been talking about Fb and how things you read can bring up so many emotions, anger, jealousy, judgement, it brings out the ugly sometimes. Some friends have chosen to close their accounts down. I was hurt recently by something that was said, it even offended my family. Thanks for the reminder that words matter. Keep up the amazing work

  42. Suzanne
    February 21 at 09:37PM

    It’s ironic I stumbled upon this topic just now. I was really thinking about how lucky we are to live in this creative, progressive and electronically advanced time … But we are forgetting how our manners, so to speak. It has become easy and emotionless to just blurt out hurtful words, not looking at the other person when we speak desensitises us and I don’t think this is for the good of communication.

  43. February 21 at 10:03PM

    Sticks and stones. That saying is such a lie. The Bible tells us a lot about how bad our words can taste coming out. I recently wrote a post about that. Hurtful words are even worse when its done by members of your family online. Ouch!! But I have learned, the hard way, to just not do anything. I truly believe its better to not comment, or try to out do the other person when it comes to insults. I know its so hard for kids to learn this. I wore glasses in school and was called every name possible pertaining to wearing glasses. I cried about it. Nothing could be done about it. But, for me, I think it made me stronger and better able to deal with situations like that. You have such an amazing story to tell and you have been truly blessed the gift of writing. God knew what he was doing and we will all be better people by reading your work. Thank you.

  44. Ashley
    February 21 at 10:12PM

    Hi Ruth,
    I just recently found your blog and I really love it! I completely agree with you that people do not realize the affect their words have on people. I have unintentionally hurt others with my words over the years more times than I realize, and certainly more times than I care to acknowledge. Now that I am seeking the Lord, I realize how my words affect people. Also, an incident with a coworker last year, meant to be a joke, was taken seriously by a woman who gave me the silent treatment for weeks! She was convinced my joke was meant to be a true insult. I was so devastated because I really liked this woman. Eventually she did resume speaking with me, but the relationship was never the same. I no longer work with her. But it was an eye opener to the fact that even though I may be kidding, the recipient may not take it as playful kidding. So I try to be careful in joking around with folks. And also try to be more aware of how a text or blog comment, etc. may come across. I’m a human and have a lifetime’s worth of progress to make in the area of speech. But with God’s grace I will make that progress over, my lifetime. Anyhow, keep sharing your heart and everything God leads you to teach others. You are very encouraging!

  45. Fiona
    February 21 at 10:16PM

    I’ve always wondered why it is that we remember the insults more so than the compliments throughout our lives.
    They really do cut to the bone (well, for me anyway). My conclusion is that we are all just trying to get by every day and do the best we can, even though sometimes getting out of the bed in the morn, making yourself presentable, and getting through the day can be difficult. So when you’re suddenly attacked in this way, it can make everything seem so worthless.
    Just as you mentioned in the article, you question your self worth, which is incredibly damaging.
    My journey has taught me that the bullies are actually in need of more help than I am. They are suffering, and are trying to make you suffer too. Until they realise that and try to become better people, we must lead by example and show them that love is stronger than hate. Otherwise, they’ll drag us down with them.

  46. Anonymous
    February 21 at 10:45PM

    Ruth, thanks for that. Unfortunately, it seems even less frequently that people hide behind the internet/computer screen. More and more, the words are spoken to people’s faces. I, too, have to be careful about the critics’ math in my own mind (a shoutout for the reference to Start!). It is too easy to obsess over the one, and miss the 100. I am also reminded of Jesus’s words in Luke 6:26 (NIV): “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you….” If I am doing my job, some people will hate it. If everyone likes it, then it may not have been worth doing. Again, thanks for your timely and helpful words.

  47. Mike
    February 21 at 10:46PM

    Oops! Sorry. I did not mean for my post above to be anonymous.

  48. February 22 at 01:14AM

    This is so true. It makes me feel awful to think that there are people out there that don’t think before they press send, submit or post.. Think about what you are saying. Would you say it to that persons face and honestly, is it necessary? If not, keep it to yourself.
    You do a great job here, Ruth! Don’t doubt yourself and don’t think you’re inadequate. Each of us are wonderful in our own right and in our own unique ways.

  49. February 22 at 03:41AM

    Wow, I was just coming to your blog to make a link from my organising blog because I found your blogging organiser PDF so helpful. I was upset to read that you had been hurt. It seems you have rallied though and I can look forward to many more great things from you.
    Hugs from a fellow blogger.
    valspierssews

  50. February 22 at 05:56AM

    Bravo Ruth! Well said. I guess many adult women aren’t so different from your daughter and her friends. We can be snarky and we get hurt, of course, when others are snarky to us. You are so right, it is all too easy to be mean behind the anomymity of the keyboard.

    I think you and your blog area wonderful. (I’m in church leadership by the way, and have often noted that leaders are also up for being criticized a lot because they are “up there in front.” Oh well. I try to take that criticism with a grain of salt and don’t let it force me into holding back from being who God created me to be.”

  51. Nana
    February 22 at 06:44AM

    Well said. I was always taught “if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all”. This seems to work for me. Keep posting, I love it.

  52. February 22 at 10:57AM

    This is absolutely beautiful and I am most certainly in tears. I, too, am a blogger and writer, and I’ve received such demeaning feedback on several posts- by hundreds of people- that can only be qualified as bullying. Thanks so much for this encouraging post. I definitely needed it today. God bless- and keep on keeping on.

  53. Kathy Bergman
    February 22 at 02:35PM

    I too have witnessed a lot of bullying with my in-laws.

  54. February 22 at 07:07PM

    What a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing what so many of us have felt. Early on in my blogging I fell to the “1 comment” that shattered my day … and the rest of my umption for blogging. This post has been such an inspiration to me to get back into the saddle and just keep on going.
    I’d love to know how to join the FB LWSL group 🙂
    Hugs & Blessings …
    Lani

  55. Wendy Hoff
    February 22 at 07:09PM

    Hi Ruth, I am so sorry with what is happening on the Facebook group lwsl. Oh my is all I can say. Thank you for starting this group though. I have met some wonderful people on there. I am so terribly sorry that it is getting so sad. I wonder if the group can just be made smaller. I would be up for a smaller group to support each other. I can say this….your group has certainly helped me. If you have a smaller group, please include me. Thanks so much and God bless you!

  56. February 22 at 08:08PM

    Ruth,
    I’m really saddened that you let negativity get to you this way. I suppose in the blog world when you do this for a living getting negative comments is the equivalent of your boss criticizing your work. Don’t we all hate those days when we’re told we’re not doing something that pleases everyone at work? I guess on the bright side, you can write a post and tell your customers and “boss” to hush up whereas the rest of us have to smile and “yes, sir or ma’am” our way through it. HA!
    YOU are YOUR BOSS! To me, someone fussing about the quailty of your content is the equivalent of getting upset because they went to a grocery store and couldn’t buy a riding mower. You’re clear about your blog, you’re YOU. Words DO matter, the words you write and the ways you share matter to the people WHO NEED THEM.
    Your blog, your tips for couponing saved my family from going completely broke when my husband was unemployed. YOU taught me how to manage our food budget so we could afford to eat during the lean times. Your blog has touched many people in many ways, and if there are some people out there who are looking for a riding mower, well, I guess they need to go to Sears.
    <3
    Jill

  57. Julie
    February 23 at 08:30PM

    Best. Post. Ever.

  58. February 27 at 12:55AM

    It makes me sad that people are saying rotten things about your blog. I think you’re fabulous! Hugs to you and your little one.

  59. teddie jo
    February 27 at 12:21PM

    Just found this site today, and read this post first. Words matter. I am going to enjoy reading and “spending time” with you.

  60. THANK YOU so much for this post Ruth! I happened to see it today through Facebook, and was so encouraged to know I’m not the only one who feels exactly this way. Thanks so much for sharing!

  61. wheelwi
    March 9 at 05:48PM

    Beautifully written!!

  62. March 19 at 09:30AM

    Hi Ruth, yesterday I received my first really negative comment on my Link Party Opportunity post. It really hurt at first and not exclusively from the hateful words. The reader took my post the completely wrong way. I approved the comment anyway and wrote a positive reply. If I did what I initially wanted to do and lash back I would risk losing readers. I remember reading this article. and your supportive words have helped me get through it. Thank you for your honesty. Out of all the blogs I read this is one that I feel a real connection with, and want you to know how happy I am to have found you at the very beginning of my blogging journey.

    • Ruth Soukup
      March 19 at 01:48PM

      Jessica, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I know how much it hurts to have someone write a mean or hateful comment on something you’ve written, especially when you are taking a risk to put yourself out there, or when you have been totally misunderstood. Responding in kindness shows that you are the bigger person. So glad to have “helped” and to have you as a reader! xoxo

  63. April 28 at 12:59AM

    Thanks for writing this. I just had this happen and as I was skipping around on the Internet, I came across your post. It was so pleasant to read. This is what I wrote about mine: http://switchingclassrooms.com/2014/04/thick-skin.html

  64. Anonymous
    August 1 at 03:40PM

    Yes words do matter…Like my my Mom use to say if you can not say something nice say nothing at all. I do think there is people with a chip on their shoulder and just look for something to be negative about. I remind myself how miserable these people are and kill it with silence. Or when my husband died of a brain tumor….I would say Why on earth would you ask such a question. Silence is a blessing. Thank You for all the good you do and maybe sometimes we forget to even say the nice things. I challenge everyone to stop and say something good to someone with a smile everyday. Enough said and to all make it a great day.

  65. September 28 at 06:36AM

    Hello, this weekend is good designed for me, as this
    occasion i am reading this enormous educational piece of writing here at my home.

  66. Amie
    April 12 at 09:29PM

    This was a great post! I recently read your book and started a blog that I have been talking about doing for two years! I have been writing on it for a while but haven’t had the guts to try and promote it for fear of what people will think! Your words have inspired me in a big way and I loved reading this very real post!! Great job and keep doing what you do 🙂

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