Since beginning this column, I have received so much love and encouragement from the people around me. Even people I don’t really know have shared my articles to their Facebook pages or approached me out and about just to tell me they enjoyed my writing. This type of praise is so much appreciated by me I could never truly express it. I have always loved writing and wanted a creative outlet where I could let my voice shine through without alienating my audience, and any time someone tells you you’re doing a good job at something you love, it’s guaranteed to make you feel good.
But out of the hundreds of compliments, “likes” and shares, there came two negative comments. And of course these are the ones that stand out to me the most. One comment was silly, from another female I vaguely recognize from my bartending days, another was in the form of a private message from a stranger, a “man”, if you want to call him that, who told me I should “keep trying.” I absolutely hate that I even let things like this affect me, but as someone who constantly doubts myself, of course criticism is going to sting. And to be honest, the comment from the other female affected me more than from the idiot in my inbox.
I don’t know why women have such a hard time praising one another. I don’t think any of us were raised to be hateful or jealous or speak poorly of another woman’s personal success, so why do we do it? In the time it took that woman to type her negative comment, she could have just as easily said something nice, or, better yet, saved her valuable time by not saying anything at all and moving on with her day. Women have it hard enough out here without the criticisms of our fellow females. I love to see successful women making an impact in the Tri-Cities. I love to see good things happen for my friends, for them to excel in their careers or achieve personal goals. One of my best friends is a fellow wine rep for my biggest competition and I truly love seeing her successes. She is a great salesperson and it drives me to up my game.
The woman who commented about me has probably not thought twice about what she said, and I am guilty of saying things that may be hurtful and not realizing it until it’s brought to my attention. Maybe her intent wasn’t to be crappy or hurt feelings. But when it comes to something you care about and are proud of, words can leave a lasting impression. I hope you reading this, male or female, but especially to the ladies, next time you catch yourself wanting to be negative toward another, maybe think twice. Say something empowering and uplifting, and if that’s too hard, then say nothing at all. This world is a nasty, cold place sometimes. There can be absolutely no harm done in emitting positivity and lifting those around you up with praise and kindness. You never know when words of encouragement could inspire someone to do something great in their life! I would much prefer to be the reason someone smiled today than the reason they went home and cried or doubted themselves.
Being able to write every week for the Loafer is truly an honor for me and a great deal of the respect I have is due to the fact that it is run by an all-female team. I am proud to be a part of what this group of smart, independent women are doing here in the Tri-Cities. Let’s all do our part in empowering one another when we see people doing good things. Even better, be encouraging when you see people doing NOT so well. It might be just what they needed.