Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Let's All Be Gracious

How do you respond to negative comments on social media? Or to negativity in general? Do you lash out? Or are you able to take yourself out of the situation? Today's Wednesday Word is gracious, and I've had plenty of opportunities to consider all of this lately.

Let's All Be Gracious

Watching news clips from the political debates (I can't watch the actual events--makes me crazy) has made me reflect on how, as a society, we've become less respectful to each other. Instead of ignoring jabs and barbs, and responding with grace and consideration, the candidates come back with insults. It's like watching the playground bully go after another kid--we're all bystanders. It's truly fascinating and I can't help but wonder, where has all the civility gone?

I flex my grace muscle every day, all day at work. I don't write about my work much at all on the blog. After all, this is a running blog. But it's been a tough couple of months, and yes, being gracious has been a challenge for me.

In general, most of my interactions are positive. But patients show up late, and I have to explain why I can't see them or why they have to wait while I see the ones who came on time.

There are the frustrated parents who argue with me about my medical management decisions because they are exhausted from caring for a sick child. I understand where they are coming from. I am empathetic. Sometimes that's all I have to offer, and I feel bad about that.

Then there are those parents who come in with their own diagnosis and expect me to give them what they think their child needs. Those are the tough ones. They can be demanding and even insulting.

Already feeling stressed, sometimes it takes every ounce of self-control I possess not to lash back at them.


Has social media made us less accommodating to opinions that differ from our own? Certainly, we all joke about Dr. Google, which has empowered people to self-diagnose. But I see it everywhere. Everyone has become an expert on everything and have become intolerant of anything that differs with their opinions. I've been fortunate that on my own social media sites, I've had very little issue with negative comments. But when I read comments on other sites, I cannot believe the things people post.

Since I follow so many fitness pages on social media, my Facebook feed is filled with positivity. I love this. I forget that I have my running bubble. Where positivity reigns. Unfortunately, this bubble really makes the negative posts really stand out.

I've also seen people use social media to lash out. I recently experienced that personally, and as a person who takes enormous pride in her work ethic, it rocked me to my core. Even though I was right, this person felt the need to express her dissatisfaction with me via social media. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it. There is that whole First Amendment thing.

Instead, I had to rise above the fray. As difficult as this experience was, I had to swallow my pride and continue with a smile on my face. I can't make everyone happy. Taking the high road was the right thing to do. Even though it was the hard thing to do.

Let's All Be Gracious


A couple of months later, I can look back on this very painful incident and know that I did the right thing.
"I give grace because I so desperately need it."- Lysa Terkeurst
Everyone has bad days. But before you post something negative think about the possible implications. Ask yourself: is this something I'd say to that person's face? Is this something I want other people to see? Do I want to be remembered for this?

And if the comment is directed at you, first ask yourself if there is any truth in the comment.

Don't get defensive. While lashing out via social media might immediately feel good, you'll regret it later.

A good rule to remember is: Say it, forget it, write it, regret it. Once it's out there, it's out there.

Take a deep breath. Put your head down and walk away.

Cooler heads prevail.

Instead of spreading the negativity, spread positivity.

Be gracious in all your interactions.

Grace and humility go hand in hand.

Maybe, just maybe it isn't about you.
"Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you." -Else De Wolfe
How do you react to inflammatory posts? Do you read them and move on? Or do you respond? Have you every been cyberbullied or attacked on social media? If so, what did you do?

I'm linking up with DebRuns! Check it out.



74 comments :

  1. Social media has become a disguise for so many people. I often think about it this way: would I say what I'm posting in person? If I wouldn't, then I really try to refrain from saying it online.

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    1. And I read my comments before hitting post, to make sure they sound right and can't be misinterpreted!

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    2. Yes, agree with this 100%! So easy to be bravado and a jerk behind your keyboard. You are amazing to handle crappy situations with such grace and humility, Wendy! A model for all of us. Hugs!

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    3. I just didn't see the benefit of doing anything differently. It would have made me look bad, right? And after all, I have tons of families who come to see me because of the care I give. Funny how it takes one person to crush all that!

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  2. Social media is both a blessing and a curse. While I have not had any negative energy directed toward me (thankfully!), I have seen people be so nasty and rude, ecpecially on Facebook, and it makes me sad. I just wish people could learn to be a little nicer to one another!

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  3. Many years ago, I was the About.com Guide to graphic design (yes, I actually used to work, and that work was graphic design, not that you'd really know that from my site).

    I ran a very popular forum on graphic design as part of that work. So I had to be impartial, and sometimes (but not often) I was attacked.

    And believe it or not, one year it was an election year and eventually I had to ban all political talk. On a graphic design site! It wasn't a hugely popular decision with some posters, lemme tell you.

    So far, knock on wood, I've been pretty lucky in my social media interactions. But I'm also well aware that it's hard to read emotions into posts, and people often hit that send button with little or no thought.

    But it's like anything else in life: social media has many benefits -- I'd never have gotten to know you & so many other runners without it -- but of course it has its drawbacks, too, and anonymity is probably the major one (you did have to register to post on my past forum, so there was no complete anonymity there).

    Funny, I saw an interview with Helen Mirren yesterday. The interviewer asked her if she's glad social media wasn't around when she was starting out. She said that that is just today's generation's normal, just like for us having electricity, running water, and a landline was our normal -- and so they know nothing else.

    Interesting perspective!

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    1. I used to write a medical blog, and I was attacked for something I posted on another person's blog. It wasn't even inflammatory, but it rubbed that person the wrong way! I started getting trolled, and horrible things were said to me. I didn't respond to them, and eventually I took the whole thing down. I'm glad that hasn't happened here, but that experience with the disgruntled patient shook me to my core.

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  4. fortunately, no one has lashed out in my direction. But the stuff I see on social media is eye-rolling worthy. People (desperate for attention?)bragging about stupid actions, whining about their set-backs, or berating the politicians (instead of praising their favorite). Once it's "posted," it's there forever, for all the world to see. I don't watch much of the debates either....it is just like the bully on the playground.

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    1. I try to get those attention-seekers out of my newsfeed. I do love me some positivity!

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  5. It does get so ugly sometimes. I think people feel free to say whatever on social media because they can "hide" behind an avatar. Some of the crap on FB just blows my mind. I think some simply enjoy picking fights.

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    1. I agree. It's hard when it's a relative or someone you can't easily unfriend!

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  6. As much as I love social media, it has impacted our lives in such a huge, somewhat negative, way. I see it everyday in my high school students. They are so brave behind their screens and phones, but they have no real-life interaction skills. I loved everything about this post today!

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    1. You are so right. I hate to believe that social media is making people less cautious with what they say. But I think it's the truth...

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  7. It does take lots of self control at times to be gracious and not just blurt out or react. Like you say taking a deep breath and thinking for a minute can do wonders. We could use a little more gracious out there.

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    1. This was a great lesson for me. I tend to be reactive. Social media has taught me to walk away.

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  8. I Often forget what a mean cruel drama-filled backstabbing world is on Facebook. I don't have a clue what even my family is doing because I turn my head to negativity. It's truly unbelievable what people put out there. If they took as much time an effort throwing around do encouragement as they do slander God only knows what the world would be like. Keep your head up Wendy your inspiration is much needed.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Wouldn't it be great if people only posted positive things? Imagine?

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  9. I can't believe some of the things people will say on social media. Luckily I have not been the target of any negative comments but it can certainly happen to anyway. Nice job rising above it, I know it's not always easy to do!

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    1. What else can you do but be the bigger person? Even tho it's hard...

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  10. The issue with social media is that it is perfect for ungrateful cowards because they have something to hide behind. There is no way that they would say what they do if they had to say it to someone's face. I personally just don't have the time, inclination, or willingness to spend the energy being a little bitch.

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    1. I can't see you being a little bitch--it's not in your nature!

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  11. It always boggles my mind how cruel people can be! It's so hard to just rise above - but so important to not let them bring you down.

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    1. It's hard for me to understand being so public like that--if you have a problem fine, but go through the proper channels. Don't put it out there!

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  12. I have never been cyber-bullied and don't think I ever would because I would not engage AT ALL with that kind of -ish!
    That is not me.
    I don't try to make people happy...I work on me and if my happiness helps you AWESOME...if not move on.
    I stay away from negative people and situations....

    I love this...Say it, forget it, write it, regret it.

    -Tamieka-@fitballingrunningmom

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    1. I'd love to stay away from negative situations and people, but the nature of my job kind of makes that happen. It's up to me, like you said, to work on my reaction, my happiness! Some days are better than others...

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  13. You are so right about not being able to make everyone happy. Sorry to hear about that person expressing her dissatisfaction on social media. The problem is that if you dare stick your neck out in this world and try to do good, there is always at least one random person who will take out there own issues/negativity on you. I hope that most people reading that stuff on the web take it with a grain of salt.

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    1. I think most people know what it's all about. But what's most interesting to me is that people don't take the time to comment if they're satisfied. It's the disgruntled people who put it out there.

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  14. I love social media but I hate when people post and then think. And people who post their personal laundry.

    I have been lucky in that my friends are kind and supportive (at least where I can see it.)

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    1. Oh, the personal laundry people! That's a whole other post...

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  15. I think "Don't Get defensive" is such great advise. It is always my first instinct!

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  16. I love this post so much, Wendy. This is truly what people need to read! Grace and humility do go hand and hand and it takes a whole lot of both to be patient and compassionate. Who could lash out against you though? You're so composed and classy! I'm sorry to hear someone did but you just demonstrated how amazing you are by handling it with such grace.

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    1. I wish I could say I handled it gracefully--I didn't respond to it, but I was pretty down for a while after that. And that kind of snowballed into some negativity. It passed and I'm in a good place now.

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  17. This is my least favorite part of social media. I just don't understand it. I was raised with the saying "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I certainly don't agree with every thing I read, but there's this little x at the top of the browser - I click it and move on! It's a lot harder in person, but fighting back is useless most of the time.

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    1. 100% agree! And I usually remove them from my feed...

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  18. Gosh, I am so sorry you had to deal with someone that was negative to you. It happens every day, I know, but it doesn't make it any easier.

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    1. I deal with negativity most days, but taking it to social media was a whole new level. That was tough.

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  19. I am right there with you at the shock value of what some people post or say to one another. I've had a TON of horrible, ignorant comments on some of my freelance work (usually only when it's posted to FB!) and I have learned not to read them because it's so upsetting. I'm sorry you have had to deal with this lately but time will definitely help - that and knowing you did the right thing by being gracious.

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    1. That's the hard part about putting yourself out there. Being a blogger kind of insulates us, doesn't it?

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  20. Ugh, I totally get where you are coming from with ppl having their own agendas...the internet can be a good and a bad thing. You are so strong with handling this with grace.....so hard to do! I don't understand why ppl feel the need to be negative on sm....like Kate said, if you do not have something nice to say then its better to not comment!! I am so grateful to have found this link up and all the positive ladies and runners on here!

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    1. Isn't this community the best? I love our little bubble.

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  21. It's sad that some do not take a moment to stop before they speak (or hit send!). Words are very powerful and we have to use them kindly. It is difficult when one is attacked and not easy to let go. If only everyone could be "gracious"!

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  22. I agree with everything you said. I think this day in age with so many forms of social media it seems as if everyone wants to be heard (even if it means saying negativity). I don't get caught up in all that (although i've had some negative comments directed towards me). I stick with in my own little bubble and all is good.

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    1. Ugh to the negative comments! Why? why?

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  23. When I find myself in a situation at work where I feel like I am lacking grace or it is not coming naturally (this is usually in a situation involving parents, which I know you know a lot about) I remind myself that it is my JOB to be full of grace. That does not mean bowing to every parent's demands, but it does mean hearing them out on whatever issue they are contacting me about and conversing with them in a respectful, professional manner. I am sad that I can't just always NATURALLY feel graceful and that sometimes I only chose to do it because that is my job.

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    1. Because we have to, right? Sometimes it's really hard. And then sometimes you have some really awesome families that remind you why it is you do what you do.

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  24. Very thought-provoking post. I am quite sensitive and tend to take things very personally. I generally keep my mouth shut and avoid debate or sport arguing on social media. I've occasionally vented to people in private conversations but the second it is in writing it can be screen-shotted and sent around for people to interpret as they wish without any context or explanation. So frustration, as if it is high school. So now I don't write anything that could be misconstrued. Not worth the stress. And also makes me realize just HOW difficult it must be to be a teenager nowadays. And wow, your day job must be a challenge. I can only imagine. I have some stressful situations at work, too, but they are internal and not with the general public so the corporate culture tends to heavily influence people's behavior.

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    1. I think you and I are alike. I'm sensitive too, and while I know not to take things personally, sometimes I do.

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  25. Wow!!! I can say that I haven't personally had any major issues with this, at least not on social media. I do get the unsatisfied parent here and there, but the advantage of being in practice over ten years (I think it's 14 years now), is that you become confident in your methods and ways, and know that when someone is not happy, it is not you and it is them. It is best to not take it personally and move on. As far as social media, when I see someone's political posts are really upsetting me, I will usually just un-follow and not un-friend them, so that I don't have to see it in my news feed. I do give my political opinion on facebook sometimes...and while I generally try not to insult the other political party, when the individual is a flat out egotistical idiot, then I feel free to say so.

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    1. This was a first for me, but my partners have all experienced similar issues. I just think it's the nature of healthcare right now--it's more consumer driven. We work for a large group, and it's just bound to happen.

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  26. Love love this Wendy. It's so true about about fitness/running bubble. We surround ourselves with positivity in that bubble but I'm surrounded by the opposite at work. So many people never smile and I just think to my self it doesn't have to be that way.

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  27. Great insight. It is so hard to stay above the fray in the moment, but otherwise you end up spending so much time and energy on something that is only going to drag you down more.

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    1. It took me a while to work through this one, but I'm glad I didn't react.

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  28. i absolutely love your writing! what a great post. I've actually unfollowed everyone on Facebook save for a few people. The only news in my news feed is well, actual news. When I want to know what someone is up to I'll go to their page or - gasp - call them!! it was becoming a truly negative place and I needed to distance myself from that as well as give me back some time that was being sucked from constantly scrolling. I'm glad I was born and raised before social media - people were still bullies but at least I learned how to have a normal adult interaction without the safety net of a keyboard. Staying gracious is a true skill.

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    1. You are absolutely right--being gracious is a skill, and it's becoming less common!

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  29. I try to avoid getting into arguments on social media. Years ago, when it was still relatively new, I didn't hold back but I learned it it not worth the effort or the bad feeling it leaves me with. I have to avoid the comment sections on everything - they are just awful. I get the odd hate mail or tweet every other week and I usually just ignore. I am sorry someone felt they had to be an asshole to you. Good for you to rise above. (On a side note, my favorite response is ... I can't take your arguments seriously when you do not know the difference between your and you're or it's and it .... or something like that :)

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    1. Oh don't get me started on the bad grammar! Then there's no argument worth having with those people!

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  30. I avoid a lot of the social media, as you know. I'm blissfully unaware of the mean spirited stuff that goes on. I've got too much negative stuff to already deal with on a daily basis. It's all I can handle.

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    1. I think you're the smart one of all of us!

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  31. Yes, it seems social media can get ugly sometimes, like you said - we have to train ourselves to rise above.

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  32. hear! hear!!!

    you are so good. truly. thank you.

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  33. I agree too that it seems the world is becoming less respectful and that saddens me. I am ashamed of how the presidential candidates are acting and bullying each other. Is that who we want as role models for our children ?

    I am sorry you were the attack of negativity on social media. That has not happened to me yet, but I am sure it will. I just try to ignore things. Anything negative ? I can pretty much put up a shield.

    We need to be more gracious.

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    1. I wish I could put up a shield. I guess I'm good with a poker face, but inside, I'm crying!

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  34. i usually read things and move on..it does provoke lots of thoughts though.

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    1. I move on as well. No point in stirring the pot!

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  35. Good post, it made me think. I think that in life there will always be those negative people and it is sad. I think a lot of the people who are so nasty in social media are hurting. They obvious have a lot of pain, and instead of turning inward to deal with it (which is harder) they turn outward and try to cause pain on others. If I am strong that day I try to feel sorry for them and try to remember that they are in pain. But sometimes, it's not that easy, and it does get to me. Thanks again for this great post.

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    1. That's a great way to look at those negative people, and I'm going to try to remember that!

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  36. I haven't been attacked or had nasty comments on my blog or any of my social media platforms yet. I'm with you, I try to only follow positive people on FB, and if anyone or a page I follow starts getting depressing or too preachy, I either hide them or quit following. I got there to relax and unwind.

    Thanks for linking up!

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  37. This is why I am going to yoga tonight. Too much negativity in the world!

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