Sunday, September 12, 2010

Operation Nice

I am no saint by any stretch of the imagination. But I am generally nice. It doesn’t take much to be nice. Even if you, like me, frequently despair for the future of the human race due to all around ignorance and obtuseness, I find that in one-on-one situations, I am far more inclined to be nice than not.

This is why I was absolutely gutted when two strangers, without any provocation, recently criticized me on a blogging site. I hadn’t asked for a critique, but I sure enough got one. And it wasn’t pretty. It actually felt mean spirited to me, and senseless. It made me cry. Because any feedback I have ever gotten for my blog has been positive. My blog, and its readers, have been among the only consistently good things in my life over the past two and a half years. I’ve lost jobs, I’ve had multiple unsuccessful surgeries on my broken shoulder, I have been in constant pain and Multiple Sclerosis has progressed, but my readers have held me up time and again with endless encouragement and love.

To have two strangers tell me I sounded annoying and boring was crushing. It wasn’t asked for. It wasn’t called for. And it wasn’t very nice.

I have read some blogs that were practically illiterate they were so bad. I have seen people write some really stupid things. But I would never tell the writers that, ever. The fact that they make the attempt to get out there is a brave act by itself. Who am I to criticize them? It is a classic case of having nothing good to say, I will say nothing at all. Why would I deliberately hurt someone in that way?

While still smarting from the unsolicited disparagement (ok, obsessing; happy?!?), I accidentally came across a blog created by a girl right here in New Jersey. It is called Operation Nice, subtitled Encouraging Individuals to be Proactively Nice. Right, an accident. Once again, when I am at a low point, I have had something put in my path that reminds me there is the potential for much goodness in the world.

Melissa’s blog contains stories of people being extraordinarily nice, not simply holding the door for someone. Her sidebars are loaded with tips and ideas for being nice, including this one: “Paying someone a compliment can actually decrease your level of anxiety.” Her philosophy is a simple one. We improve the world one kind encounter at a time.

I will never tell someone “the whiny intro here certainly doesn't do anything to inspire anyone to take an interest in your blog”. Or that their blog evoked “shrugs” after reading “a few sentences”. There is absolutely nothing to be gained in saying that to someone. I would rather be part of Operation Nice.




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21 comments:

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

I hope you feel better today. As I mentioned on my Tribal Blogs response, it may take a day to shed all that negativity. Try to move onto something else and let it go. The people over at that site never realize how their words can be hurtful. They just shoot from the hip, click "Reply", then leave. They won't think twice about what they said. I like your philosophy about spreading niceness. You know that's better, I know that's better. Those people don't hang out at that site to spread cheer. They feel like they can say anything -- all the while knowing it's hurtful -- and who wants to even be around those people?

Chin up, girl. Better days ahead.

Pricilla said...

You want Abby. She butts like heck.

Muffie said...

Marie, I'm so sorry that some people were inconsiderate. I found your blog a little while ago by accident, and I really look forward to your posts. Another New Jerseyan (ite?) here, and I agree that it helps us so much when we're just nice to each other. It's not always the essiest, but it certainly relieves stress, and in thet end, makes us feel better ourselves.
Peace,
Muff

happyskinnygirl said...

I agree,it doesn't take much to be nice. Some people just don't care so never mind them. Just only connect with nice people.Let the rest go.

The Mother said...

There is no excuse for going to a blog just to rag out the writer. If you don't like what you see, just move on.

Of course, their opinion is worth almost as much as their tact.

Marie said...

Kathy: Excellent advice to move on! I thought it would be harder, but I am doing so much better. I never experienced that kind of nastiness, so it was a shock. Better days ahead indeed! :)

Pricilla: I would love Abby to butt those butts! lol

Muffie: I am grateful for your comments and glad you found my blog. I love Melissa's site and her message.

Jessica: You are so right to not mind them, especially when I am surrounded by so many truly wonderful people.

TM: That's it exactly, why would you even do that if you don't like the blog?!? There are so many great sites out there where you can actually contribute something positive.

As always, thank you all for being such faithful readers and commenters!! xoxo

Val said...

Marie that just breaks my heart :( What idiots.
Your blog is so sweet and inspiring. And even if (when ) you have low days, it is YOUR prerogative to say whatever you want on YOUR blog. Sheesh! Not a difficult concept to follow.
I hope this doesn't bring you too down. Some people are just not nice :(

Marie said...

Val, thanks so much for your sweet word. I have such nice readers already. {{hugs}}

Your remark about it being my blog reminds me a t-shirt I saw in a catalog that said "I am SO blogging this!" And so I did. lol

I do admit I have a tendency to overreact just a teeny bit. Hey, overreaction is what makes life interesting. lol

But those remarks were intended to be hurtful and they were. I am following Melissa's site. I choose NICE.

Myrna R. said...

Marie,

You know when people put someone else down, it's usually to elevate themselves because they feel inferior or insecure.

Have pity on those poor souls, who actually thought they had something to gain by mean criticism.

I like the blog you recommend. And by the way, I like yours and don't feel alone or awkward. I would be devastated too, then recover and go on, like you're doing.

debe said...

wow Marie, I thought I commented on this yesterday, and do not see it, so will do so now:

GET OVER IT

sorry

you never expect to see a severe comment or remark in your own blog, so it does cut deep.

nasty comments are from nasty people

Marie said...

Myrna: Once again your generous words remind me how lucky I was to find your blog. Although I don't believe it was luck, I believe it was meant. Thank you.

Debe: I love that you don't pull any punches!! lol I think I actually am over it! Initially I was shocked, but it wasn't long before I put in perspective. Loving friends and thirty years of therapy helped. lol Thank you my dear friend. xoxo

P.S. I have been finding the same issue with thinking I left comments only to find them not there. I don't know whether I am forgetting to hit the right send button or what, but it is disconcerting! I am so glad you returned to tell me what I needed to hear.

Jen said...

Mean people suck. Don't listen to those haters, they have nothing better to do and they are probably very unhappy people. Feel pity for them and then move on.

Patti-Cake said...

Marie, sweetheart - there are mean people in the world. It sucks....but it is a fact of life. Some people seem to derive energy or satisfaction from cutting other people down.

My opinion is you have to take it in the broader context - and, that is - since these wing nuts are the only 2 people EVER to be so negative....write them off as fringe lunatics. Heh.

You know you are surrounded by people who know you, who love you, and who choose to come to your blog and want to read what you write.

Please don't let people who don't know you make you feel bad.

I mean, isn't that what family is for? (Big grin. :) )

Shrug it off my friend.

And keep writing. You are really good.

XOXO

cube said...

Some people don't understand the difference between constructive criticism and nasty comments. Don't let them get you down. They are using the anonymity of the internet to assuage their own weak self images.

Meandu said...

It is terrible when someone says something inconsiderate to another. I am sorry that this happened to you. I like it when people offer constructive criticism. I enjoy comments from others as well, particularly if something in my post has sparked something with the reader. But I truly believe that if people do not like a blog or the blogger then they should leave-quietly.

Dirty Butter said...

This is my first time to see your blog, but I'm sorry that you've had such inconsiderate comments. I imagine I would react the same way, and feel just as hurt. The head says they are jerks and their words don't matter...the heart is not always so tough.

Thanks for stopping by my Yesterday's Memories blog. You might also like to read some of my Day by Day with a Movement Disorder blog, particularly some of the older posts when I was incorrectly diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Marie said...

Wow, I am so touched by the reaction this post has generated!!

Jen: Excellent advice!! Thank you!

Patti-Cake: Oh, my sweet, dear friend!!! You are SO right! About everything. As always! :D

Cube: Thank you so much for stopping by!! Isn't it interesting/sad what people will say when they think they are relatively anonymous? Cowards.

Meandu: So nice to meet you! As I said, if I don't like what I have read I just move on. What would I get out of offending someone?

Dirty Butter: Can I just say first it is very difficult to call you that! lol At any rate, thank you so much for your kind words. I will stop by and do some more reading as well. ;)

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and kind comments!! I truly appreciate you stopping by.

Jane Turley said...

Well obviously those folks don't have a shred of humour! It's quite apparent on reading your blog you a wonderful disparaging sense of humour. If they can't see that they must be daft! And I totally agree with you - if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all - especially where blogs are concerned because they are very personal. A blog isn't like a book or a product with a price tag attached to it - it's just like an open diary and to that extent people should be a little more discerning.

Operation Nice is a wonderful idea but do you think Melissa could go into rehab for a month and we all go over to that website and give 'em an ear bashing.... what d'you reckon?! You know...just for fun:)))

Marie said...

JANE!!! (dancing around) It's Jane, it's Jane!!!

Oh Jane it is SO GOOD to see you!!!

You are a true balm to my soul, to wax Victorian! lol Thank you for totally agreeing with me. That is only one of the reasons I love you so much.

Melissa is awfully nice, isn't she? She would never approve of us kicking ass. lol But it was at BLOG CATALOG Jane!! The very place I discovered you, so it was especially disappointing. And what is even more odd, one of the people who dismissed me so rudely had only just written a post about internet civility a few days before!!

It's a funny old world Jane.

Anji said...

I'd like to add to the people who've encouraged you. I try to smile at people I meet every day. It doesn't cost much and I feel happy doing it.
(smiles)

Marie said...

Thank you Anji! I appreciate your thoughtfulness. :)