When was the last time you've received a negative, hurtful comment on your blog, article or even your Facebook post?
It happened to me quite recently after I wrote an article for Huffington Post, "10 Hungarian Habits I Lost When I Moved to the US", an article written for entertainment purposes for an American audience.
Somehow one of the Hungarian newspapers found my article, they translated it, shortened it and published it with a link to the original. The shortened translation was full of grammar and spelling mistakes. But I was still thinking positive. I felt that it is still a good way to reach a wider audience that the Hungarian readers would refer to the original article, have a smile out of it, and even find my more serious work on holistic health, healing and self-development.
Then I made a mistake: I read the comments. I was overwhelmed by the negative comments below the post: being called a trader, stupid, fake and words I can't even repeat. I was shocked. I got sad. I was in tears.
I was in tears for hours. Then I stopped.
I realized this was the nature of the social media and the internet.
Over the years I got stronger and stronger. I learned not to be influenced by the opinion of others so much. I learned that I can choose to be positive and happy.
Yet, at times I still let people put me down. This was one of those times. My old patterns came back and I felt like that kid again that was hated, not good enough and nobody wanted to play with in kindergarten. I let myself to be influenced by meaningless and negative comments by strangers releasing their own frustration on terrible translation of my article. I let myself to mope around, to cry, to feel ashamed and to regret everything from the past 32 years.
Then I realized: I was only hurting myself.
I realized that I CAN choose otherwise. So I wiped down my tears. I moved on. I chose otherwise. I chose happiness instead.
But this likely not the last time this will happen. This is the nature of the internet. This is the nature of social media. This comes with putting yourself out there. You will receive negative and hurtful comments. Sometimes many. I am not talking about clever arguments, disagreements or constructive criticism, but unacceptable and hurtful words.
However, there are ways to deal with negative comments on the internet.
Don't read comments. This may be the best way to go. Put your message out there and just leave it. People can get negative if they want to, but you will simply not see their comments if you choose not to read them.
Realize that it is not about you. Usually negative comments are not about you. It is about them. When people say or write negative things it is because of their own pain: they release their anger, frustration and sadness through their hurtful comments seemingly directed to you. Understand that you have no idea what is their background, what are they going through and why are they so angry. Forgive them and end them positive vibes.
Realize that negative comments mean popularity. Yes, the more popular your article or blog gets, the more likes, shares and positive messages you will receive. But negative comments also drive readers. Sometimes they drive even more traffic than positive comments or a simple like. Funny enough, negative comments can help you to reach readers who actually need to and want to read your message.
Turn negatives into positives. It is absolutely possible to turn the negative comments into positive ones. You can address specific comments or the general attitude in a separate post in a positive manner. You can learn from it and find a way to moderate your blog the best possible way for you. You can grow as a person by learning how to deal with negativity. Or like me, you can write an article on sharing how to deal with negative comments.
Breathe, ignore, move on and choose otherwise. If you happen to read a hurtful comment - or perhaps a series of them, like I did - just take a couple of deep breaths. Decide to ignore their negative words. Decide to move on. Choose not to be hurt by them. Smile and choose otherwise. Choose love and happiness instead.
I did choose and continue to choose love and happiness.