3 Lessons Learned on My Trip to the High Road

This weekend was...weird. I was confronted on several occasions by the fact that not all is unicorns and rainbows in TNR land. It seems there are people who don't like me (WHAT?!?! I know, right?!!? Curse you, LIFE!), and there are people who not only call my actions into question, but pretty much believe that--contrary to everything I've done to prove otherwise--I am an awful person.

Ouch.

To make matters worse, because of the glories of the Internet, these people think it's fun to air their grievances in a public forum. So I guess that means I've hit the big time, right? Er, something like that?

Well, y'all know how I like to break it down, so let's do this thing, list style. I'm thinking it'll help me feel better, and maybe it'll help if this situation ever happens to you.

1. "Fight or flight" is not my only option

When confronted, I want to do one of two things just like any other animal: I either wanna get all Jersey Shore up in this bitch (earrings OUT), or move far away for ever and ever and never come back.

What I'm learning is that life doesn't typically reward either option, so you gotta create a third: pretend you're dead.

Kidding! I do think there is a third option, though, and that is the option of the High Road. Taking the High Road means that:

  • you are aware of what is going on in the situation
  • you take stock of the lessons you could possibly learn from the situation
  • you then move on with your life.

Here's the thing with the High Road, though. It doesn't feel nearly as good as the instant payoff of Fight. It's not nearly as comfortable as Flight. It's freaking hard and requires that you push down your more baser instincts in hope that a few days (weeks? months?) from now you'll feel better knowing you did the Right Thing.

This is where your mom-voice kicks in, though...it might not be easy, but do it anyway.

(PS-This whole being a grown-up thing is lame.)

2. Dissatisfaction is inevitable for any brand/product/service

I think if anyone spends any amount of time on this blog or with me in person, there will be no confusion about what I find to be important. I don't always conduct myself perfectly, and I'm STILL working on thinking before I speak, so it's entirely possible I've been offensive at some point. And if I've been offensive, I'll do my best to own up to that, and apologize if necessary.

BUT, if there is a situation where people just don't like what I'm sellin'...well hey. There's not a lot I can do about that. I can't spend the rest of my life continually trying to justify the things I've built my brand around and have been very careful to take a stand on to the few people who just don't get it.

3. "Isn't it better to have shitty people NOT like you?"

I was venting to a friend and was getting all riled up about how I needed to PROVE myself to these shitty people, and even if they didn't LIKE me, they should RESPECT me! (Imagine hands flailing, my voice rising in pitch to the timbre of a seventh grade boy, and much pacing.)

My friend said patiently:

"Re-examine the situation. Isn't it better to have shitty people NOT like you?"

I sat stunned for a moment. My friend, of course, is right. If you're really building a community of people around you with your product, brand, presence, or life, you must interact on a regular basis with that community. In other words, I don't get to just write shit here and then never engage with those of you who choose to read and listen.

So if there are people out there who read and listen and are shitty people to me in return, I don't really WANT to interact with those kinds of people. I don't know that I necessarily want them to be a part of my community, because if they're a part of my community, it means I have to take time away from the not-shitty people to waste energy on the shitty people.

And that, friends, is not fair to those of you who are awesome.

So yeah. Here is who I am. You can weigh me in the balance and find that I am wanting. Fine.

But I choose to not engage with you. I will not get all Snookie on your ass (you would feel validated in your opinion) and I will not hide (you will feel powerful in your opinion). If you'd like to address me in private for something I've done that truly offends your moral sensibilities, let's talk. I'm all for that. But if you want to air your opinions in a public forum, talk about me maliciously behind my back, or try to ruin my reputation with your twisted misery, I will not engage.

And there you are. Lessons learned. Now where's my cookie?