I would give myself a pass mark when it comes to being excited for people, and encouraging those around me in what they’re doing. I know how great it feels for someone to take interest in what you do and take time out to drop a word of encouragement. I understand we go through a lot, and taking your eyes off self and your struggles to be a voice of encouragement to someone else is a great sacrifice.
A friend mentioned his friend’s about to be published magazine, he was excited about it and that got me excited. I was given a copy and I loved the concept as it’s something I’ve thought about doing myself, but I couldn’t help noticing a lot of typos/grammatical errors that could have been avoided, especially if the fellow was looking at going nationwide in distribution. See, I had big dreams for another’s dream. Thus with that mindset, when I randomly bumped into the publisher, I excitedly commended and advised.
It wasn’t a nice experience; I left her presence feeling stupid as my well-meaning advice got a stoic reception.
I’m usually the reserved type, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk to people, so when it was dropped in my heart to reach out, and when I actually stepped out of my comfort zone to be a voice of encouragement(?), I was hurt.
I even put myself down as I spoke, just to clear the air that it wasn’t beef. I talked about how as much as I go through my blog posts before posting; there are still a lot of errors that I could avoid. That’s why I invested in an editor for my book, and even after the manuscript got back from the editor over a year ago, I went through another editing phase because I want perfection, or near perfection.
My humble advice was for the next edition, the summary of what I was trying to say was, take time out with the editing, invest in it, because this is great work, make people impressed with the quality of the way the content is presented. If you’re going to reach out to sponsors at some points, they wouldn’t be interested in mediocrity. That’s all I was trying to say. Well, my advice wasn’t well received; I was told it was only one or two typos in a not so friendly manner…. Ahhh, I felt stupid, I felt bad, I felt horrible. God, why did you let me put myself out there if I was going to be received in this way? Why didn’t you let me mind my business?
I left with a heavy heart, and as soon as I got home, I got a pen and my copy of the publication, ready to go on a highlighting spree, to highlight every error I could find… and that’s with my layman eyes (I’m sure I would have been willing to send it to an editor just to prove a point beyond my point). I was going to show this person. But as I started doing this, I heard in my heart to stop and get over myself… I followed the leading of my heart to reach out the first time, and that was enough. The first time I reached out, I was doing it in love, this time, I was doing it to spite, to prove a point, with nothing close to love, and so I dropped it and let it be. I have avoided having to exchange any pleasantries with this person; I act like I never mentioned anything to her at all and we’ve never exchanged words. So much for Christian me, right?
When it comes to opinions, where do we draw the line? When do we take inspiration from Kermit the frog? I know we don’t always like corrections and other people’s opinions. (But we receive it better when it’s given in love.) I’ve heard great things about this blog and my writing, both from the sincere ones and those who just want to kiss butt. But every once in a while, I get the unpleasant comments. One was, I got bored when reading. I smiled in response and accepted the judgment with grace on the outside, but rejected it within. What was I to say? I wanted to wring his neck, but I kept my calm, don’t read if you’re bored, close the page, no one is forcing you, I didn’t beg you to look for my site. I hate criticism as well, but I receive it well, and after I have fumed (not in the face of the one who speaks), I think over the issue and evaluate. (Remember, not all criticisms are worth mulling over….)
When you notice a wrong, do you keep quiet because you are unsure of how your opinion or advice would be received, or do you still reach out because you feel you have to? Do you only reach out when it’s in love, or do you feel glee in correcting with subtle spite?
Where do you draw the line? Where do you hold your peace? Are you only to reach out to your family and closest friends? Isn’t it wicked to see someone doing something wrong (or something that can be better) even a stranger, in an area you have a degree of knowledge in and ignore it with that infuriating Kermit look?
My experience has given me cold feet. I go Kermit more often than I should now.