This has been an interesting week for sure. Amidst all the excitement I was feeling about my book being published, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that others wouldn’t share that joy.
While I don’t believe, for the most part, that people intend to be hurtful, that doesn’t change the fact that words can sting the heck out of someone.
I work in a place that can be fraught with negativity on any given day, and I truly try my hardest to make the room I walk into a better place when I leave than when I got there. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, as some words can suck the breath right out of me.
Like the first time I got an “exceeds expectations” on my annual evaluation and I felt led to share it with a “friend” that also works there. Her words were, “I don’t want to bring you down, but it doesn’t matter what you do around here, it’s whether they like you or not.”
And the first time I received the employee of the month award, and a co-worker stated that it’s only a popularity contest.
This past week I hung a flyer up on the refrigerator door in the break room about my book being on Amazon and that I will have copies the week of the 23rd should anyone desire to buy one, well…
Co-worker: “So I hear you’re a writer. I read what your book is about and you do know there’s a book/movie with a similar plot line. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”
Me: “I don’t think I have.”
Co-worker: “When I think of the name I’ll let you know. I’m sure you know it.”
Me: Nothing. Sometimes there simply isn’t a suitable response.
Co-worker: “I heard you published a book. How did you do that?”
Co-worker: “So I see you published a book. Congratulations.”
Me: “Yes, I have. Thank you so much.”
Co-worker: “I don’t know how you can have the time. I would never have the time to do something like that.”
While the words themselves don’t appear too hurtful, the tone and body language that accompanied them were.
I also received supportive, positive comments like:
“I like to have friends who are ‘doers.'”
“You really are my inspiration.”
“I’m so thrilled for you!”
In fact the supportive comments were much greater in number. But negativity can carry quite the punch, leaving the soul battered and bruised without knowing what even happened.
Said flyer came down until my thin skin grows a bit thicker, and I can sift out the harsh criticisms from the kindness.
In the meantime, I pray I’m aware of my words–and the way they’re conveyed–as I write and speak; that my words build another up, rather than tear another down. That they help rather than hurt.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
And I pray I use the negative for positive, not letting the enemy get his foot in the door. I have stories to tell, and I’m going to tell them. After all, isn’t that what we writers do?
Write on, my writer friends. 🙂
Here is a short video that proves the power of words and is well worth taking a moment to watch. 🙂