As a person who uploads their day to day business, shares moments, emotions and some random stuff, you will always find people who are not happy with the way you are, the way you act, the way you walk down your path and the way you handle things. This is natural and will happen to you even if you’re not blogging, instagramming or posting videos on YouTube: there will always be people you get along with and people that are not quite your type. But while doing social media, you „meet“ way more people and way more people feel like getting involved in your lifestyle and will tell you – sometimes in a really rude way – what you are doing wrong in your life, no matter which direction you are going or what you are doing.
A while ago I used to take everything personally. Wanted to react to every negative comment, explain myself and that way deal with the negative comments. Today I am a bit wiser and deal with criticism in a different kind of way. A way, that is also criticized but gives me much more peace. I simply ignore it.
Ignoring negative comments is often seen as someone not being realistic about whatever they are doing. But in my opinion it is different. I am being realistic about my goals, about my riding, about my talents, my life, my job. I am proud of the person I’ve become, the way my business is developing and how everything is turning out. I am happy and not happy about different aspects of my life, I am my biggest critic and people (who really know me) always keep telling me to not be too hard on myself, because I always want to do better, no matter what I am doing. When people write negative comments about you, it is their point of view and also their problem. I am not resistant to criticism, not at all, but over time I learned which critics are really wanting to help and which ones simply want to leave their frustration on me. I am not saying that everyone who is criticizing other people on the internet is being a troll, but I am saying that their criticism is their opinion, their truth and their business.
In my life I have many wonderful people, who spend time with me in real life. Who know me, my goals, my habits, my strengths, my weaknesses, who know me at my best and at my worst. They are the ones I truly depend on. It’s the same when it comes to riding, having trainers by your side who are being honest with you is wonderful, no need for internet riding instructors to tell you where your weaknesses lie – probably all the criticism was already seen by a professional rider and probably the rider-horse-trainer-team is already working on it – but just like Rome wasn’t built in one day habits don’t change over night. I read all of your comments, every single one, I also read a lot of criticism (good and bad) and got a lot of useful tips through your criticism. But at the end of the day I am living my life for myself, in order for me to be happy. If someone is not happy about me going out competing with my horse at my first international show because they think we are not ready, if someone is not happy about me switching my language because they think I am being ungrateful to my German follower, if someone is not happy about me buying another horse, if someone is not happy about me dying my hair – then it is their own opinion and their point of view. But I won’t let anyone whom I don’t even know have an impact on my life or the way I behave or the decisions I’m going to take. No one should, that’s just not smart!
But who am I to judge those thoughts? I myself am holding on to my opinion that I want to live and let other people live. Not reacting to negative comments doesn’t mean that I am up in the blue sky, ignoring negative aspects and acting as if my life and actions were perfect all day every day. I am not your scale – but I am my scale! It simply means that my life is too short for negativity, I want to enjoy the beautiful things, I want to pursue my dreams and don’t care if not everyone is satisfied with the way I am doing so.
In my opinion there are only two options: either you agree with me or you disagree with me. Both is cool, both is great, because we are all individuals who have different standards in mind. But before running around, commenting on other people’s pages what they are doing wrong, try to put yourself in that situation: you’ve just achieved a milestone, done something new for the first time, changed your hair color, ate a burger – whatever. How would you feel if a total stranger felt like he had the right to tell you that you are a total idiot? Probably not as good as before. Putting others down and writing criticism in a mean kind of way says more about you than about the person you are criticizing. And the worst thing is, many people call their insults „constructive criticism“, which means they don’t even notice how harsh they sound.
People who share aspects of their life on social media are often torn apart and when they want to defend themselves many people feel like they are not allowed to do so because it’s their fault being criticized in the first place due to their online presence. But in my opinion the only person who should question their behavior is the one spreading negativity. Being unkind is something that is always wrong. You wouldn’t be nasty to a classmate, just because she/he decided to go on a year abroad just because you don’t approve. You wouldn’t be mean to a girl at your barn for chasing her dreams just because you think that she’s not talented enough. You wouldn’t be mean to the lady at the bakery just because you really had a bad day. So why be mean to other people on social media? There’s no need. Just start living your own life to your own standards and quietly shake your head while disagreeing with the path others chose. Just because you don’t approve or would do it differently it doesn’t mean it is wrong. You are better than that. All of you.