Something came up today, and it was another lesson-learned kind of incident. I've always hoped to lend something to others in life. Not because I think I'm some experienced guru, but because I believe everything happens for some reason or another, and if you can't grow and learn from the experience, then there was no point in having it. Both good and bad incidents are memorable. I've learned to love the good because God was kind enough to share them with me. I've learned to mature from the bad, because He brought me through them with a lesson in hand. If I don't share the knowledge I gain from both, I'm taking it for granted and it was a wasted effort all around.
Now, because it's important to know: I'm not an overly emotional person; I tend to be snarky and somewhat sarcastic, though never in a malicious way. But overall, I'm a decent person by rational standards.
The thing that happened today (which I hope turns out to be a misunderstanding, though I suspect otherwise) really upset me. Someone I had a fair amount of confidence in, made a very negative remark about something I hold dear. My intent was to send information about something I thought the commenter would find interesting. So not only was it passed over with criticism, it became an attack on a path I'd chosen for myself.
At first I was shocked and hurt that the commenter would say something so low and rude...then anger crept in. It took every part of my will not to light into the commenter and say what I had to say because he/she not only offended me, but many of those I hold very dear! But after a few dozen times of hurt feelings, arguments, and moments of regret, I've learned to shut up until I'm not mad anymore. I kindly passed on a message of, "I made made in mistake in thinking you'd be interested," and left it alone.
But my anger hadn't subsided. So I sucked my wonderful friend into the mix, (sorry, girl ;) and polluted her day with it. Maybe I shouldn't have done that, but I needed an out, and she's always so willing to listen to my rants and raves. You don't know how much I appreciate your virtual shoulder, Trish :)
After I thoroughly talked it out though, it dawned on me. Why do I even care? What does this mean-spirited person even mean to me? Suddenly, I found myself feeling sorry the commenter. Clearly, he/she is either having a bad day, or they're not happy in their own existence. This isn't a condescending remark on my part. I'm not trying to seem holy or better-than by making a nice statement when my intent is to "be more mature" about it. It's a sad state.
I will, however, make this distinction because it involves more than just me. The route I and others choose in Indie publishing is an admirable one. We are making our own futures. I'm building my own platform, which is absolutely no different than what commenter has done! When choosing to be independent, the author shoulders everything. We're the ones paying for editors and cover designers. We're the ones doing the leg work in marketing and distribution. How others see this as rolling over or an easy way out is beyond me. I've never worked so hard at anything. So to be fair and speak as a group of entrepreneurs: WE, my friend, are the dedicated ones. And if anyone has a problem with that, feel free to walk away now. We don't infringe on your turf, so show the same respect and leave ours alone.
Always remember, people come and go in life. Some, like my wonderful writing family, are meant to build you up and encourage you. Others, they're only purpose is to tear you down and become a stumbling block or snare.
Cherish those you love. Walk away from the rest.
Learn from the darkness--just don't become part of it. Because at the end of the day, I can hold my head up knowing I didn't give into my flesh and say something cruel and mean-spirited. When it comes down to it, integrity is more important than the last word.
***Please note: This is isn't meant to serve as an excuse to assault anyone else. It's lesson in forgiveness and walking in love. Just saying. :)