One of the reasons I have waited so long to take my blogging more seriously is because I am terrified of confrontation. Seriously terrified.
The idea of someone disagreeing with me, of being wrong, of offending someone, that all gives me so much anxiety that having a space to share and build community didn’t seem worth it.
I’ll give you an example. Recently I decided to sell our stash of pocket cloth diapers. We didn’t have much luck with them and are planning to use a different setup for any future children we are blessed with so there was no point in keeping them around – we are trying to declutter anyway and could use the money.
So I listed them on a few local BST sites. I had checked several previous listings to see what they were going for and priced accordingly. These are diapers that had been used maybe 6 months. Some staining but elastics are still in perfect condition. I know what I paid for them and I adjusted my expectations based on what others were selling for. So I posted them. I sold a few right away. Sweet! Then a negative nelly commented that I was asking way too much and didn’t I know there’s a newer model out and I was asking more than some places were selling them new. And I lost it.
My hands started shaking. I was sweaty, heart racing, mind racing, close to tears.
From one little comment from someone I didn’t know and probably never would.
I immediately started searching. I felt like I had done my due diligence before selling them. I certainly wasn’t out to rip someone off. I couldn’t find where she was seeing these prices because I couldn’t find them.
I went back and forth – do I ignore it, do I respond? How do I respond that seems respectful but doesn’t make the previous commenter who is supposed to pick up and pay for them tomorrow decide not to buy?
I formulated what I felt was a perfectly respectful response. That part I’m usually good at since I write for a living (professionally, I don’t really consider this blog my living since I make no money!). She responded with a site and that if you combine such and such coupons with such and such clearance sale then you can get them for this price. And she bought such and such diapers at such and such price from someone else a while ago.
I sighed. I can’t beat that.
But the thing that bothers me is what was the point of her commenting in the first place? Why do people get such a thrill of taking a negative approach to something? Surely if no one expressed interest in my diapers I’d get the hint that maybe my price point needs to be reevaluated. Why alienate potential buyers? I wasn’t charging an unfair price. I wasn’t duping anyone who just didn’t know any better.
Anyway, this story reminded me a lot of my journey with blogging and life in general. I often forsake expressing an opinion for fear of confrontation. I just can’t handle it. Seriously. Have you ever cried in the middle of a college class? Because I have! (more than once…)
As I age I realize that confrontation, disagreements, are unavoidable. And that I must turn to my relationship with Christ to discover the root of my anxieties.
Did you know the most commonly repeated phrase in the Bible is “Be Not Afraid” or “Have No Fear”? How reassuring? How comforting?! Fear and anxiety is a human condition and is not something to be ashamed up. Anxiety itself is an evolutionary response to stress. Only through Christ can we find peace, confidence, self-worth and safety. Only through a genuine relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There are some beautiful quotes here from scripture and the saints. My favorite is ”Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?\” – St. Gerard Majella – who also happens to be a favorite saint of mine! I also saved this list for when I’m looking for a new saint to study. This is another great piece on how saints also struggled with anxiety.
Humans don’t all think or act the same way and when you have something as big as the world wide web, you are exposed to an exponentially larger group of potential naysayers. I’m learning to embrace that potential and learn from it. Who cares if someone on the internet doesn’t like you? Who cares if they disagree with you? What can you learn from it? Maybe you really didn’t do as good a job at researching a topic as you thought. Maybe they can explain something in a way you hadn’t heard yet. Maybe you just plain ole disagree. Those are all fine! Embrace the challenge, digest it, adjust if necessary, and move. on.
I’m definitely still a work in progress when it comes to this but I’m getting there, one step at a time!