You probably haven’t read anything quite like this before.
I received a comment to my blog post entitled Beautiful and Smart, But Unlucky in Love: The Reasons Why from someone named Brenda. Here is the comment in full:
You seem to really dwell on the part where women get older and lose their looks. I could even sense some anger or revenge in your words. I then realized that the bald ugly old picture of a man at the top of the article was a picture of you. Then it all made sense. I would never take any advise [advice] or criticism from an disgustingly ugly human being like yourself who claims to be a professional.
Anyway, spelling problems and missing commas aside, pretty strong words. As you might have noticed on the page that contains this post, I have had over 500,000 views of my blog, but never anything like this in response to it. Not even close. So you might wonder, how does one deal with criticism such as this?
First, although I have Brenda’s full name and email address, I have done her the favor of not posting her comment and making her a target of others. My guess is that she might possibly not be a happy soul. Anyway, most of us have enough crap in our lives without starting an email war.
I’m able to adopt this stance, in part, because I don’t take what she said too personally. Let’s look at her attack. She said that I am “bald ugly old” and that I am “a man.” It seems to me that she is right on at least three out of four! I am clearly bald and have even written a humorous blog post about that condition: Bald is Beautiful: Reflections on Hairlessness. I am also undeniably old and I am a man. On the question of ugly, I do not believe that I am Brad Pitt, but I’ll let you, dear reader, determine if I am ugly for a man of my antique age.
One of the things about beauty, in men or women, is that age tends not to improve outward physical things. Think about Robert Redford. He is now long past his heart-throb years — a man who once made women swoon. But I digress. So, yes, it is true I am not a stud-muffin. But, neither am I particularly vain, so Brenda’s remaining point — that I am ugly — isn’t a big concern either way.
Oh, but she added I am a “disgustingly ugly human being.” Has Brenda been talking with my neighbors? Seriously, her words here are so “over the line” that I think she discredits herself and reduces the strength of her entire diatribe against me.
In short, my response to this person is that it is difficult for me to take what she is saying to heart. Yes, it is intended to cause personal injury, but she doesn’t know me and she seems to have a “bee in her bonnet” for reasons I can’t possibly know, since I don’t know her either. Were someone to take issue with my posts in a more reasonable, less ad hominem fashion, then I would have to give their concerns more thought. And, if someone close to me whom I respected had criticisms, then I would definitely consider them seriously, at least to some degree.
Another helpful way to respond to Brenda is to take a rather “Zen” approach to her, using an insight from Buddhist teachings (although I’m not Buddhist). That is, to look at what I might learn from her or to find some way in which she has actually done me a service. For example, if you ever find yourself stuck in a slow-moving line of traffic, you might realize its slowness actually gives you a chance to practice being patient. Looking for “the good” tends to make you feel better than sitting and fuming.
Just so, it is pretty easy to frame what Brenda has written as something useful to me. No, I’m not at the cosmetic surgeon’s office as I write this, now that I am aware of Brenda’s delicately delivered assessment of my appearance. But, she has done me, and perhaps you, one favor.
She gave me the idea for this blog post.
The top image as called a Cartoon of a Man with No Hair and No Real Face by Catboi. The image of Brad Pitt is by Chris_Natt. Both are sourced from Wikimedia Commons.