How I Survived My First Piece of Hate Mail

27B-stroke-6! Bloody paperwork!There’s this beautiful window of time right after I post a fresh blog entry when my Facebook notifications slowly start rolling in, indicating comments from friends who’ve just read my writing. My favorite part is when my phone starts to buzz, signaling the email that says someone has taken the time to comment on one of my musings directly on my website.

It was that sweet moment in the the blog post afterglow as I’d just finished an ode to two of my dearest friends. One of the friends I’d written about had taken the time to tell me what a great writer he thought I was, that I was “really talented.” I was beaming. Thus, when my phone made its fateful buzzing noise, I couldn’t wait to read what was in my inbox.

And then, like lightening to the heart, there it was:

A negative comment.

This wasn’t just your average negative opinion. This comment, my friend’s, was rife with venom. Passionate venom.

If I am a lucky writer, this is will be one of many, many more negative comments to come. Did I mention that didn’t make it any easier to read? I knew enough to know that anyone who takes their precious time to write something so hostile couldn’t possibly be coming from a very happy place themselves, but I flirted with the idea of reading it for the fourth time before finally trashing it. I was reminded of what one of my favorite writers, Gabrielle Bernstein, has said on the subject:

When hate mail is received, simply “forgive and delete.”

In alignment with the post our mystery commenter was criticizing, I went ahead and said a little prayer for him at the urging of my friend Jenn before trashing the comment altogether. I came away feeling honored that someone cared enough to care so passionately about something I’d written, even if that was how they expressed it.