My Arena

Presenting my ideas and work to the online world is wonderful in many ways. My best friendships today were formed through social media, I have relationships with a range of intelligent and talented people, my ideas and beliefs have been challenged and shaped in positive ways, and certainly the validation is appreciated (sometimes far too much by me, but that’s another post).

But anyone who has read the comments on YouTube or The Huffington Post has seen the dark side of the internet. Lobbing molotov cocktails of snark and hatred is all-to-easy when done via a computer screen. It became crucial for my mental health to find a way to wade through the sea of criticism and develop a new metric for measuring my self-worth.

daringgreatlysource

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.” Brene Brown

Brene Brown is the second great woman I know of who has shared this approach (the first was Liene Stevens, of Think Splendid) but it wasn’t until I started reading Daring Greatly that I was able to fully integrate this concept into my life.

I suspect most successful and notable people utilize this mindset at some point. Which is not to say that I think I am successful or notable, but I know I won’t get there if I’m busy worrying about whether everyone likes me. But how to fully embrace this idea when confronting faceless/useless/meaningless criticism? I was spending far too much time stewing and giving credit where it wasn’t due. Dr. Brown’s book has helped me develop a mental process that I can enact each time the self-doubt rises to the surface again. Anyone who has encountered her work has probably become familiar with the Theodore Roosevelt quote that she loves.

daringgreatlyarena

source

 It is her addition, that last part at the bottom, that changed everything for me. I am the gladiator in my own arena. If I want to share parts of my fight with the public, I am going to have unwanted observers jeering at me. Those people, and their feedback, do not matter to me. The only power I have over them is to deny them any power over me. 

The feedback that does matter comes from a very select group of people. If I shared something with these individuals, something vulnerable and painful and raw, they would first pull me in for a hug. After they felt my shoulders relax they would pull away, look at me (really look at me), and tell me the honest truth that I need to hear, no matter how hard it is for them to say it and for me to hear it. Those are the people I want in my corner, and those are the people who are going to help set the guideposts that I live my life by. I don’t need the public to like the way I spend my time, or to think I am a good mother, or to agree with my beliefs and opinions.

And now, when the clouds gather and the mental stewing begins, I picture My Arena. Is the feedback I’m considering coming from the hug+honesty group? No? Then I’ll be moving right along thankyouverymuch. I’ve got a battle to fight and a life to live. There is greatness to be had.

102 thoughts on “My Arena

  1. Another blogger that I used to follow turned off comments on her blog when she found that the snark too much and that she was just seeking validation. Now most of her interaction with her readers occurs over on Facebook and on Twitter. She’s written and talked about how turning off comments was a great sanity saver for her. Just a thought.

  2. I’ve heard this a lot – “let the haters hate” kind of mentality. “We are all fighting our own private battles”

    I guess I just don’t get why people like to see/think of their life as a battle. I see my life as an adventure, not a battle. I’m not trying to hurt anyone or take anyone down. I’m just experiencing, loving, and living. Why does there have to be an antagonist to take down? It’s so negative.

    I also object to the “forget what people think of you” idea. As someone who doesn’t believe in gods, the entire worth of my life, the entire goal of my life, is to leave the world a better place, in whatever small way I can, through my relationships with others. Isn’t the impact you’ve had on people and the earth all that truly matters?

    I believe that by acting with compassion and empathy, by always looking for the common good and doing what I can when I can for that common good, I create a happy life for myself. I don’t worry about being likable or popular. I just see the good in people and thus I am kind to them. I don’t think about my own image. I think about the experiences I can have and how I can enjoy the people I love and make them happy.

    The goal shouldn’t be to dismiss critics, but to understand their humanity and recognize them as good people, too. Let’s all enjoy life together.

    Jenna Reply:

    I think your ideas are very reasoned. Unfortunately internet trolls are not rational, anyone who reads their ravings can see that. Using the feedback from lunatics is a recipe for disaster. I don’t need to lend a platform to every speaker.

    Emily Reply:

    Jenna, have you considered changing your “arena?” It seems that you keep circling back to a theme of persecution – “trolls,” “lunatics,” basically those outside of your “very select” group who respond in exactly the manner that is acceptable to you. If you recognize about yourself that you really aren’t interested in the criticisms of those outside of your select group, that it isn’t good for your mental state to read responses to you and your posts that aren’t agreeable and supportive, I think your solution is to diminish public access to your thoughts.

    If you still want that outlet where you can be vulnerable without fear of judgment, why not create a private blog? And if you do still want some type of public forum for discussion and interaction, why not change the focus of ‘That Wife?’ You could write about your 30 in 30 challenge, review different parks/restaurants/local activities, share recipes, etc….things that are personal to you because you take part in them or enjoy them, but aren’t personal in nature.

    And no, I’m not part of your select few, we don’t know each other personally and it is unlikely we ever will…I’m not picking you up, dusting you off and hugging you before telling you what I think…but I’m also not a raving lunatic troll hater…I think that when it comes down to it, the majority of your audience is probably not from either category, but are just regular women, wives, moms, students, professionals, whatever…if it isn’t our opinions and thoughts that are valuable to you, then I reiterate that a change in your arena is in order.

    Colleen Reply:

    I think this is great advice.

    To be told by a blogger that they don’t care about my opinion because I am not one of their close friends makes me want to stop reading their blog. Your kids are cute, and you have some interesting viewpoints (which is why I’ve read you since your WB days), but if I’m not important to you as a reader just because I don’t give you hugs for everything you post, then this is not a blog I want to give my time to anymore.

    Jenna Reply:

    If you want your opinion heard, then don’t jeer. It’s pretty simple.

    Marie Reply:

    Maybe what I think would help us understand you better is for you to define what you mean by “jeer.” I’ve seen many a commenter explain themselves rationally and kindly and you either ignored it or responded back rather rudely because you deemed them a hater/troll/lunatic. Is any opinion that differs from your own considered jeering? If so, then you aren’t creating an environment with honesty.

    Jenna Reply:

    It is impossible to please everyone. That’s why I decided to use people who fit my criteria for feedback. Otherwise, someone will always have a problem with how I do things. It’s a waste of time to try to please everyone.
    Anyone who is offended by that strategy isn’t someone I’m going to spend my time worrying about. Better ways to use my time! Who I turn to for critical feedback or advice shouldn’t be something that worries anyone except me (and, I guess, those in my circle that I’m already turning to for feedback).

    Colleen Reply:

    Good luck turning your blog into a full-time job with that attitude. You’ve definitely lost me as a reader of this site and Pinterest Fail.

    Jenna Reply:

    My response to you earlier was sharp and borderline snarky. I apologize. I’m going to work harder to be kind in the comments section in the future.

    Jenna Reply:

    I think a great many people in life could have chosen to retreat to a private arena, but we as a whole would be missing out on a lot. I’d rather change how I process the situation and keep all of the rest of the things I like. Interacting with a diverse group of people with a range of opinions is one of those things. I don’t get to have that in a private forum.

    Beth Reply:

    I know I’ve posted this here before (the subject at hand that time…I can’t remember) but you can’t choose the natural consequences of certain actions. Or I guess you can, but you’re living in a somewhat delusional state where you actually aren’t learning anything new and having your thoughts challenged enough to grow, improve, and learn. You can pick and choose who and what you respond to from commenters/readers, but then people notice only certain responses get attention from you. They’ll either ramp it up in a negative way or start just blowing air up your skirt to get noticed and listened to. Neither of those kinds of people are very helpful.

    The natural consequence of posting your thoughts in a public way is that people will not like what they just read/heard, and will want to let you know. Would you write the things you write if no one read here? I don’t know, you have to answer that for yourself. You want attention for your thoughts (i.e. readers: most bloggers do, I don’t begrudge you that) but want to shut off the spigot of attention when it doesn’t sit well with you? It just sounds like a case of ‘I want to have my cake and eat it too.’ Unfortunately, most things in life don’t work like that. Before you think I’m picking on you, this is sentiment I long have held for anyone that’s in the public eye in any way who get their cred/money/status from attention, but then want to constantly control it. Celebrities in Hollywood want you to know their name and they want attention, until they don’t want it. Then they throw up their hands and suddenly demand to be treated like a normal person so they can shop at Whole Foods in peace. I always want to say to them – you can’t have it both ways:) You can’t revel in the benefits of the positive side of attention, but then expect to easily escape the other side of that attention when it’s suits you.

    Oh dear, I’m rambling. Please don’t think I’m not saying that people should be allowed to say hurtful, mean, snide things. We can and should all find a way to communicate with each other, even when we disagree, with maturity. But if you struggle with the negative attention and can’t easily brush it off (which I gather you can’t because of this post and other comments you’ve written lately) then the logical thing is to limit who has access to your thoughts. This isn’t an issue of bravery, boldly blogging despite haters, it’s knowing how to realistically evaluate your circumstances, your reality, and how to cultivate the environment that best suits your purposes.

    Jenna Reply:

    The sentiment that someone “deserves to be harassed” because they are visible is a horrific one. I don’t understand anyone who pushes that in any form.

    Beth Reply:

    I didn’t say that at all. Please don’t put words in my mouth. The imagery we used before when lightly discussing this (if I remember) was that you said no one deserves to be pushed while innocently walking down the sidewalk. But that’s just it, you *aren’t* innocently walking down the sidewalk, minding your own business. No one is trying to discover your innermost thoughts and hang you for it. You are wearing a sandwich board with a neon sign pointing to you. That, in and of itself, will garner you attention. It may be bad attention, it may be good attention. But it will be attention. Saying that someone “deserves to be harassed” or that I’m saying that is missing the point. Negative attention is a not fun. Harassment is never good or okay just because a person puts themselves out there. But it’s unrealistic and unhelpful to live in world of your choosing where logical consequences don’t exist anymore. I haven’t read that long, but it seems that you haven’t made the connection between what you present to the world, how you do it, and the effect it’s had. Realizing that negative attention – for lack of a better phrase – “comes with the territory” of seeking out attention is the first step in realizing how to cultivate the type of online presence you want and that is the most healthy for you.

    I’ll probably stop commenting now because I’ve noticed that even though some people will type out long, articulate responses (not including myself in that except for the long part:) yours are often short, curt, and not any attempt to match the depth of thought presented to you unless they aren’t challenging you in any way. You thought I was saying “you deserve harassment” and that’s the only part you focused on, while anything remotely interesting (or helpful? maybe?) got tossed out like the baby with the bath water.

    Jenna Reply:

    You forget that I already put in my time, writing this point. This is a pretty consistent theme with commenters. They believe that their comment deserves a response of equal length, but I already put in the time writing the post. There is only so much time in the day! And there is one of me and many of you.

    So what is your point exactly? I wrote a post saying I accept that that harassment comes with being in the public, and that I have a great way to process that feedback. What are you trying to communicate?

    jackie Reply:

    Jenna, oh my goodness. I found this response pretty rude. I understand to some extent what you’re saying about ignoring obvious internet trolls (snarking on looks or weight or judging a marriage or whatever). But I think your commenters here have good intentions and are bringing up valid points for consideration.

    “There is only so much time in the day”? Yes – but you posted an instagram photo today saying that both of your children are now in full-time daycare so that you can “work”. Is “work” your blog? If so, then it is now your job to retain a readership and engage an audience. You are paying daycare providers for this very privilege to blog and cultivate your online presence. I fear you will lose readers and gain “haters” quickly with these sort of curt and rude responses.

    I wish your children and you nothing but the best (they are so sweet and deserve to have a contented/focused mother!), but just wanted to point out a few things that should be considered.

    Lexi Reply:

    I just wanted to say, from a long time reader (Since t1 was born) I am kind of saddened by this and you’ve definitely lost me as a reader. I’ve been noticing for a while the hostility in your responses and it’s really turned me off of wanting to read your blog anymore.

    Jenna Reply:

    Beth,

    You were trying to engage with me in a deliberate way, and I aired my frustration about a variety of other things in my responses to you. It was unfair and rude, and I am sorry about that. Even if I think something is true, I don’t need to be unkind in my delivery on the topic. I’m working on some things that should help me avoid this in the future.

    Michelle Reply:

    Okay, so you’re saying you have an active group of people antagonizing you, which makes your life a battle. Why do you think they want to attack you? Do you really think they’re all evil? I don’t want to believe that about anyone.

    Maybe they see you like Kim Kardashian and love to hate you.. so I guess you have three options:
    1) Retreat – Privacy protect all your blogs, facebook, instagram, etc. so they have nothing to hate
    —This doesn’t seem fair to you because blogging & social media presence are your passion and a big part of your photography and PinterestFail work.
    2) Ignore – Delete their comments and ignore the hate
    —Not great, because you still have to read them, and I imagine it still hurts no matter how strong you try to be- I know it would be killing me to read hate mail.
    3) Learn from it: Assuming they aren’t evil, how can we learn from their criticism?

    My boss shared negative feedback I got from another employee I work with. I didn’t like it and I didn’t think it was fair. I wanted to get defensive and go on the attack, but my boss told me that even though it might not be true, the fact that someone else thinks true means something.

    Maybe all they want is to see your life turn into a disaster. But if they saw you as a real, vulnerable human being, I don’t believe they could wish for that without feeling guilty. Maybe you just need to show your vulnerable side a little more? Be honest about what you’re struggling with rather than making jokes or trying to act brave? I think if they could just see you as a real person deserving of empathy, which we ALL are, they would back off.

    I don’t know how I would deal with a hate group. I can’t imagine how hard that is. You have my sympathy.

    Beth Reply:

    “3) Learn from it: Assuming they aren’t evil, how can we learn from their criticism?”

    I think this is an important lesson for any blogger and it is a fine line to differentiate. Mean-spirited, grade school level comments of “you’re so stupid, you’re so ugly,” etc. aren’t worthy of attention. Ever. I just imagine that some 4th grade boy said that, dispose, and move on. But, if the comments are indeed critical, and albeit, even hard to hear, BUT contain parts of truth in how you are perceived? I think that is very valuable for any blogger to differentiate. If you are someone that can truly go through life not caring one little bit what others think of you (I’m jealous of that, that ain’t me!:) then turn off the comments. Just put out your ideas, express yourself in total freedom because if what they say doesn’t matter anyway, comments aren’t really necessary. But if any blogger does thrive on the comments, the interaction, the feedback (very normal, most do), then learning to learn from others – even the people out there you are tempted to label as “haters” can be beneficial I think. If someone has an actual criticism, not just mean spirited hate, it may take a metric ton of self-reflection and Herculean-level introspection, but throwing it all out because you don’t like the package it came in may be denying yourself some insights.

  3. I love that quote. When I have a lot of self-doubt or worry about what others think about me, I try to remember it.

    I also love ““Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” I try to remember that when I start judging–everyone has their issues and problems. No matter what kind of glossy veneer is on someone’s life, everyone struggles.

  4. Have you ever considered taking your life offline? I mean that with all sincerity. I realize that you have had more than your fair share of internet criticism, and if I were in your shoes, I think I would have closed up all my social networks a long, long time ago. Instead of denying haters power over you, would it be simpler to just cut it off at the source?

    I don’t know if you would consider closing or privatizing your social medial outlets as allowing your critics power over you or not, but I think that even if privatizing meant that they “won”, it would be worth your peace of mind.

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t think giving up the things I like is worth avoiding the things I dislike.

    Rachel Reply:

    It just seems to me, from what you’ve written here and elsewhere on your blog, that there’s so much more about your internet life that you DISlike than what you like. You clearly spend quite a bit of time and energy thinking about the “haters” (or thinking about NOT thinking about them?) so wouldn’t it make the most sense to close ranks and privatize everything so that you are just sharing with your pre-existing circle?

  5. I can’t stop thinking about this because I want to help. I just don’t think it’s healthy to think of your life as a battle- unless you’re Martin Luther King, Jr. or Al Gore or something.

    I think what’s great about you is that you’re so open. You wear your heart on your sleeve- you love sharing what you think and feel, and discussing it with others. You love living your life in the open. That’s why you shouldn’t give up your social media presence.

    From my viewpoint though, there are some places you aren’t as open and honest- and maybe this is where you are leaving room for interpretation and attack.

    Maybe if you do open, honest posts on the following, you won’t have anything to hide and you won’t have anything for others to attack:

    1. How you feel now about being a mother versus when you were first married
    2. How you’re maintaining a strong marriage long distance
    3. How the internet trolls hurt you- what is inaccurate, and what is true that you are trying or wish you could change? What are you unwilling to change? Where could you use advice?

    Do you think if you wrote an open post to the trolls and asked them to be truthful and kind about what they want to see from you, maybe they would step up to the plate and be helpful?

    I just refuse to believe most people are that genuinely hateful. There must be a way to make them see you as a person trying to do her best, and get them to feel compassion rather than resentment.

    Kate S Reply:

    Hi Jenna,
    Also a longtime reader, (since weddingbee days!) and I’m also sad that you are going through this, and to where you have come to. I do think there is a middle ground, and i think Michelle has very eloquently stated it. Some really great ideas/useful feedback here.
    I would miss ‘your voice’ if you suddenly stopped blogging or privatized posts. My boss, when i received some feedback from a team member that was really hurtful, advised me to consider, “How does this serve me?”
    That has stuck with me and continuously reminds me that every opportunity is a learning moment. For me. Yes, ignore the downright trolls. It’s ridiculous. But constructive comments – listen, learn, evolve. This is what you have been doing for years – and is why you have come so far.
    I think Michelle’s suggested approach is spot on.
    I’m cheering for you.

  6. You say that you’d “rather change how I process the situation and keep all of the rest of the things I like. Interacting with a diverse group of people with a range of opinions is one of those things. I don’t get to have that in a private forum.” I’ve been following along and commenting intermittently since your Weddingbee days Jenna, but you’re clearly stating that you have a small group of people you care about and you don’t give a fig about anyone else. If you want to interact with a diverse group of people with a range of opinions, it stands to reason that group will include people whose opinions you don’t like…and that’s part of this public forum you say you want. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You’re actively pushing people away, including this now former reader.

  7. Forgot to note that as someone who claims to actively be building up online brands (Pinterest Fail), alienating readership is the way to go about that.

  8. Forgot to note that as someone who claims to actively be building up online brands (Pinterest Fail), alienating readership is NOT the way to go about that.

    Rachel Reply:

    ^ I must second this. I’ve been a PinterestFail reader who migrated over here, and while I applaud self-care, the hostility of response in these comments was … unexpected, to say the least. Surely EVERYONE isn’t a “troll?”

    The photography here is often beautiful, but photography is an art, and all art attracts critics. I wonder if it’s the right career for someone so determined to see personal hatred where I’ve seen only compassionate advice? I have friends getting married (relatively) soon who are still seeking service providers, and those sorts of attitudes are unbecoming a professional who specializes in special days 🙁

    Hugs are a life necessity, but so is introspection.

  9. I’m glad you posted this. As someone who has been pretty critical of you at times, I needed to read this! It is so easy to post things online … there’s basically no accountability. However, I guarantee I would never say the same things in person (or at least not the same way I say them online). I apologize for anything I have said in the past to be critical of you and how you choose to live your life. From now on, I will definitely be thinking twice about what I say and how I say it!

  10. You should definitely, definitely read these responses. Maybe even read them a few times. I’m totally new here but based on what I can see from people who have been reading your blog for a really long time and then your reaction/response to what they are saying speaks VOLUMES. You need help.

  11. I’m curious if your friends (inner-circle folk) really do tell you hard-truths as they embrace you? I am finding it difficult to imagine, in light of what you’ve written. I once had to tell a friend I didn’t think they should marry someone. THAT is hard truth. It didn’t change his mind, but I was glad to have said it because I genuinely felt his future was on a different trajectory than what I’d seen and understood he wanted from out long-term friendship. And to his credit, he continues to be my friend. And I continue to be his, though perhaps not his wife’s. If someone tells you their truth, do you continue to accept their friendship? Do they continue to work with you to create something good in you?

    My point is this: there exist uncomfortable truths. I hope you are hearing them, as I hope we all are, because it DOES help us to become better people, through conscientiousness and reflection on our intentions. I don’t know if the source always matters and, in fact, I have found that when someone who knows me little says something to me that hits a tender nerve, there is a reason why it’s tender…because it’s true. My work with small children has been no exception to this, as I’m sure you might imagine! But doing the work of internalizing the message, sorting through it and coming out the other side with a spirit of hopefulness in yourself and your ability to always do better, is something that requires not a warrior but a sage. I wish for you wisdom.

  12. I live abroad and my girlfriend visited me this past October. I was venting to her about my marriage and how my husband wasn’t really putting in his share of effort to make our marriage work and on and on. I hate to admit it, but what I was really looking for was her understanding. I wanted her to say that she understood me, and she supported whatever conclusions I was drawing about my husband and his “mistakes.” I wanted validation from her. I wanted her to give me all the credit. Guess what?! To my utter shock and surprise, my girlfriend had balls to tell me everything I didn’t want to hear. She was respectful, and sensitive and yet brutally HONEST.

    It hurt, not because she said those things, but because they were true. It hurt because there was no running away from it, and I had to face it. It hurt because my best friend saw all my ugliness and was saying them to me. It hurt because now it meant I had to go through all this mess that was in front of me.

    There was a lot of hugging, there were a lot of tears, and there was a lot of love.

    When I think about it now, I know that I wouldn’t have taken those comments seriously if they were said by someone else who wasn’t as close as she was. I would have just said: “Oh they don’t really know who I am, so whatever they are saying have no value or no meaning!”

    Probably you don’t want to hear this, but you have been brushing off constructive criticism with the same insecurity I have.

    I guess a more suitable platform would be a blog where you could specify who can access your posts? or a Facebook group? I am not trying to tell you what to do, it is not my place. I am just saying it because maybe you need a more forgiving/accepting/loving group of friends to feel more at ease?

  13. I imagine building your online brands and increasing readership for your blog will be very difficult when the only communication you desire is with your core group. I am wondering how those two goals will work together..?

    Jenna Reply:

    If I didn’t want to hear a range of ideas, I would close comments. I’d love to hear about your life experience, your opinions on social issues and political happenings, and world events and history and philosophy and economic theories. Tell it all to me! Who are you Jessica, and what makes you think the way you do?

    But if it’s about my choices, whether I’m right or wrong, whether I’m good or evil, I’m going to refer to the people I trust to decide if I’m headed in the right direction. Can you see how it becomes an essential act of self-preservation to no longer allow everyone with access to you to influence your choices?

    Jessica Reply:

    Responding to your last sentence:

    It is in your control whether you allow others to influence your choices or not. If you cannot hear other people’s opinions about your choices when they don’t agree with you without being influenced by it then yes, I suppose it would be necessary.

    Personally, just because someone doesn’t agree with my choices and thinks I am 100% wrong doesn’t necessarily cause me to change or modify my choices. It causes me to think, sometimes. But if it rings true to my heart and I believe in it, something as simple as criticism wont influence me. Even if my choice is criticized over and over again. (And this has happened to me many times over a few certain issues)

    I can see how feeling like you need to defend yourself over and over again would be tiring. Draining. And its great you are interested in others’ experiences. But it is still odd to me that they are not allowed to to express their feelings/opinions about your life when that is what you post about to the public. Agree to disagree, I guess. 🙂

  14. I guess to clarify what I meant: If you are only interested in feedback and constructive criticism from your core group, and not from anyone else, it doesn’t give anyone much of an incentive to read. Differences of opinions etc will inevitably happen in a public forum.

    Beth Reply:

    When you asked earlier what my point was: that ^^ was it. And everything else people have added as well too, but this sums it up very well.

    Jenna Reply:

    I hope that I can write things that will inspire you to talk about your ideas, your experiences, your views. I’m going to keep working on my writing so that I can inspire conversation like that. I really enjoy that kind of discourse in my everyday life and would like to see it more often on That Wife as well.

    I think asking for your ideas/experiences/views on a variety of topics in life doesn’t have to exclusively mean that you (general and specific) offer up advice/opinions about me and my choices. I’d like to see a little less of the latter and more of the former.

  15. I’m a bit confused because you’ve written in the past about how reading dissenting comments has helped you challenge your beliefs and become your own person. Is that not true anymore?

    I imagine, when you were a devout Mormon, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world to read comments that challenged your views on equality, race, motherhood, a woman’s place in the world, or even things like drinking coffee. But surely now you see that people weren’t trying to attack you and your religion out of malice. They simply had different beliefs – beliefs that you, in time, have come to share.

    Don’t you think it’s possible that this might happen again? That somebody might say something that you will find uncomfortable and even upsetting at first, but might later consider worthy of reflection? Closing yourself to all dissenting opinions seems counterproductive to me if your goal is to live a more examined, thougthful life.

  16. I guess my problem with this post is that you don’t really even seem to value your “inner circle”. I thought we were “friends” (as much as two strangers on twitter can be); we intereacted somewhat regularly and had several discussions on a range of topics, sometimes I agreed with you and sometimes I didn’t. Then all of the sudden one day I discovered I was blocked and banned from the “inner circle” with literally no explanation at all. Connecting the dots from other people’s tweets revealed it was because there was a “mole” and you had to get rid of “untrustworthy” people. Jenna, that hurts. You essentially labeled me untrustworthy and cut me out without so much as an explanation or even a simple, was this you? (It wasn’t, by the way.) I feel like you’ve become so closed off and defensive because of the haters and trolls that you’re ruining legitimate friendships and throwing stones at innocent bystanders. I truly, sincerely hope you find happiness in your endeavors.

  17. Do you feel that there is any way for one of us commenters, a stranger or someone you’ve only spoken to a few times, to point out something that you say/do that we think is not a good idea, not safe, or not positive? I’m trying to remember an example of a post that got people upset with something in your life. Was T1 front-facing earlier than suggested, or something like that? That is the kind of thing I mean. I have seen many people be negative without “jeering” by disagreeing with a parenting choice you’ve made and then disliking your rationale but they weren’t mocking you or speaking down to you, and it was not always well received. Maybe it’s because the people who were clearly actually confrontational had your hackles up.

    I wonder if you need to just disable comments or stick to completely innocuous posts because negativity and disagreement just can’t sit right with you on this blog. I wish I could point to a good example of a post that got messy because I feel that my comment is too vague, but I think they’re mostly gone.

  18. “It is impossible to please everyone. That’s why I decided to use people who fit my criteria for feedback. Otherwise, someone will always have a problem with how I do things. It’s a waste of time to try to please everyone.”

    “Interacting with a diverse group of people with a range of opinions is one of those things. I don’t get to have that in a private forum.”

    Can you see the incongruity of these two statements? Isn’t it like having your cake and eating it?

    I do understand the frustration of having so many people pick you to pieces, and I’d certainly understand you taking comments offline (whether temporary or permanently). It does seem though that you are saying you only want positive comments; you only want validation, sympathy, support. And all of those thing you would get from friends, be in online or real life. The problem is that once you pout yourself in a public space and make a commodity of yourself you’re open to public opinion whether positive or negative, deserved or not.

    Maybe the most useful advice I read this week is “what other people think of you is none of your business”. Fair enough, you can’t ignore what’s written here if you leave comments open, so you’ll have to delete them. But don’t go seeking out negativity where you know you’ll find it.

    This is meant well.

  19. Where are all these “haters” and “trolls”? I read pretty frequently and haven’t noticed much backlash in the comments. I’m genuinely curious and concerned. Seems like you’ve built a supportive network; I can’t imagine such strong feelings coming from the handful of comments each post recieves.

  20. I’m an off and on reader for many years, and this is the end for me as well.

    This isn’t a troll comment, but I don’t see how it is at all possible for you to build up an online brand after posts like this. You have tarnished your image and it feels like the only option would be to nuke everything from high orbit and step back for some time while you work on yourself. Then maybe photography and the blog attached to that could be your only presence. Perhaps you can rebuild a base when you remove yourself from the lifestyle/parenting type of commentary.

  21. I won’t comment on whether I agree or disagree with your post. It really doesn’t matter. But what I want to know is what do you want then from your readers? Many of us are loyal readers. We don’t hate, we also may not sugar coat, we offer opinions when we feel we have something to add, or something helpful, we say congratulations when good things happen and are happy when you make positive steps forward. We are the people who you have indicated you need to help make money from this site and PinterestFail and implore us to check it out. We are the readers you got from Weddingbee and who have stuck with you. However, now this post makes me feel like you don’t care about us anymore and our opinions, that we don’t matter and what we may offer isn’t valuable, which leaves many of us asking, why should we continue reading? Please explain what you want from us, we aren’t the hugs group, we aren’t the haters, we fall somewhere in between.

    Alyssa Reply:

    This sums it up. Agree, disagree, not the point. What do you want and what do you hope to obtain via an Internet presence and/or business?

  22. I’m sorry you feel like you have a lot of haters and trolls. Why do you feel that way? I don’t see a lot of hate in the comments on your blog. I’m genuinely curious.

Comments are closed.