I preach to others all the time, but it takes effort to act graciously when I receive criticism. Let’s be real: if someone calls me beautiful, I’ll smile and believe them. But if they point out my flaws, I don’t accept it as easily. At least that’s how it is for me. Instead of ranting about this incident, why not turn it into something positive?
I was at a cafe with friends when this happened. We’d only known each other for a couple of months; sometimes we hang out on weekends for coffee or dinner.
Ashi, one of the girls in the group, joined me at the table. Suddenly she said, “Watch what you say…” I had no idea what she was talking about! I didn’t ask and she didn’t explain. Soon after that others joined us and we never discussed it again.
I’m new to this group and don’t talk much. It takes me time to mix with new people and open up. Until then, I observe everyone, mostly listening to what they say so I can decide how much of my weirdness to share with them. This bunch doesn’t know me yet! Even though I smiled back at Ashi, there was a lot going on in my mind…
Stage 1: I instantly lost my mood. I was desperately trying not to be angry, but it made me hate Ashi unintentionally. “I just can’t stand her! Who does she think she is? She should watch herself before judging me. She doesn’t even know me well enough to do that!”
Stage 2: Sadness and hopelessness replaced the anger. “Everyone hates me. Ashi was right–it’d be better if I didn’t speak or just stayed invisible.”
Stage 3: I figured out the context. It was a joke I cracked the previous night, but nobody got it and thought it was rude. “Poor people! I shouldn’t make sarcastic comments around them; they can’t appreciate my sense of humor.”
Stage 4: This is the final stage, where a halo appears over my head. After so much overthinking and analysis, I finally give up hating that person or feeling bad about myself. Nobody is perfect—neither am I. Although Ashi has known me for only a short time and I haven’t opened up much to her, I should see if I can work on it. It’s not to shut her mouth but for my personal growth. Even if I can’t be everyone’s favorite, as long as I’m getting better, it’s OK!
Yesterday, something happened that I think is related to what I’m saying. I often review restaurants on Zomato. My reviews are simple – you can read them in 10 seconds and get the useful info. I’m not a food blogger or critic.
Last weekend, someone messaged me on Instagram about my Zomato reviews – they said they found them interesting and there was an opportunity to explore new restaurants in our area. They said some restaurants were inviting them to taste their newly launched cuisines and review them, with a group of people accompanying him at the tasting table. This person was a complete stranger to me, but still I replied!
I had already seen his blogs and Insta account, so there was no doubt about his background. But for some reason, my friends suggested I verify his information and take up this opportunity. So in reply to his first message, I asked him a few queries about the event – if management was going to bear the expenses, etc. This person got so furious after seeing my message that he sent me two or three long essays ranting about how significant he is as a food blogger and how insignificant I am (even though I’m not even a foodie/blogger/critic).
I wasn’t expecting anything like this, so this time I jumped straight to stage 4: being rational. There’s nothing wrong with that! There’s no way I’d agree to meet a stranger just for free food (which wasn’t even confirmed as “free”). He’s right in saying that I’m not any kind of food-critic or anything – but that’s okay; I don’t claim or want to be one anyway! There’s no point feeling sad over getting a hateful message from an easily-butthurt stranger.