18 May 2015

Dealing with Negativity

I wrote a very simple guest blog recently giving advice on some makeup products I thought would be suitable for summer. These were products that I had used myself and after testing them in very heavy hot humid weather, I was excited to share my experiences with people.

For some unknown reason, that particular blog post received a backlash of horribly nasty and negative comments.

Sharing my personal experiences online, obviously I expect not everyone to agree with me and I am happy to engage in some debate. What really confused me though, was that the article I wrote was simply a list of guidelines as to what makeup to wear in hot or humid weather (this is something I get asked a lot). I didn't slam any particular makeup lines, I never said people HAD to follow MY routine, I even wrote that the advice I gave may not work for everyone, so I began to question myself - why do people feel the need to put others down from behind their computer screens.

I know most people would brush this off and just move on, but I tend to take any kind of feedback positive or negative very seriously and try to see where I can improve for the next time. Yet, most of the "feedback" that was negative was simply mocking me as a makeup wearer which was incredibly hurtful and unnecessary and did not in any way encourage me to improve on my writing or makeup application.

I have received negative feedback many times before, but what was different those times was the validity of the comments and how they encouraged me to improve, not tear me down as a person.

In the comments for the particular blog post (which I will not name here), I was told that I was "encouraging people to sacrifice their health for the sake of beauty". Another comment read "it's ridiculous to encourage people to wear this much makeup for a few cute photographs". I was completely and utterly shocked. How could people demonise me so quickly and so easily from behind their screens never having met me and clearly not reading my article correctly.

First of all, I never once encouraged people to go without sunscreen, which seems to be one person in particulars gripe. I even wrote a specific paragraph on sun care which was quickly defended by other people who had read the article. I spent hours trawling through comments on the post explaining to people that the intention of the article was to help people choose the right products by going through my own routine - yet certain commenters neglected to read my responses and continued to attempt to educate my apparent "ignorance" further.

Another commenter said "she puts so much junk on her face. She's going to sweat herself into a breakout". This is a common misconception about makeup wearers, that makeup is somehow dirty and people who wear makeup just do so for their own self gratification. I have suffered from acne from the age of 11. I have tried every single product on the market for acne, resorting finally to go on medication which has made my weight balloon for the sake of "clear skin". I didn't even start wearing makeup until I was 22 years old!! I can tell you that my skin has never been more healthy then when I started wearing makeup, because not only has makeup protected my skin from the harshness of the atmosphere and daily weather changes, but it has also forced me to engage in a regular skincare routine - something I would never have done before.

It is so hurtful that makeup wearers are judged this way. I wear makeup for me - no one else. I count my blessing and feel so lucky that I am married to the most wonderful man who tells me I am beautiful every single day makeup or no makeup. I don't do it because I feel self-conscious, I do it because it makes me feel amazing! Spending 10 - 15 minutes a day doing my makeup is so enjoyable and therapeutic. I feel like making the effort is worth it to feel great. Wearing makeup gives me a new lease of confidence, it covers my blemishes, redness and scarring from years of acne and experimentation with harsh chemical treatments in my attempt to get rid of it, but it also brings out the best version of me that I can be.

I made a video a few years back on my channel asking my subscribers what they felt makeup meant to them and these were some of the wonderful responses I got:

So please, think twice before you judge someone. You don't know their story. 

Everyone is entitled to their opinions and please correct me, please continue to engage with me, because I have said it before, I AM NOT a professional.  I am learning just like you - and willing to share my experiences and my failures with you.

I know many people will probably read this and encourage me to just "ignore" people who respond in nasty and negative ways. I will admit, that is great advice, however, some negative comments CAN be justified and encouraging. It's sad that any kind of negativity can be construed as an attack when this is simply not the case, some people genuinely mean well with their criticism and try their best to go about it in a mature and sensitive way. I cannot however stand by and allow someone to tear me down without addressing it in as kind a way as I feel is appropriately deserved, because if they don't do it to me - they move on to the next person, who may not be as strong as I am. Either way you think about it this is a form of cyber bullying. I feel by dealing with these people in a professional and calm manner, it may hopefully discourage them for targeting less tolerant people in the future. In this community we all need to stick together and empower each other, not tear each other down.

Let me know in the comments section - how do you deal with negativity?
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