Staying Nice In The Face of Ugliness

Staying nice even when everything around you is ugly isn’t the easiest thing in the world. And it seems like the majority of people have decided it’s just too hard to implement being nice when faced with criticism. I made a vow a couple of months ago that I would be nice no matter what. And yes, it’s been hard. And yes, I’ve slipped up a couple of times, because returning ugly for ugly gets to be a habit, and it becomes ingrained when it’s every-freakin’-where you look. But I pick myself up when I fall, dust myself off, and determine to be nice. And I’ve noticed that my incidents of being nice are now starting to outweigh my bouts of returning the ugly.

Juli Page Morgan: Staying Nice in the Face of Ugliness

Unfortunately, I see more and more people turning to the dark side, people who should know better. Like this thing that happened last week. There’s this television series based on a book series that has pretty much taken the world by storm. The episode they aired a couple of weeks ago missed the mark with the majority of the books’ fans, myself included. A lot of them took to Twitter to express their disappointment/disgust/anger at the way the television series’ writers took a scene that was beautifully written in the books and turned it into an “Oh, okay. Let’s move on” moment.

Now, y’all know I abhor Twitter. I took a long, long break from Twitter for almost a year because every time I logged on the hate and ugliness were so pervasive and dense that it made me a meaner person. Seriously, after about a half-hour on Twitter I was ready to bitch-slap anyone I saw. Nice is pretty much right out the window when it comes to Twitter. I have begun getting back on the site every now and again because a lot of people do use it, and I don’t want to snub any of my readers who may count on Twitter for their main social interaction. My posts are few and far between, though, because I don’t want to get caught up in that Twitter nastiness again. In fact, I wouldn’t have even known about the fans of the aforementioned books posting about their feelings over that botched scene (and episode) except that the books’ author retweeted the replies posted by someone associated with the television show.

Instead of letting the fans of the books vent and move on, this person decided to engage, and not in a good way. He/She went on a rampage defending the show and pretty much told anyone who didn’t like the episode they were complete and utter idiots and fools, and wouldn’t know artistry if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. These fans, who saw the artistry in the way the author wrote the scene, responded, and things escalated quickly.

Juli Page Morgan: Staying Nice in the Face of Ugliness

Since the author of the books was busily retweeting all this vitriol spewed by the person associated with the television series, it spread like wildfire. (Even though the author, when pressed, admitted that they were disappointed in the scene that sparked the outrage, but rightly pointed out that it wasn’t his/her call since the TV production didn’t have to follow the storyline at all since they bought the rights.) Why he/she thought it necessary to fan the flames, especially because only the television crew member’s hysteria-filled tweets were the only things to be retweeted is beyond me. I finally had to unfollow the author because things were getting out of hand and nothing about it was nice. Nothing. Everyone who read these tweets ended up hurt, or angry, or depressed, or just feeling bad about everything in general. What a waste of time.

Another instance of an inappropriate response happened last night. I decided to upgrade my email newsletter account to a paid one to take advantage of some of the premium services they offer. Apparently, and unbeknownst to me, the company that handles the plugin for their service (and the plugin is what makes my newsletter subscription forms show up here on my website) is not the same company that owns the site where I compose and send the newsletters. Their names are almost the same, but they are completely different companies. So when I signed up for the upgrade and paid for it, I was actually signing up for a premium account with the plugin people, not the newsletter site.

I realized this when I received the invoice, and immediately contacted PayPal to stop the payment, and if it had gone through I wanted a full refund, now. Of course, you have to give a reason because they’d like to know if something shady is going on, so I wrote that the plugin company concealed the fact that they weren’t part of the email service site, and I had bought something I didn’t want.

I got my refund, no problem. I have to hand it to them for that. What I don’t have to hand it to them for is the snarky message from someone named Liz. She apologized for “the inconvenience” but then added that it was clear the plugin was different from the email service if I had “just looked.” Babe, I did look. I don’t just go handing out sums of money without checking into who will get it first. A good businessperson would have just apologized for the mix up, refunded my money, and let it go. But since Liz felt it necessary to add a bit of ugliness to the transaction, I will be watching this plugin very, very carefully from now on to make sure it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. And what it’s supposed to do is subscribe you to my newsletter list and automatically and immediately send you a copy of Heart of Gold. So if you sign up and don’t get your book, let me know ASAP. In the meantime, I’ll be searching around for another newsletter service provider because my trust is now in the toilet for both the plugin and the newsletter site. And it’s all thanks to Liz not being nice.

Juli Page Morgan: Staying Nice in the Face of Ugliness

There’s way too much Liz in our world today. So I’d like to invite you to join me in being nice. This does mean that you might have to bite your tongue at times until it bleeds, but adding to the general ugliness is not only putting it out there in the world, it also smears itself all over you and ends up making you feel bad. That temporary high you get from telling someone to get hell out of the middle of the grocery store aisle just ends up putting you in a foul mood for the next person you run across.

Saturday my husband and I did our twice-yearly bulk shopping trip, and the store was beyond crowded. I’m not a fan of crowds anyway, and it seemed everyone was going out of their way to get right in front of us and either come to a dead halt or get right in front of something we needed and not move. One lady did it over and over again, like she’d planned it. But she didn’t plan it. She didn’t even realize she was in our way for, like, four aisles. My husband finally had enough and blew past her as he muttered to me that we’d come back down that aisle for what we needed later. As I passed the woman I noticed she looked vaguely irritated and out of sorts, and it hit me that she probably didn’t like the crowded condition of the store, either. No telling how many people had inconvenienced her before she got in front of us. So as I passed her, I complimented her handbag. It wasn’t anything especially pretty, just your plain brown Louis Vuitton bag, but it was a nice shape and size. So I just said, “I like your handbag. It’s such a perfect size.” The irritation on her face vanished, and she smiled and thanked me. I felt better. She felt better. And all it took was two short sentences to someone who was bugging the crap out of me ten seconds earlier.

Juli Page Morgan: Staying Nice in the Face of Ugliness

Hey, it’s not always that way. Some people look at me like I’m crazy for saying something nice to them. But you know what? Not my circus, not my monkeys. I put a little nice out there in the world. Perhaps if everyone put some nice out then people wouldn’t see it as so out of the ordinary, right?

I always make sure my newsletter is full of nothing but nice, too. So if you’d like your email to give you good, fun, happy news, subscribe! You’ll get a free book and everything! (And if you don’t get that book immediately, let me know!) Win-win.

And spread the nice!

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4 Responses to Staying Nice In The Face of Ugliness

  1. Debi Matlack says:

    Amen to trying to make the world a nicer place. God knows you and I don’t agree on some things, but I try to respect your position while stating my case if I feel a need to give an opposing viewpoint, and I hope I do the same for you. If I don’t and devolve into any Liz-behavior, I want to hear about it. Because I try to make an effort to contain the negativity too, why else do I have so many Facebook pages with silly pictures, music, and feel-good stories? And it really does only take a few seconds to smile at someone, or compliment the color shirt they’re wearing, or their handbag, or how cute their toddler is, even if the little demon-spawn is shrieking like a fire alarm. Because they might really need that reassurance, right that moment, that they’re doing okay, just the way they are, with no pressure to do, or be, or say anything else.

    • I adore your Love Makes the World Go Round page because we all need to see more stories like the ones posted there. And Do What, Y’all? is always good for a snicker if not an outright belly laugh!

      I’m downright flabbergasted by the number of people who feel it’s necessary and right to spread hostility left and right and night and day. Like, I follow Tomi Lahren’s Instagram and Facebook. She’s definitely not for everyone, but I can’t believe the number of people who vehemently disagree with her and follow her social media accounts! They live to post nastiness on anything she does, says, wears, believes, listens to, etc. Girl’s got a thick skin, I’ll say that for her. I stay far away from the comments on her accounts because there are far too many people there for no other reason than to stir up shit. Sure wish they’d find a better hobby. And it’s not just Tomi’s accounts, it’s all of them, no matter what the person’s opinion. Trolls everywhere. Nasty, ugly ones, too.

      I truly think we’ve become a nation where nastiness is the new ingrained habit. And, brother, habits are hard to change. But that’s why I’m trying my damndest to be nice, because I’m trying to make it a habit. It’s my hope that my acts of kindness each day, small though they may be, will rub off on the person who receives them, and they’ll feel compelled to pass it on. I have my fingers crossed that I can make a difference.
      julipagemorgan recently posted…Staying Nice In The Face of UglinessMy Profile

  2. All of this. Anger feeds anger. About 6 weeks ago I came to the conclusion that I had to make a choice because I was angry and anxious all the time. I had already stepped away from Twitter. I’m on the opposite side of the political aisle from most people in publishing, so Twitter always felt like w alkong into enemy territory, especially as mob mentally ruled. My Facebook feed was a nightmare, but I could control that a little better, and so I did. Now, I’m much happier. I’m spending less time filling my mind with the vitriol that rules social media. We feel too safe behind our screens which allows most people to speak without thinking and not consider the real person they’re talking to or attacking. Like you, I’m trying harder to engage more people face to face (not easy for this introvert, it’s actually exhausting at times). But, sharing a smile or laugh with someone in line at the grocery store is a hundred times better than getting angry at a stranger online.
    Sandra Lombardo recently posted…Cover Reveal: In Between Earth and Sky by Heidi HutchinsonMy Profile

    • Wow, do I ever identify, Sandra! I’m on the same side of the political aisle as you, and it’s why I ultimately took that long break from Twitter. I followed a lot of people in publishing and I grew so depressed from seeing their daily tweets putting me down. Idiot. Fool. Moron. Nazi. Fascist. And those were the nicer things said! No, they never tagged @julipagemorgan in those tweets, but they were directed toward anyone who had the same personal beliefs and convictions as me. I know you know what I mean. It was exhausting and draining, and I cannot view some of these people in the same light I once did. Just seeing their names reminds me that they think I’m lower than a snake’s belly.

      I wish I’d pulled back from Facebook more than I did last year. But that’s the main place I let my anger boil over, more than once, too. I was just so tired of being attacked with hate by my colleagues All. The. Time. But you know, I received private messages from quite a few authors who told me to hang in there, that they agreed with me on things, but they didn’t have what they called the courage to post publicly. I don’t know how much courage was involved. Mostly it was barely restrained rage. And that is NOT a good place from which to post anything. I wish I hadn’t said some of the things I did, but hey. I said them, and I own it. I just shouldn’t have used some of the words I did. Can’t take it back, but I can move on.

      Twitter is still toxic, and I follow very few people now. So when I do log on every now and again I’m not hit in the face with hate. I totally agree with you about how the anonymity of the internet feeds the constant negativity. If actual photos and addresses were published alongside those comments I’ll betcha 90% of them would never get posted. But God bless the Block feature. It’s been my go to on all my social media accounts. At least we can do that, which allows us to ignore trolls. And we can smile at strangers and say “Hey!” I, too, am an introvert, and it is a difficult thing, especially when your smile is met with hostility of some sort. But that’s their problem, right? Maybe later on that night they’ll think of that smile and think, “That was nice of her to do that, even though I was being a douche.” And next time maybe it’ll be them that gives the smile. 🙂
      julipagemorgan recently posted…Staying Nice In The Face of UglinessMy Profile

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