“You’re a bad mom,” the anonymous blog comment read. And it didn’t stop there. It went on to detail just how I was failing as a mother and how this person was so disappointed with me.
After I read the comment, I felt crushed and discouraged. Maybe it was true. I started questioning my mothering abilities and quickly began feeling like a big failure.
Before I sunk into a state of utter discouragement, though, I decided I should probably have Jesse read the comment to see if he thought there was truth in it.
After Jesse read the comment, his response was: “That anonymous commentor may be disappointed with you, but they don’t know what goes on in our home. I’m not disappointed with you and that’s what matters.”
This experience reminded me of the lesson I’ve been learning over and over as a blogger. I am always going to disappoint someone. It’s inevitable. As much as I wish I could please everyone all the time, I realize that it’s impossible.
When I say yes to playing with my kids, it might mean that I don’t get as many blog posts written and I disappoint my blog readers. Or, when I say yes to spending time with my husband, it might mean I don’t have time to respond to as many comments from readers as I’d like to get to respond to — probably disappointing someone that I didn’t respond to their question or kind comment.
No matter what I blog (or don’t blog) about or what I do (or don’t do) as a blogger, someone is going to be disappointed.
Some would love me to write more on a certain subject or share fewer of a certain type of post. Some wish I were more real and messy. Others wish I were more perfect and put-together. And just when I think I’ve finally found a way to strike a great balance, someone comes along and says that I’m totally missing the mark.
Whether you’re a blogger or not, you’ve likely experienced the same in your own life. You just can’t please everyone. You’re never going to measure up to everyone’s expectations for you. And no matter what you do, you’re always going to be disappointing some people — usually without meaning to do so.
So what do you do when you disappoint someone? Here are some suggestions I’ve learned from my journey out of living my life as a people-pleaser these past few years (it’s still a journey, and I’ve far from arrived!)
1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
When you find out that you’ve disappointed someone, don’t immediately do what I did in the scenario above and start berating yourself. This never accomplishes anything good. Instead, nip this in the bud and make yourself think objectively (see step #2).
2. Step Back & Consider Their Perspective
Ask yourself (or a trusted friend or family member): “Is there merit in this person’s disappointment?”
Did you do something offensive that you need to ask forgiveness for (see step #3)? Is this a person who knows you well and has your best interests at heart? Or is this someone who is just making a false accusation?
3. Graciously Admit When You’re Wrong
I make mistakes. I struggle. I fall. I fail. I’m a work in progress and I’m learning right along with the rest of you.
When I make mistakes and it disappoints someone, I want to own up to that, admit that I was wrong, and ask forgiveness. Justifying my wrong behavior and/or pretending it never happened are never the right ways to respond — even if it wasn’t entirely my fault.
4. Determine Your Personal Priorities
What’s going to matter in 25 years from now? This question really helps me to figure out my priorities and what matters most. It also helps me to be okay when I’ve been a disappointment as a blogger if I know that my more important priorities (health, family, relationship with the Lord, etc.) are thriving.
Note: In my book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, I talk about how determining my Personal Priorities and creating what I call a “Best Stuff List” has revolutionized my life. It’s helped me to have much clearer focus and given me confidence to say no to things that aren’t the most important priorities in order to say yes to what’s really going to matter years from now. If this is an area you struggle with, I encourage you to pre-order a copy of my book as I think you’ll be encouraged by my journey and the struggles I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned.
5. Stop Living Your Life to Please Other People
You can’t please everyone or make everyone happy. But you can sure exhaust yourself trying.
Wrap your life around your personal priorities, be confident in the things you are called to do, be as gracious as you can, but accept that you will disappoint some people along the way. And that’s okay.
How do you deal with people who are disappointed with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
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