There’s this new book that I’m obsessed with – it makes my heart sing. It reminds me of the first time I ever read Winnie the Poo. Pure magic. It’s called The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and it’s written by Charlie Mackesy. As a writer I take copyright very seriously – but I’ve taken the liberty of showing you one of the pages in the hope that you will rush out and buy it. If you do one thing this week I hope you will treat yourself to this treasure chest of happiness, kindness and a window into a much nicer, braver world.
“SIMPLY, THE WORLD NEEDS CHARLIE’S WORK RIGHT NOW,’ MIRANDA HART
Back in my work life, I’m dealing, as usual with the UK tabloid press – an activity I enjoy and hate in equal measure. I don’t buy into the idea of an evil “other” hating media – as, like everything else in life, the media’s filled with the best of us and the worst of us. So strangely one of the most obnoxious journalists I ever met at work; turned out to be the very best of people when I was going through my dark times.
People surprise you sometimes.
But this week pitching a gorgeous client, who is a little way over 40 – even worse – is a female who still looks amazing for her age and wants to live a bold, wonderful, purposeful life. So we stepped out onto social media/traditional media with our heads up – this is a charity story and with nothing controversial in it at all – and the comments started. To be fair most engagement was fabulous – but then sure enough in they came as they always do. The nasties peeking their heads up and boy when they got going did they sink low.
I’m not going to repeat any of the comments – needless to say they were, mainly anonymous or under some stupid immature pseudonym – usually with some connection to sci fi – extremely personal, very angry and shouty, spiteful, ageist and (no surprise here) very misogynistic.
As a seasoned professional I was, sadly, ready for them and know how to protect my clients. Ah the power of the delete button and my constant mantra from the glorious Michelle Obama: “When they go low – we go high”. And I will never let a client leave the room before agreeing to NEVER EVER respond to any of these moronic messages – it is a waste of life, oxygen and it gives them exactly what they want !
But what I wasn’t expecting was the impact that these comments had on my client – and I’m posting my views here with her full knowledge. This is a highly educated, super bright, talented woman who’s spent her life at the top of her career in Law. Not exactly a career for over sensitive shrinking violets – but the comments had really upset her, but worst of all had shattered her self esteem and confidence and she was wondering whether to carry on doing her fantastic work.
At this point I was steaming with rage “NO, NO – why in the World would you let these sad, anonymous voices influence you in any way whatsoever. Hurt people, hurt people. If you try and look at this in the kindest way possible these people must be deeply flawed, sad and unhappy – It is not a healthy or normal thing to do – to sit on a computer spewing out vile comments to fellow human beings who you don’t know. With a bit of amateur psychology I’m guessing that their comments provide a horrid glimpse into what they feel about themselves.
But it made me think we all have that voice in our heads – well maybe you don’t if you’re Donald Trump or happy selling double glazing to old people who don’t need it – that keeps on whispering “who do you think you are. Be quiet. Know your place. You’re too old/thin/fat/short/tall “.. and I do think it’s probably us women who suffer from this most of all.
So my wonderful friends here are my little words of “wisdom” from this older “mole”. who’s been battered and bruised by life, but has learnt some very important lessons along the way
- do stay safe on social media. Remember when you post something on another site it can stay there for many years. Make your delete button and your privacy settings your best friends and, as in life, stay well clear of negative toxic people.
- remember Michelle Obama’s words: “Public judgement sweeps in to fill a void. If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you will quickly and inaccurately be defined by others.”
- Buddhists spend a lot of time contemplating death – not in a miserable way but they see the ability to understand that we are only here for a short time as key to living a good life. I like to keep working on my epitaph – it stops me wasting time on living other people’s lives/insecurities/hangups
- keep working on any negative voice in your head and challenge it. We all have faults – hey it’s what makes us loveable. Meditation is great for this – working on the inside is what a truly content, peaceful, good life is about – all the ancient religions and philosophies knew this. My personal weapons are: authenticity, integrity and kindness – then it really is none of my business what other people think.
Have a fantastic week.