by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Have you been the recipient of unwelcome or even scurrilous printed comment and criticism? Face it. It's a very irritating thing. You're human. It hurts. Visions of legal recourse, even mafia-style revenge, dance in your head. You have been damaged. They'll be hell to pay.
Before rushing ahead, pause and consider the case of Harriet Wilson and the celebrated Duke of Wellington, victor of Waterloo.
Harriet Wilson (1786-1845) was a Regency courtesan. She was beautiful and knew how to use her charms to maximum advantage. The Prince Regent (later King George IV) headed an A-list of beguiled English gentlemen, including four future prime ministers. The Duke of Wellington appeared prominently on this list.
Alas! Even the most dazzling get old... and charms which were over powering diminish.So it happened with Harriet Wilson. Harriet, however, understood that "kiss and tell" had its advantages. So, enterprising woman that she was, she hired a ghost writer and began to spin tales of the gentlemen she had known, such tales to be included in memoirs which remain in print to this day.
As the chapters were finished, Harriet, ever resourceful, sent them not just to her publisher but to the gentlemen featured therein. Included, almost as an afterthought, was a number in pounds sterling. In other words, Harriet's price for NOT publishing and embarrassing the gentleman and his (sure-to-be-shocked) family.
When the Iron Duke received his chapter and "request", he, a man of sterner disposition than most, penned a line which put Harriet in her place: "Publish, and be damned!" She did... and no doubt she was!
How you should handle unwelcome comments and criticism
1) "Never complain, never explain."
The human animal is often an unthinking animal. People have always said the unwise, made hurtful comments without proof, thought the worst and published it. Nothing new under the sun here. Then enter e-mail and the Internet. Now the nasty, the haters, the merely gossipy and garrulous have the means to run amuck.
Should you find yourself the object of hurtful comments and criticism, on line or off, count to 10 and cool off. The worst time to do anything is when you're hurt and angry. Here Henry Ford II can help with his famous comment listed above. Edward VII's famous lines can also sooth, lines he prominently posted in a mistress' boudoir: "They say. What say they. Let them say."
2) Have you really been damaged, or just your pride hurt?
The truth is, while people generally are quite prepared to believe the worst about any one (Mother Theresa herself was not immune), their interest in you and whatever they've read that you've done is brief and generally unimportant. They have, after all, bigger fish to fry: the details of their own enthralling lives. Beyond this, so much negative information pours forth daily, that even the most assiduous just plain haven't got the time to mull over the nastiness to which you've been subjected.
Thus, ask yourself: has the comment, no matter how negative, actually damaged you, or has it just hurt your pride? Have you been the victim of unsubstantiated comments and criticism (which mean little or nothing), or are the allegations so stated and presented to damage you?
On the Internet, for instance, negative comments are common place. That's bad. The good news, however, for those criticized is that such comments are usually anonymous and unproven, hence toothless.
Such being the case, NO response is appropriate. Let the comment or criticism die a natural death without increasing the number of people knowing about it by responding with even a single word. This is hard advice to follow since it leaves the false accuser unscathed.... but it is nonetheless what you should do: absolutely nothing.
3) You have been materially damaged
Ok, so more than your ego has been damaged. You feel you need to take action.
By all means schedule an appointment with your lawyer. What he'll want to know specifically is how you've been damaged, what the dollar amount of this damage may be, and whether the defendant has resources.
The lawyer (and be quite clear that your lawyer is right for the job) will be hard-headed and direct, focusing the discussion not just on chances of winning... but the financial situation of the attacker. Plain and simple: can he pay for the harm inflicted?
The truth is, many of those posting nasty-grams online are judgement proof. In plain language they are dirt poor and thereby immune from action. Professional haters and dirt dishers, they know this, and it provides one of the few sources of happiness in their shabby lives.
If the lawyer comes to the conclusion that you are better off to grin and bear it, no matter how hurtful the comments, accept this advice. It's to your benefit.
4) Console yourself by considering the company you now keep
EVERY great figure of history has been subject to hurtful comment and nasty criticism: Jesus, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln... they have all been hammered by the haters, the mental defectives, the small, the insignificant, the merely crude and vulgar. Now you are amongst their exalted number. You are among the saints who will go marching in!
Remember this: whatever hurtful people may say or publish about you today, you can disprove merely by continuing to be the good person you are. "This, too, shall pass." The Duke of Wellington's reputation, for one, was not tainted by Harriet Wilson's attempt to black mail... but that attempt has permanently tainted Ms. Wilson and made it clear to all the world what kind of person she was.
Now adhere to the old Irish saying, "Living well is the best revenge" and enjoy yourself while your attackers writhe because you have seen the value of ignoring them completely and enjoying yourself instead! Viva!
About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc.,
where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant's live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice. Republished with author's permission by Ruthsella Corasol