To Blog or Not To Blog...
Thursday, April 16, 2015
On two occasions since joining SparkPeople, I have read blogs and comments about what is and isn't appropriate to include in a blog and/or in comments to a blog. So far, I have had a "live and let live" mindset about it all, and as of today will continue to have that approach to blogging because it all comes down to individual styles of communicating.
It reminds me of a situation I was in many years ago after I first married. My new husband's family of origin and my family of origin had very different ways of approaching some aspects of life. My family of origin was relatively private about what we believed were family matters. His family and origin was much more open about those things. One "family matter" that I believed should be private was what I paid for things I purchased. It was not unusual for my new mother-in-law to ask me what I paid for my new dress or the new lawn chairs. The first few times she asked, I was annoyed by the question, but because I was taken by surprise, I told her what I paid. She then responded with a comment about how she wouldn't pay that much for the item or how she had purchased a similar item for less. I ended up feeling criticized for my choices and annoyed with her and myself for having given her the information. After a few months of these exchanges, I decided to respond differently. When I was asked what I paid for something, I responded by saying something to the effect that I probably paid too much, complimented her on her good bargain-hunting skills, then changed the subject. It took a few years, but eventually she kept asking me.
What was most important about my handling of this situation is not how I got her to quit asking me what I paid for something, but that I chose two important things for my relationship with her. First was my choice to stand up for myself in a firm but polite way when I felt my values were being questioned. Second, and I believe more importantly, I chose to view the differences in the way my mother-in-law interacted with me and others compared to how my own mother would do so as neither good nor bad, but just different. You see, I knew that my mother-in-law is a kind, genuinely caring person who would never intentionally hurt another person, especially not her son's wife. I chose to pause before reacting to things she did or said that otherwise I might have experienced in a negative way. Now here we are many years later, and she tells me I am like another daughter to her. She has been more of a mother than mother-in-law to me, especially since my mother died almost 15 years ago. We both feel very fortunate to have had each other in our lives all these years.
What does any of that have to do with blogging on SparkPeople? Simply that we each have a choice about how we will respond to the blogs and comments of other members. We can chose to become annoyed when we read a blog or get comments on our blogs that we don't like or that we believe don't reflect what we thought we communicated, or we can chose to believe that every blogger and commenter has the best of intentions in whatever they say. If I only have the first choice, I would quit blogging or reading and commenting on others' blogs. With the second choice, I enjoy both the act of blogging and the comments from readers.
It is my hope that nothing I have said here feels like a criticism or is hurtful to anyone who reads it. My intention is simply to offer a perspective that may be helpful to my fellow Spark members. If it isn't helpful, feel free to dismiss it. If it is helpful, my time has been well spent. In either case, I have benefited from the recollection of my early days of marriage and the reminder of how fortunate I am to have such a loving mother-in-law.