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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.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you. I agree that it is important to understand that people communicate differently.

    It is not difficult to see how someone might respond in a way they think is supportive while the person it is offered to may instead think they were ignored or misunderstood. It's highly likely that everyone who communicates with another person has occasionally been the cause of unintentional hurt feelings.

    It is not so much what we do or do not say but rather the perspective of the other person that determines whether we connected as intended.
    1936 days ago
    Relationships should challenge us. Unfortunately, in the blogisphere, we are wide open to mis- interpretation.
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    1936 days ago
    Wow - this blog is so fantastic because it reminds us that we are all different and to remember others are coming from a different perspective
    1936 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15212119
    As someone who has often had that dreadful "Foot In The Mouth" disease I am probably guilty of many faux pas, but don't worry that I ever mean to criticize or belittle. I too have read a few post that raised my eyebrows, but like you I like to have the similar attitude of live and let live. I find the older I get the more tolerant of the loose mouthed opinions. Those that sounded better in the heads apparently, LOL.
    1936 days ago
    emoticon . Its really nice to adopt such a balanced approach. Thanks for sharing
    1937 days ago
    Well said and good examples. I think it's interesting to see the variety of topics people write about and some are focused on sharing, helping others, or self reflection.
    1937 days ago
    You're so level-headed! A great example of a balanced approach.

    1937 days ago
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    1937 days ago
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