How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love

June 13, 2015

In my role as something akin to a critic at RandomC, I’ve run afoul of readers who really don’t like what I said about certain shows. I’ve had people flame me, insult me, rage at me, and worse—all over my opinions on Japanese cartoons.

If that sounds silly, remember that this happens all the time, even to casual fans who evince opinions on certain books, movies, or TV shows, and especially if they do it online. People can be inordinately passionate about the stories they identify with. Why?

I just gave away the answer. Because they identify with them. A story that resonates with you is one that touches something personal inside you, so when someone comes along and says that story is shit, it feels like an indictment against you. It feels personal, even though it isn’t.

It’s important to remember that all art is subjective, and while your relationship with a story is personal, that’s true for everyone else as well. Their opinion has to do with their reaction to the story. It has nothing to do with you.

So if I say that Sword Art Online or Twilight are bad, and you like them, you shouldn’t let it bother you—even if, and this is important, you secretly know I’m right. Everyone vibes with at least a few stories that aren’t particularly good. This is true of everyone, even critics. I know it’s true of me.

So if someone dislikes a story you love, remember that it’s almost never personal. Even someone hating my book, which I personally wrote, isn’t an insult to me. Save for the rare situations where a reader attacks me personally, someone saying unkind things about my work has far more to do with their personal relationship with said work than it has to do with me.

If that’s true of me as an author—if I can separate myself from my work enough to not get bent out of shape at every bad review—why would you ever take umbrage when someone insults a story you didn’t even write? It’s a waste of time and effort.

Love what you love. Love it even if it’s kind of shit, and don’t feel guilty about it. Getting butthurt is just a waste of time—time better spent reading more, watching more, listening to more, and having a good time, no matter what anyone else thinks.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

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