But that's so mean!

While I was peacefully minding my own business a couple of days ago, someone passed on to me - quite innocently - what another party had said about me.  And it wasn't flattering.  (Now, before you jump to conclusions, the person who "told" was a child, so it really was quite innocent.)

I've been turning over this unflattering statement about me in my head ever since.  Ugh.  Who wants to hear something mean, unflattering, critical about themselves?  Oh, I suppose we have to hear it sometimes - maybe a job review or standing in that three way mirror in the dressing room when your friend says,  "You can't wear those pants in public."  But at least we know it's coming - we're set up for it.  We've sort of given "permission" if you will, for another person to take a critical view of us.

But what to do when it comes out of "nowhere"?  Suddenly, I hear that someone whom I consider a friend said something rather...mean.  And it hurts.  It feels like a little betrayal. 

I have often wondered what life was like for the little Holy Family.  Settled in a small home in Nazareth, inside their home must have been warmth and love and joy.  But what did the neighbors say?  Did they make snide remarks about the timing of the child's birth?  "You know, I heard she was pregnant before they were wed...."  Did Mary's humility draw the ire of those less charitable?  Did Joseph's quiet ways make him an easy target for bolder, less-honorable men?  And Jesus...well, He always drew the attention of those quick to judge.

Please don't get me wrong:  I am NOT comparing myself to the members of the Holy Family.  I am saying, though, that they knew must have known how it felt to have critical, mean, judgmental things said about them, and I find comfort in that.  They knew what it meant to be hurt by a neighbor, a friend, a colleague. 

"The Family of Nazareth was the first model of the Church in which, in the presence of Jesus and thanks to His mediation, a filial rapport with God came to transform even interpersonal relations". - Pope Benedict XVI

Let us pray to the Holy Family that we can transform all our relationships into ones that are good, holy and honest.


  1. Kids can report word-for-word. What they often can't report is tone of voice or context. My friends and I have occasionally said things about each other that, if they were reported by a third party, could very well be taken as gratuitous nastiness. Friends may overlook your faults, but that doesn't mean they don't see them. One of my favorite quotes is that "a friend is a person who can see right through you and still enjoy the show."

    Please understand, I'm not trying to validate the friend's hurtful words. I am saying that you should give her the opportunity to repair the friendship, and possibly explain what she meant.

  2. Oh, I realize that. It wasn't the sort of thing that could be taken out of context though, and I'm sure it wasn't said with malice, but critical words are still critical words. What I was trying to get at was how we deal with criticism, deserved or not.

  3. its must be the day for gossip. today I heard that i had spent Christmas in the local mental hospital and was still there , oh that poor girl is very bad this time, was the comment that was passed to one of my collegues who was surprised to see me at work and looking so well , best rumour ever was told to me last summer was that i was getting married again but no one knew to whom, not even my closest friends , before christmas there was a rumour that my daughter and her friend had gone to live my my mother. Gossip can be very damaging but we are lucky that there are people out there who at least trust us enough to tell us the honest truth about what is being said, once we have faith in ourselves does it matter what others think, we know the truth ourselves, but it can still be hurtful, i still stuggle not to personalise undeserved critisim ,its not always easy to turn the other cheek

  4. Jane, it is NOT easy to turn the other cheek. I think we all struggle with that.


I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

What To Do When There Is Nothing Left To Do

Being a human is ...  messy. Our relationships with loved ones get strained, we get angry or upset, we say stuff we shouldn't .... We ...