What Open Letters And 6 Things To Never Say Type Posts Do To A Heart


When I wrote A Letter to My Sons – (the real reason I say no to electronics), I was shocked when it went viral.  Shocked because this was a letter to my boys expressing my heart to them. I’m a terrible blogger.  What I mean is that I don’t understand SEO language.  I don’t attend blogger conferences.  I don’t do anything you are supposed to do to grow a blog other than write.  I’ve never explored how to make money from my blog (which by the way I don’t).  This is all part of the reason it was so surprising to me.

I couldn’t help wondering what caused that post to spread so quick and wide.  Did I use key terms without realizing it?  I later realized the post was popular because so many people could relate to it.  I had many people send me messages saying that it put voice to what was in their heart.  They just didn’t have the words to express it.

{For those of you who sent me comments like that, you have no idea what it meant to me.  The reason I write is to encourage you (while I remind myself) that we are on a beautiful journey – even when it looks messy.  I’m getting off-topic now, so back on track.}

This post was titled “Letter to my Sons”, which caused to me take notice of the recent posts that have filled up my inbox and newsfeed.  These aren’t new, they have been popular for some time.  For some reason, I’m just taking notice to them.  I’m referring to the posts that have titles similar to things like “Open Letter To….”  or “6 Things to Never Say to a …..”  They spread like wildfire. Mostly, because many of us can relate to them.  It helps us to feel not so alone. Sometimes.  At other times it evokes a different feeling or emotion.  Shame, regret, insecurity, embarrassment, to name a few, which ultimately make us feel…alone.

Here’s the thing.  Sometimes, these types of posts leave me feeling discouraged and like a failure. Again.  It’s one thing to listen to my inner critic telling me all the ways I’m failing through my day.  “You have not sent thank you notes for Andrew’s party.  From November! Everyone must think you are so ungrateful.”  “You haven’t answered those emails piling up. They must think you don’t really care.”  “You yelled at your 8 year old.  You are a terrible mom.” See where I’m going?

We are SO hard on ourselves.  Then to read a post or article that tells me I’ve failed someone big time (though unintentionally, so they don’t fault me-because they don’t know me), well, I leave that article feeling embarrassed and shamed.  Worse than that, I feel a barrier was erected.  Because while I was reading, I wasn’t reading through any kind of lens of love.  I walked away with a hurt in my heart.

These types of posts can be read on both sides of the fence.  I’ve read them from both sides.

Sometimes I read those posts and can relate.  I’ll admit, I’ve nodded my head in agreement and offered a silent Amen.  Then I’ve hit the share button. I’ve felt offended by the comments people have made to me.  I was a working mom for the first two years of Jacob’s life.  It was the hardest two years of my life.  I have a soft spot for the working moms.  People would say the craziest things to me, and I walked away feeling like an awful mom and believing that is the way they viewed me as well.  Then I became a stay at home mom.  And I had people say the craziest things to me again.  I walked away feeling worthless and like what I did didn’t amount to much.

Here’s the thing.  I’ve said things that have offended others as well! Unintentionally.  I would never intentionally offend, but sometimes I speak then think.  I mess up.  I fail. And I feel awful when I realize what I did.  The people that have spoken into my life words that hurt, often it was not spoken with the intent to hurt.  Often it was spoken because they didn’t know what else to say.  Maybe they had never experienced what I was going through and they spoke quickly without realizing the impact it could have on my heart.  I get that because I’ve done it more times than I wish were the case.

The good and the bad in this online world we are living in is the power that it holds over our thought life.  We can read something that lifts us up.  2 minutes later we can read something that makes us feel like the biggest failure in the world.  What we read shapes us and influences us more than we realize at times.  Some of what I’ve read has shaped how I view life, how I raise my kids, even how I feed my kids.

What we write and what we read holds a great deal of power.

Moms and Ladies- we are in this together.  We are a team.  We are sisters.  We love each other.  Let’s write like we are on the same team.  Let’s read like we are on the same team. Let’s share like we are on the same team.

My real-life friend and blogger over at Domestic Charm recently wrote a post about her daughter being the victim of mean girls.  Her post was beautiful and inspired her readers because of her response to the situation.

Friends, the online world allows the mean girl syndrome to emerge sometimes.  Therefore, we are wise to guard what we write, read, and share.

Many of the posts I’ve read recently did not intend to be the “mean girl”.  I should lay it out here….the mean girl is only an analogy I’m using.  I am in no way calling anyone or any post a mean girl.  I’m simply illustrating an example. If you have written a post like this, I’m not standing here in judgement.  If you share these types of post, I’m not writing this in judgement.  I’ve done the very thing I’m writing about.

Many of these types of posts make us feel like the target of the mean girl.  The online world gives a way to express the sentiments of the mean girl even when written without that intent.  I believe no blogger or writer is attempting to be a mean girl.  This is why I am going ahead and stating now, I’m not posting this to debate.  None of us want to be the mean girl.  But when we post things that are going to make someone feel awful about what they’ve done and said unintentionally, out of ignorance even, it becomes a mean girl type of post.

It goes beyond just the articles that tell us how we fail to communicate properly.  It includes the articles that give us 9 ways we are messing up our kids or 11 ways we are destroying our marriage.  I don’t know about you, but I struggle every single day with these types of damaging thoughts.  This is where the enemy would love our thoughts to plant themselves.  Right at the corner of failure and shame.  That is not the bench we need to sit on, so together, let’s move to another bench.

Many of the posts I’ve read recently have come from a place of the writer experiencing something that is really hard.  Really, really hard.  And the gist of the posts are expressing how people who respond to them can ‘do better’ when they relate to them or communicate to the writer or people who can relate to the writer.  We can’t change how each person that communicates with us chooses to express themselves.  We can’t change how they go about relating to people and doing life.  We can’t change anyone except ourselves.

Instead of us becoming so easily offended by what others do and say, what if we chose a different course?  What if in those instances, we put on a new set of shades?  Love colored lenses?  If we can’t change what we see and hear, maybe we can change how we see it and hear it.

So, I have an idea.  Or at least I’m planning to try this.  My expectations and my perspectives and perceptions get me into trouble at times.  Trouble in my heart.  I place enormous expectations on people.  And I feel the weight of everyone’s expectations on me.  Sometimes the rebel inside wants to just let go.  But I won’t, because God wants more from me than that.

When someone says something to me that offends, I will not think to myself a single negative thought.  I will choose instead to think something positive about this person.

I will release people from living up to my expectations.  Instead I will choose to believe they are living this life the best way they know how.  Because of that, they will do and say some things right and some things wrong.  Just like me.

I will choose to smile and offer grace and mercy.  Because I myself have received it.

I will choose not to be offended.  I will choose love instead.

I will choose to think from their perspective.  Not only mine.

I will choose selectively what I share on FB, Twitter, etc.  If it is an article that states my case and vindicates me passive-aggressivley, maybe I shouldn’t spread it.  If it will encourage someone in their day, maybe it’s a good share.

I will choose to wear my love colored lenses today.

I will choose to look up and realize He’s covered all of my offenses and cleansed me, therefore, I should show mercy without ceasing.

Ladies, let’s choose to put on our love colored lenses today and change the way we see the people and hear the voices around us.  Let’s encourage each other and build each other up.  We are each on our own private, hard path.  God intended for us to love each other and join together down these paths.  Let’s show mercy.  And love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-5 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

[box] PS – This post is not intended to incite debate over any posts or articles in the “Open Letter” or “6 Things Not to Say” category. I humbly ask you to refrain from commenting in a way that could be negative or hurtful.  I used the mean girl as an analogy and in no way am calling anyone a mean girl. This post is meant to inspire each of us to view the “offender” in our lives through the lens of love rather than judgement and to think before we write, read, or share something that will make someone feel worse about themselves. Particularly when it’s an area they may be uncomfortable in or never personally experienced.  I pray this post is read through loved colored lenses today. [/box]

1 reply
  1. Brenna@DomesticCharm
    Brenna@DomesticCharm says:

    Thanks for sharing my post. And just to make you feel better….. I still haven’t sent thank you notes for Christmas, I yell at my kids far too often, and I’m sure I am messing them up in more than 9 ways! 🙂 Thanks for this post because it’s true, even if the writers don’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.

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