One day last week, I stumbled upon a video made by Rachel Farnsworth. I was not familiar with who Rachel was, but I was very inspired by her spunk, authenticity, insight and her vulnerability.
Rachel hosted her own cooking show. One day, she received a derogatory comment from a viewer, regarding her gray hair. Instead of withdrawing and feeling victimized, Rachel took matters into her own hands in a very public way.
If you would like to view Rachel’s video, you will find it here: https://youtu.be/aFk9L3nhS0Q
I was impressed with Rachel’s forthright approach to the nasty comment. Some of us, would have gone into a fetal position and cried ourselves to sleep over the cruel comment of a stranger. Others would probably strike back in anger at the offending person, calling them a few names that we usually refrain from using in polite company. Very few of us would do what Rachel did and publicly respond to the heartless comments with dignity and an authenticity that takes your breath away.
In her response, Rachel calls-out the bully who sent the insensitive comment. At the same time, as someone who faced physical challenges throughout her life, she reminds each one of us to embrace our so-called imperfections. Rachel advises us to be content with ourselves now, no matter what our physical appearance may be.
The truth is the person who made the derogatory remark about Rachel’s gray hair is not perfect. Secondly, they probably don’t feel very good about themselves. That comment about Rachel’s gray hair had more to do with the critic than Rachel. People who actually feel good about themselves, do not feel a need to criticize others. Besides, who decides what is perfect in a human being?
There was a question that came up for me while watching Rachel’s video. Why do we let the criticism of others wound us so deeply? Why do so many of us take critical comments to heart and believe those comments to be more true than positive feedback we receive? My guess is that Rachel received hundreds, if not thousands of positive, uplifting, encouraging comments from her viewers. Yet, the one that got to her, was the one that was just plain cruel and came out of ignorance.
My intention is not to diminish Rachel’s brave response or her inspiring message to all of us. I applaud her for her strength and I’m so glad she made that video.
What I am pointing to, is that this is a perfect example of how we often give credence to the insensitive and cruel comments of others. We let them upset us and too often they take our energy away from the people who are supportive and encouraging in our lives. Some of us let comments from unsupportive people stop us from following our dreams, or we allow them to make us feel small.
We can’t force people to be sensitive or refrain from making cruel comments. The only control we have when someone says something hurtful, is to take an objective look at the comment and decide if it even merits a response. If you think a response is necessary, then respond in a way that aligns with your values. That’s what Rachel did.
Sadly, Rachel suffered from a rare autoimmune disease and she passed away about a year after making the video.