On losing my perspective and getting it back again

I got knocked down. Completely out of breath. My direction unknown to me.

All perspective lost.

All I wanted to do in those moments of fear, hurt, and humiliation was to hide. To gather up my little family, lock our doors and keep those cruel words at bay. But they assaulted me at every turn.

Yeah, words can hurt. Even when you know, deep down they aren’t true. Even when you know it isn’t about you. Even when it makes no sense at all.

This is apparently the price you must pay for writing and putting it out there for all to see.

People can be cruel. They can casually toss out insults without any shred of kindness, empathy, or respect. It’s something I’ll never understand. Something I just can’t wrap my head around. And no one will ever convince me that passion for a particular cause excuses disrespectful or hateful behavior. Where’s the good in that?

For all the work we do as parents to instill empathy and kindness in our children, I can’t help but think what happened along the way?

What happened to these grown adults to make them think that the simple rules we learned in kindergarten such as “do unto others” no longer applies to them?

These are undoubtedly questions I will be asking until the end of time. And it’s sad.

But I won’t let it change me. I can’t. I’ve got two little children who look to me and my husband for guidance on how to treat others. On how to be strong, yet kind and respectful.

It’s easier to be bitter. To lock our doors and keep everyone out. To avoid cruelty by not letting others in or protecting ourselves at every turn. To get mad and want to hurt back.

I refuse to live that way.

Sure, I may have lost my perspective for a brief moment in time. I may have pulled over on the way home from my daughter’s dance class as the insults chimed at me into my iPhone and cried uncontrollably at the incredulous cruelty of others. I may have asked over the last few days, is this worth it? Why am I putting myself out there? Why? And seriously considered packing it all in.

But I won’t.

I won’t be silent. I won’t be bullied. I won’t let hate and cruelty win.

Because I truly believe we do live in a world where kindness wins, no matter what. Even on the days when it doesn’t feel that way.

This is the world I want my children to see.

For kindness is not a sign of weakness, it’s the inner light of true unwavering strength.

And we’ve got to hold on to it with everything we’ve got.

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24 Responses to On losing my perspective and getting it back again
  1. Rachel
    May 30, 2012 | 2:05 pm

    You have been on my mind for the last 24 hours. And I see the world the same as you. So I’m happy to see that you won’t let them win! I respect others opinions but there is no reason to knock others over because they don’t share the same world views. I love your writing so keep it coming sister! I respect you so much!

  2. Elizabeth Flora Ross
    May 30, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    I don’t know what happened but I am so sorry it did. And I’m incredibly proud of you for this post! Don’t ever let anyone silence you. Your voice is too beautiful and too important!

  3. Katherine
    May 30, 2012 | 2:19 pm

    Exactly! I’ve never understood what makes another person (especially adults) say unkind words. My mother always lived by the line in Bambi that Thumper says, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

    I’m sorry you’ve been hurt, but I’m pround of you for standing right back up.

  4. Kim Romero
    May 30, 2012 | 2:20 pm

    I knew you would get through it when you stopped feeling the hurt & realized this isn’t about you. It’s about them and their issues. A simple public notice to be safe around dogs turned into a bunch of nonsense. Some people must live with a lot of anger to lash out in such an unkind, unrational way. You are 1000000% right, and might I add, .

  5. Alicia
    May 30, 2012 | 3:01 pm

    I’m so sorry for you. It is such a vulnerable position we put ourselves in, voicing our thoughts to the masses. Being mean, irrational, and disrespectful is downright cowardly and unproductive. Just remember this issue is theirs, not yours! Keep doing what you do, for every jerk there is an entire crowd of people supporting you behind the scenes!

  6. angela
    May 30, 2012 | 4:24 pm

    I’m sorry Melissa! I think sometimes the rude comments mean you’ve struck a chord with people in a way, and their defensiveness comes to nasty words.

  7. Angie N
    May 30, 2012 | 4:27 pm

    I’m so glad you aren’t throwing in the towel. I subscribe to a gillion blogs, but yours is, by far, my favorite. I trust your advice as a doctor and a mother. Your posts are always relevant, compassionate, and informative and your wit has bought a smile to my face when I needed it most. Your words have been there (on my little cell phone screen) keeping me encouraged (and awake) through the long nights rocking my babies back to sleep and cheering me up on my lunch breaks when I’m working though megatons of mom-guilt.

    So thank you for putting it out there. :) I’m very grateful.

  8. barbie walker
    May 30, 2012 | 4:50 pm

    Good to beable to read something on encouragement for everyone to feel good about themselves. There is so much gossip and bad news out there. It’s so true, every person and animal deserves to be happy. Not judged or bullied because of the color of our skin, how we dress, look, walk, talk. It will be a great day when society realizes that their presumptuous judgements can cause great harm and by simply letting eachother be happy will lead to the results that we are truely seeking from eachother in the first place. I’m glad to hear that you are happy again and will continue to write about your life experiences.

  9. Gina Osher
    May 30, 2012 | 6:08 pm

    Sending you love, Melissa. It is scary to put yourself out there. Even the smallest negative comment can start me doubting myself. Often those who love the work you do love it in silence and you never know how many of us are out there being changed and moved and inspired by your words. Don’t give in because then those who hate win. You have important things to share…and I, for one, love what you have to say.
    Thanks for toughing it out! Take care of yourself.
    – Gina

  10. Carlene
    May 30, 2012 | 8:02 pm


    I too have had similar struggles with “putting myself out there”. It was great to read the honesty of your reaction and your choice to not let it change, in essence, who you are and what you believe. Thanks for the post. Very inspiring.

  11. Alice Callahan
    May 30, 2012 | 8:44 pm

    Melissa, I’m glad you wrote this. I know how hard it is to put yourself out there. I really struggle with negative comments, and I can relate to those days when it doesn’t seem worth it. I’m glad you’ve pushed through it, and I’m sure you’re stronger for it now! Thanks for your wonderful site and writing. You share so much of yourself and help others at the same time. And thanks for setting such a great example of kindness.

  12. Nichole
    May 30, 2012 | 9:38 pm

    Beautifully put, my friend.
    Sending you so much love. xoxo

  13. Caitlin
    May 30, 2012 | 9:48 pm

    This is actually my first time to your blog. This article in inspiring and so true. And I’m excited to read more of your blogs. I read the “controversial” blog and can’t see one reason why there would be a negative word to speak. You are sharing wisdom, caution with love, I appreciate it a ton! It helped me to think of things I hadn’t yet. My 2 year old son is actually terrified of all dogs now after being playfully trampled by one at the park! I wish I would’ve thought through it all more beforehand. Thank you and carry on! :)

  14. Cheryl D.
    May 30, 2012 | 11:09 pm

    I have no idea what the person said. I read the “offending” article, and I can’t even imagine how anyone could comment about the article. However, I did meet one pitbull lover who would get livid if anyone said anything bad about that breed. Sometimes people are rude because you “attack” their cause. Or they’re rude because of the freedom to be horrible on the internet.

    Either way, I’ve learned that you just can’t take people comments that seriously. And like you, I return rudeness with kindness.

  15. Linda Thorogood
    May 31, 2012 | 2:56 am

    I just found your article on pacifiers and found it very helpful in examining how I think about my 10 month old using one and I agreed with everything you wrote. So I then clicked on your blog link and read what you’ll written about basically receiving hate mail so I wanted to say thank you for your article which has helped me and ignore the negativity they are people with issues as most healthy minded people can agree to disagree without descending into rudeness.

  16. Sara
    May 31, 2012 | 7:01 am

    I too want to thank you for continuing to blog. I recently found your posts and they always pull me back to earth, when I am struggling with my 2.5 yr old and 8 month old. I actually have one of your posts hanging on my fridge about slowing down. Thank you for what you do. Unfortunately the anonomous internet allows hatred too easily.

  17. Jessica
    May 31, 2012 | 11:17 am

    I read this post first, formed my opinion, then read your column and my opinion stayed the same. Please do not let anyone make you fearful of stating your opinions. Your column is excellent and so not controversial. The piece you linked to is one that I think is well-written and very sound. I think it’s unfortunate that it caused such “controversy,” and I hope that the “controversy doesn’t distract from what your trying to warn against– dog bites in young children. Thank you for writing that and all the other wonderful pieces you’ve written in support on parents.

  18. Madhura
    June 1, 2012 | 9:26 am

    Well written. Glad to read that you are not giving up. Please dont! I so much look forward to your posts.

    Frankly, I fail to see the “controversy” in that article.

  19. Stefanie
    June 5, 2012 | 12:36 pm

    I’m glad you’re not giving up. I, too, read the article and don’t understand what the controversy was! Keep on writing your informative posts!

  20. Tina
    June 6, 2012 | 4:28 am

    Keep your head up girl and I battle this every day too. You are right, kindness wins. I am cheering for you…

  21. mrs.monica
    June 7, 2012 | 8:38 am

    Beautiful! A friend of mine put this link in my comments of my blog today…and I’m so glad I stopped by to read. I’ve been struggling a bit with words that hurt too. I have a few posts that talk about it.


    So I completely get it! come by if you want to read more. I’ll definitely be back by your way!

  22. Melissa
    June 13, 2012 | 5:26 pm

    Thank you ALL so much for your words of kindness and support. Honestly, it meant so much to me. I apologize for my delay in getting back to each and every one of you. I think I needed some distance from this feeling but now I’m definitely moving on, trying to get my groove back :-) A learning experience indeed and yeah…I suppose I am stronger for it. Thank you all again and thanks for sharing your own words, spreading kindness, and putting yourselves out there. It matters. It truly does. XO

  23. Lynne
    July 10, 2012 | 10:22 pm

    I admire you for being a strong woman. Giving back the perspective is really hard sometimes, but it is easy when you have a positive mind and don’t let those negative things affect your life. You are right “we do live in a world where kindness wins” so let kindness be our guide in everything we do.