There’s a guy I follow on Facebook who ends every video with, “remember, people are hurting out there, hugs and smiles are free. Give them away generously.”

I love that. It’s kind. It’s a nudge and a gentle reminder.

My house is for sale right now. Right the fuck now. The last week we spent madly cleaning and hiding clutter. To say I’m tired is beyond true.

Someone viewed the house this morning and the realtor left some feedback that started with “my clients don’t have a use for a large workshop.” Ok, so my first thought is why come see this house when the shop is clearly listed in the description?

And then it went on to criticize the hell out of everything about the house in a very snide way, before saying that the place wasn’t right for his clients anyway.

Um…. so…. what?

There’s most definitely a better way to go about leaving feedback but it was clear that this wasn’t intended as helpful feedback at all. It was mean.

I was reading a post on an art group on Facebook criticizing people who paint with alcohol ink drops and call it art. It spurred a whole debate from who gets to decide what is art, to posting in ways that doesn’t shut fledgling artists down.

People just starting out are vulnerable. I know I was when I started showing my work. A word or harsh feedback can easily cause a fragile artist to pack it up and abandon their craft. And then we all lose because the world needs more beauty, more creativity and more art in it, not less.

There’s art I definitely do not like so I have two choices in how I response: 1. don’t respond at all, 2. say something nice even if it’s neutral like about the colours, or their creativity.

Notice how neither of those choices causes damage. Notice how neither of those choices costs me more than saying something mean.

We are constantly bombarded by horrible things in the news, online and in life. It feels like the negative is the norm but it doesn’t have to be. We can be the change we want to see in the world, starting with the simplest and kindest of words.

“Hey, heads up that we noticed something that could use attention on the house.”
“Hey, I love that you keep creating colourful art!”
“Hey, [pick something nice to say here].”

There’s no need to be a big bag of dicks.

Categories: Art