The great temptation, I found, is to fall so quickly into the kind of behaviour that is causing the problem in the first place. It's worrying natural to leap into 'an eye for an eye' and fight negativity with negativity when it is the most ineffective attitude to adopt to really transform a situation. First of all, as Gabby suggests, I've found that when comments hit home it's worth spending a little time touching base with myself and asking if they have any real merit. 'Criticism is free advice' is one of my favourite mottos. That comment may not have been made in the kind of spirit I may have wished for but it may have done me an enormous favour. Very often I take it, use it and say 'Ta very much!'.
But you know what? Sometimes people get it wrong. Sometimes people say things out of their own unresolved pool of emotion. At times like that we really need to ask ourselves why someone else's opinion has merit over our own. To have the confidence of our convictions. As a Christian I turn to one of my other fundamentals, who is my audience here? In reality my audience is one. He's the one I'm doing anything in my life for and the only one I need justify myself to.
So what if you think they've got it wrong? What then? I know how I'd like to be treated. I'd like someone to forgive me, to look beyond something stupidly said to the person underneath who, like everyone else, is simply doing their best. I'd like someone to behave in a way that brought light into the situation. There is only one response to anger and that is peace. There is only one response to negativity and that is to be positive. There is only one response to thoughtlessness and that is to forgive. Don't mistake me, that is hard. Intensely hard. I get it so wrong but that is what I'm committing to afresh to this week.