dropping the stick

Hi guys! I learned a great lesson yesterday that I’d love to share about “dropping the stick.” Please let me know by email (jess[at]jesslc[dot]com) or in the comment section if you are loving these recent “thinking with intention” posts or if you’d prefer more clutter, home, and business related content. I’m here to help, so just let me know! I do plan to keep a good mix overall, but I’d like to know if these “thinking” posts are valuable or if I should focus more time on the other MML categories.

Dropping the Stick

Yesterday a friend told me about a not-so-nice comment a stranger said about me. After I heard the rude comment, I reflected and came to a new level of understanding that I’m now calling “dropping the stick.”

The moment that I heard the hurtful comment, the phrase “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other” popped in my head.  I realized I had a choice: I could pick up the stick, or leave it alone. Meaning, I could judge the person who said the hurtful comment for saying such biased and unnecessary words. I could defend myself in my head by telling myself how wrong, mean, and judgmental the commenter was. I could remind myself how much “better” I am than the other person, knowing I would never say such a thing about someone. This could have caused a temporary sense of satisfaction; some ice for my bruised ego.

But by picking up that end of the stick, I would inevitably pick up the other end as well: I would be choosing to allow the comment to hurt me and thereby feel upset, angry, and sad. By judging him for the mean comment, I would be holding onto the hurt it could cause as well.

So instead, I decided to reflect on the comment itself, ignoring the man who said it, why he said it, or whether he should have said it in the first place. Ignoring the mean undertone to the comment, I reflected objectively on the situation and in this specific case, realized there was a spark of inspiration. In all honesty, I had personally been feeling uneasy about that aspect of my life and had been wanting to make some changes. I’ve also honestly noticed I’ve been a bit complacent about making that specific shift. And by reflecting purely on the comment (disregarding the ugly undertone) it inspired me to commit to the change I’ve been personally struggling with.

Refusing to place blame or pass judgment on the man who made the mean comment, I refused to allow his comment to “hurt” me. Then looking at the comment itself objectively, I found some inspiration within it to help me actually implement my own intentions. So what could have been a really hurtful, negative experience was rendered first neutral, and then positive as I later reconnected with my truest desire to improve myself.

I wonder how often we have similar experiences and we get so caught up playing with the stick that we lose sight of what’s really important or could even be useful in our lives. By simply withdrawing from the ugly and painful stick, we step then over it and make peaceful and positive progress, if needed.

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  1. tricia

    I’ve had your blog in my feed for over a year now…and I’ve been LOVING these recent posts. Usually I skim over the design/decorating/clutter ones – interesting to read, but not enough to make me stop and really really get into it (but obviously I liked them, because I kept reading!).

    But these last few weeks/months….you’ve been writing and sharing on another whole level and I love it. I *get* it more – the whole purpose and dimension of MML. It makes me want to start a blog just to share my story of living with intention and purpose. 🙂 (I write too – but thus far it’s been more private and personal…but I am thinking about how I’d like to do it in a more public way while keeping some privacy at the same time.)

    Anyways, thank you and please keep sharing yourself…it IS making a difference.

  2. Annie

    Oh boy. This is so, so true. What a mature way to handle anonymous or mean-spirited critics! While there have been many times when I’ve refused to pick up the stick, I frequently fail at viewing comments or criticisms objectively. That, I think, is the truly hard part. Mostly I just want to choose the “high road” and ignore the comment completely; it’s so hard to to remember that the comment — however hurtful — may have been based in truth. Thanks for the reminder that with grace, we can accept constructive criticism without letting our hearts get hurt in the process.

  3. Lisa

    I’ve been loving the Thinking with Intention posts. It definitely fits in with the rest of MML — in fact, I’d say it’s essential. You can’t design a life, business, or home with intention if you can’t pull yourself out of a bad mood, learn to control your worries, or accept constructive (or not) criticism. While we each may not tackle these issues in the same way, it’s good to have another perspective and be reminded to stay positive in our thinking! So thanks for sharing your experiences!

  4. CB

    “Thinking with Intention” is my favorite part of MML – I hope you keep it coming! 🙂

    I like the idea of dropping the stick in order to more objectively reflect on hurtful comments. In this particular instance, because you were able to find a hint of truth in the comment, the experience even served as a positive motivator! That is great!

    On the other hand, what happens if you are not able to find a hint of truth in the negative comment? Sometimes, I think a person might say things that are hurtful AND untrue. In this instance, I have personally found it helpful to be mindful of the possible hurts that trigger a provoker to say something mean (he might have had a bad day, he could be feeling insecure, he might be worried about a relationship/job, etc.). Now, I acknowledge that I don’t REALLY know what was going through a particular provoker’s mind – in fact, maybe nothing at all was wrong and the person just likes to be mean! However, thinking in this way does take the focus off of my hurting, and whether or not my empathizing is warranted, it reminds me of the blessings I have in my life. This perspective can ease some of the pain.

  5. Thaís

    Hi Jess, I really like this kind of post, I think that we can become better people by reflecting on some situations like these. “I refused to allow his comment to “hurt” me” … I hope that someday I feel able to say something like this truly, to learn how to deal with the sensitive side of my personality … thank you for sharing these experiences with us …

  6. @chicspace

    I really love these posts (these are the ones I tend to respond to), and I love the clutter ones. Right now I’m dealing with a lot in my life (pretty much every aspect) so these posts are more valuable. Sometime when I have free time, though, I do need to declutter the house :).

    Re the stick: so many people get bent out of shape by comments on their blogs and sometimes delete comments sections completely (or have fights with their readers)…and some of those comments are really only meant to help the blog by pointing out areas for improvement. The reason I think we get defensive is because those comments hit home…an area we are sensitive about, or we feel bad about, or we want to hide. Otherwise the comments would bounce off because we’d know they were just wrong or about the other person. So not picking up the (icky) stick, and just looking at it and saying “ooooh, stick…” lets us get the heart of the message (if it has a heart) without our own internal world complicating it.

    Anyway, you’re an inspiration for getting through everything these past few months…keep inspiring me 🙂

  7. I like these posts very much. They function in the same way as the clutter/home/entrepreneur side of the blog– negative thinking is a type of clutter, too. It feels as if you’re finding a way to bring the make-under philosophy into emotional-life as well as home-life. It’s consistent, coherent, and not self-righteous. In short, good job. 🙂

  8. Kelly

    What a beautifully written post. Thank you for that little bit of inspiration. I was having a bum night and you totally lifted my spirits. 🙂

  9. Gina

    I like these posts- they’re inspirational and interesting and a good break to looking at design/fashion posts every day on every blog :).

  10. Jenny


    I absolutely love the posts you’ve been writing lately- definitely great things that apply to a multitude of situations. The timing has been perfect for me personally in dealing with things, please keep it up- your outlook is quite inspiring!

  11. Kristen

    Hey Jess,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but this is the first time I feel like I need to leave a comment! 🙂 I’m really enjoying these posts that you have been doing lately…the worry cards “exercise” is BRILLIANT and something that I am planning to do this weekend when I have a little bit more time…frankly, I read and enjoy ALL your posts, but there are a LOT of design, etc. blogs out there (yours is just as great as others), but I think what makes me come back every day is knowing that your posts are an interesting mix of several topics…I know that a lot of blog “lessons” tell you to stick to one topic so that your audience knows what to expect, but I somewhat disagree. I know everytime I come to your blog I will get GREAT content about several topics…it just makes you and what you are trying to accomplish in life more interesting. Keep up the awesome work! 🙂


  12. Lauren

    I love these “Thinking with Intention” posts, particularly this one. This is my favorite (thus far) because I am finding myself dealing with a similar situation in my life. This is great advice on remembering to take that step back and look at things objectively, deciding whether or not it actually has merit. Great post! Keep them coming!

  13. Kirsten

    Hi Jess,
    Thank you so much for opening up enough to share these wonderful “Thinking with Intention” posts. It is these posts that have had me dropping in to visit your blog for over a year now; These, the ones from Heidi and the insightful looks into how other young people are starting to follow their dreams with their own small businesses. Of course, I also love the inspiration of the “exfoliation”. I must admit, I’ve never been a jewelry wearer or really taken much thought toward interior design… Recently, I find myself far more interested…I wonder why… 🙂 I think one of the reasons is the balance of your blog – I don’t have to start being a “girly-girl” and obsessed with “girly” things (no offense to anyone who is – it’s just not me) to flirt with some of those feminine touches all while feeling like I’m part of a reader group who all encourage each other to keep dreamin’ their dreams, keep supporting each other when dreamin’ the dream gets tough and keep spreading the good will both to each other and to the greater public.
    Love your work – as we say here in our local slang.

  14. AprilT

    Hi Jess!

    As usual, you are spot on for me personally with your posts. You are like my own personal therapist! LOL! But seriously, I love the new posts and feel that they are in keeping with your MML theme overall. Great work!!

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