The world is full of people who, usually responding out of their own suffering and misery, just love to tear down the work, words, personality, and ultimately the identity of others, as if the only way they might get ahead while never leaving their couch is to drag us down so that all we have left is to sit on their couches of misery next to them. Some of these people even manage to temporarily rise to a place of visibility through their negativity. I am thinking of the Mark Driscolls and Glenn Becks of the world, who gather followers from among equally negative people and ride them to a high profile until those same people spot a weakness and then turn on them like piranha – and their moment in the sun comes to a dramatic and unpleasant end. There are others who are more subtle in their methodology but perhaps even more destructive because of that same subtlety, people who damn you with faint praise or specialize in deconstructing the thought of others while finding themselves unable to posit any constructive alternatives.
To the extent we are able, it helps to avoid these people and their disciples. There is nothing wrong with saying we aren’t interested in hearing what’s wrong with the world if it isn’t followed immediately by a plan to change the perceived problem. There is absolutely nothing wrong with refusing to hear personal attacks. If we have a new idea or a new perspective there will always be those who have a vested interest in keeping us quiet. Don’t let them succeed! Simply smile, acknowledge that their perspective is one of many, and present your ideas. The world needs to hear from you.