So, You’ve Been Called Out. What Now?

Yesterday, something happened. Someone posted a picture on Instagram of the Carve the Mark cover art painted on their arm, which triggered a lot of people. People asked this person to remove the picture, because it hurt them, and this person didn’t handle that very well. This is not a blog post all about that (that’ll come, I promise), but this is a post about what to do if someone tells you you’ve hurt them.

I didn’t think I’d ever have to make a post like this, because I think it’s quite clear what you should do, but as we’ve seen yesterday, not everyone knows. So, I’m here to give you some advice on what to do if you’ve been called out.

It’s quite simple really, and I’ve made a very simple 5 step ‘program’ for you.

  1. Listen.
    Look at what people are saying about the thing you’ve posted. What is it that hurt them? Why has it hurt them?
  2. Delete.
    The thing you’ve posted has caused people harm. You don’t want to cause more people harm, right? So, delete it.
  3. Apologize.
    Apologize to the people you’ve harmed. You can either post a general apology, but apologizing to everyone individually is even better. Yes, this might take a bit more time, but you’ve hurt these people and they all deserve an apology.
  4. Learn.
    Learn from what happened. Take everything people said to heart, and don’t forget it. (Or as we say in The Netherlands: knoop het goed in je oren!)
  5. Change your behavior. 
    This goes hand in hand with step 4. You have now learned what it is that hurt people, and now you can make sure things like this won’t happen again.

“But I didn’t mean to hurt anyone!”

That’s good. It’d have been very shitty if you did this thing just to hurt someone. BUT, the fact that you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, doesn’t mean people aren’t hurt. Let’s look at it this way: if you accidentally stepped on someone’s toes, you would’ve apologized too, right? Even if you didn’t mean to step on this person their toes, the person is still in pain and deserves an apology. The pain you’ve caused people might not be physical, but their emotional pain is just as valid.

“People are bullying me!!!!”

Asking someone to remove a certain thing because it hurt them isn’t bullying. Not at all.

“This thing didn’t hurt me, so…”

Stop right there. The fact that it might not have hurt you, doesn’t mean that other people won’t be hurt by it. Every person’s feelings are different.

“But I put so much work in it!!”

Doesn’t matter. You still hurt someone, and the fact that you’ve put a lot of work in it doesn’t change that.

I really hope this might help some of you, and I really hope something like what happened yesterday won’t happen again.

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4 gedachtes over “So, You’ve Been Called Out. What Now?

  1. Allie @ A Literary Wanderer zegt:

    Oh my goodness, Laura. I feel you on this. When I saw the bookstagram shot, I was appalled! I don’t get the lack of empathy of some people. Sure, it no way affected them of some sorts, but the fact that she knew that it could be triggering AND still did it… that was so uncalled for.
    I wish people were more sensitive about the things that they post in the internet.


  2. readingsanctuaryblog zegt:

    It blows my mind that some people need this explaining to them. I get that no-one wants to think that they’ve hurt someone, but not learning and apologizing causes more harm. I found that picture to be very triggering for me and I don’t get how little empathy and understanding was shown by the poster. I think there are a lot of people who could benefit from taking this post to heart.


  3. hollie (hollieblog) zegt:

    Like other commenters have said, it baffles me that this needs to be explained to people, but that analogy about stepping on someone’s toes is great! I wrote something a while back about being called out (during all the stuff about Nevernight) and, while it’s great that people are finally being called out for the problematic stuff that they do, I feel it’s going to take a while for it to actually sink in *sigh*


  4. utopiastateofmind zegt:

    Totally agree! You can make really honest mistakes, but the important thing is listening and apologizing. We all make mistakes, we just need to own them and be empathetic. It sucks to be hurt and have to explain or justify this pain.


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