My Truth About Content, Criticism, and Community

I hope my respected friend who may be reading this doesn’t mind me sharing, but I thought it might be a teachable moment.

Someone told my friend something about me – wait until you hear this.

I was having a chat with her, and she mentioned that she hadn’t been on social media for a while. However, she let me know she had watched one of my podcast posts. I’m not sure if she watched the Instagram clip version or took the time to listen to the entire podcast episode; either way, she proceeded to say she doesn’t always ‘like’ my content, but she checks it every now and then. I responded as I usually do, noting that it’s always the people who don’t ‘like’ my content who come up to me to tell me about it, which I find unusual.

Why wouldn’t you like it? Why are you telling me that you are supporting me? A ‘like’ is the support.

Anyway, we then got onto the subject of support. She said we need to create a culture of support. Bearing in mind we’re church folk, support should be a given, but IYKYK. I remarked that the younger generation supports one another more. And she said she thinks she knows the reason. I’m not sure the response was actually a reason, but my friend proceeded to divulge that someone came up to her and asked her why she supports me. And I knew instantly what she meant.

I have posted content on a couple of occasions that I know church folk don’t approve of. This post in question illustrates exactly what I mean.

I have to admit I don’t look at the post. I don’t see it as one of my finest moments. When I think of it, I imagine all the people who have watched it, grossed out because it’s like seeing their mum and dad’s PDA. Cringe, to say the least. But, and this is what I told my friend, despite me not being particularly impressed with the final cut, I left it there whether all the disapproving church folk see it or not. Why? Because as a creator, I give myself permission to create and to fail in that creation. It’s the only way I can find out what my audience and I like.

I left it there because I know that the most disapproving church folk have never liked anything I do. That woman who asked my friend why she was supporting me had probably never liked anything I had created. Just an armchair critic and never a supporter of the very people who she should, at the very least, be showing love and kindness towards.

And although I didn’t tell my friend this, I left it there because many years ago I had a viral post and I took it down because of what all the church folk were saying. In fact, a couple of years ago at a random event, many years after the viral post, someone I don’t really know well enough to call an acquaintance reminded me of how she didn’t like that post. She barely knows me apart from that post and she made no attempt to make me feel like the offence was ‘forgiven’.

For a little context, the post that went viral and ended up on all the media sites was reposted by people on my Facebook (this was before IG) friends list, negatively critiquing me, no holds barred. It was a YouTube video of me saying that a well-known pastor shouldn’t have slapped a member of his congregation. That was circa 15 years ago. I was a lot younger and, as you can imagine, too immature to handle the backlash from church folk, the very people you expect love and support from.

I knew it would go viral, but I didn’t expect the rebuke. So, I took it down—an act I regret and one that greatly disappointed my husband, who incidentally is the other reason I have left that post there. Because this particular post reminds me of his unwavering support and love for me during that incident.

So, I’m not taking it down. I don’t do this for the people who will never support me. I do it for the people who do. I do it for the people with whom I hopefully can create a community. So as I said, I’m sharing this as a teachable moment. Don’t ever decide not to post because you are worried about what the haters think. Haters are gonna hate and never ever support. Be you and find your people.


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A post shared by Bess Obarotimi (@bessobarotimi)

@bessobarotimiWho was taught what was likeable about themselves when they were growing up and how did that affect you? What were the lessons you learnt as an adult? Reflecting on what I have said in this clip makes me even more intentional about focusing on what’s great about me. Imagine how many more situations we would succeed at if we focused on what was good about ourselves and in others. Well, the world would surely be a better place!♬ original sound – bessobarotimi

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