Kids throwing tantrums. That’s what blocking people reminds me of.
This morning, I went to my bookmark list of favorite writers and was shocked: There were now two 403 errors, which means another writer I love has blocked me.
It took three minutes to find out who it was, and sixty minutes to find an empowering meaning from it all and not send an email full of rage.
Here’s what you can learn from this well-known writer who blocked me.
Don’t Let Good Writing Be an Excuse for a Bad Example of a Human
Naturally, the first thing you do when you find out a writer has blocked you is to turn on Incognito Mode in your browser and read some of their work to try and find the missing pieces of your ego in the words they’ve written recently.
As I went through the process of reading their last few articles, I saw excellent writing with perfect phrases, spacing, and use of vocabulary, and then I saw something that shocked me: a bad example of a human being.
I’m ashamed to say I missed this crucial fact. I recommended them as a writer in prior articles, only to realize they were a bad human being. Why? For talking down to readers and making them feel worthless, lazy, or insignificant.
There is no excuse for being rude to the audience you serve and pretending they are dumb-asses — when the truth is that you don’t know anything about them.
Amazing writing and good human beings should never be confused.
Turn Anger Into Helpful Advice
When your ego takes a hit and you find out you’ve been blocked, the biggest lesson is to turn your anger into a helpful pursuit. For me, that’s writing.
The question I asked was “how can I take this energy-depleting situation and make it helpful for other people?”
This is my challenge, and this written article is the output of that process. It serves no purpose to send fiery emails to well-known people who have already blocked you and will probably ignore you. Comparing follower counts, highlighting your expertise, and bringing in mutual friends to fight the battle is a waste of time.
Being blocked is not your fault, and it’s not your problem. It is an opportunity, though.
People Will Hate You if You Master a Skill
As my writing career has progressed, I have realized that sometimes people will just hate you because you put in the work and got the rewards.
It can be annoying to see people succeeding, pursuing the same dream that you have, and still haven’t gone all-in on.
Asking yourself the hard questions and facing up to your own challenges is how you pick yourself up off the floor, and take jealousy and use it as motivation.
It’s Not Okay to Tell People They Are Worthless
In one of the stories I read from this writer, they told their readers that they were worthless because of certain situations or flaws. This is unacceptable.
Those people you talk down to and call worthless could end up committing suicide or shooting each member of their family (children included) in the head because of your unthoughtful words.
It is never okay to be the catalyst for someone else’s downfall. Be the reason they rise instead.
Blocking Never Solved a Problem
If you are ever tempted to block someone, ask yourself, “What will blocking this person solve?”
In my experience, it solves nothing. If you block a person, there’s always going to be other ways they can contact you. I once blocked someone and it only made the situation worse. They saw blocking as an act of war and went from being a critic to a full-time hater. This was my mistake.
You don’t solve problems by blocking people. You solve problems by confronting the people you disagree with or looking at yourself and how you are viewing the world.
The one person I’ve dreamt about blocking is a bad boss that fired me. It has taken every ounce of discipline not to block them and deal with my own insecurities.
By resisting the urge to block them, I keep myself open to forgiving them in the future and that’s a powerful idea that inspires me.
A Disguise for Mental Illness
After reading three articles from this well-known writer, I quickly saw what was going on. How? Because I was looking at myself in the mirror.
This writer openly admitted they were suffering from mental illness, and that might explain their behavior towards their readers and me.
There is only so much that catchy headlines, trending topics, Richard Branson Quotes, and viral content can get you before mental illness takes over if left untreated.
I have sympathy for this writer because mental illness is a hard demon to tackle. I remember being an angry, rude, arrogant, and entitled son of a gun when I was battling mental illness, and of having dreams of letting my neighbors tires down because they parked in my car spot which wasn’t officially mine but was outside my bedroom window.
Empathy serves us well in these situations and mental illness is a reminder of why seeking professional help is so important.
Inner-Circle Blocking Is the Hardest
Finding out this writer blocked me was tough because they are in my inner-circle of writers.
Each of us talks with one other and tries to build each other up. While I haven’t spoken to this writer directly, people that I call friends are close to him. Having him block me is weird thanks to these close bonds.
What can happen, though, is that eventually your paths are forcefully crossed and you get an opportunity to turn the situation into an empowering meaning (or child war games fought over email).
When I get the chance, the one strategy I am going to deploy is to forgive them for blocking me and assume the best, not the worst, in their reason for doing so.
Forgive those who don’t agree with you. Their reason for disliking you can help you to grow in ways you never thought possible.
There is more to your life than blocking people for breaking invisible rules they never read. Having fewer rules in your life, and bringing people into your world who disagree with you, can have amazing benefits.
People who don’t agree with you can help you spot flaws in your life plan and lies you have been telling yourself.
Let yourself be blocked. Feel the anger. Explore the blocker’s online world. Take the situation and use it to be helpful. Forgive the serial blocker, if there is an opportunity to. That’s what you can learn from being blocked by a well-known person.
This article originally appeared on Medium.