One of the greatest challenges we face every day is perhaps judging others: we dress up, put on makeup, even exercise to look better and feel accepted by others. It is in human nature to want to be part of a “group,” a circle, and society is certainly the largest circle we can compare ourselves to.
While the opinions of others, especially those we value, have some influence on us, it’s good to think carefully when they become harsh criticisms of us. This lesson was well learned by a young girl who found herself inundated with negative judgments. Zoe Gabriel is a 17-year-old girl who had to face the harsh reality of social media: not everything is sunshine and people behind a keyboard feel free to say whatever comes to their minds.
Zoe comes from a not particularly wealthy family and learned early on the importance and weight of money: “When I was little, my family couldn’t buy things, even the simplest things like good bread. Every time we passed by a store, my parents would just say ‘next time,’ but I knew next time would never come.”
It was a video posted on the web that sparked so much animosity towards her. Yet, this video showed nothing abnormal, quite the opposite. A handbag, a simple piece of clothing, was enough for some internet users to react and openly mock Zoe. She had simply filmed herself expressing her joy at receiving, as a gift from her father, a Charles & Keith brand handbag that she had long desired. What triggered the debates was a detail: the price of the bag, which was $80.
In the video, Zoe expressed her delight at receiving this luxury item. She was grateful and happy that her father had given her this expensive gift.
And here’s the catch: some people pointed out to her that the bag is worth only a few tens of dollars and, according to them, cannot be considered a luxury item. So, they mocked her and made her feel very bad. The young woman then posted new content in response to these criticisms. In tears,
Zoe recounted her family’s financial situation, explaining that for her, it was not a small amount of money, and she was very proud of her father: “Maybe for you, an $80 handbag is not a luxury. For me and my family, it is a lot, and I am very grateful to my father for being able to buy it for me. He worked so hard to earn that money.”
The response video caught the attention of the founders of Charles & Keith, who were deeply moved and decided to do something truly unique for Zoe: after contacting her, they gave her a tour of their facilities with her father and then chose her as a model for one of their upcoming bags.
An touching story that teaches us that non-constructive criticism doesn’t pay off, but hard work and humility do.