When you're in the public eye you need a thick skin or learn to have one because people think they have a right to criticize everything you do.  Yes, we criticize our sports heroes for their play in games or actors or singers for their performances.  That's their work.  That's one thing.  But, it's different when it gets personal.

Jennifer Livingston is a TV news anchor in La Crosse, Wisconsin, who responded to a viewer's flat out mean e-mail that criticized her weight.

The male viewer wrote "I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years."  He went on to say Livingston was not a "suitable example" for young girls. "I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle."

Livington's husband was outraged and posted the e-mail on the TV station's Facebook page and the response was stunning.  Hundreds of people responded with words of support and it gave her the courage to address her bully on the air Tuesday morning.

“The truth is, I am overweight," she said. "But to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see? You don't know me... so you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside and I am much more than a number on a scale."

Think back in your own life to some of the meanest things people ever said to you.  You still remember those words don't you?  I do.  Clay and I talk about it often.

Social media is a wonderful thing.  It's brought the world to our fingertips.  But it also allows faceless people to say hurtful things to others.  Sometimes it's to people they don't even know.  We saw the result of that with the suicide death of Williamsville North High School freshman Jamie Rodemeyer last year.

And during the month of October, National Bullying Prevention Month, Livingston closed her response with an appeal to children to "not let your self-worth be defined by bullies.  The cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many."

Nothing will take away the hurtful words in that e-mail, but I congratulate Jennifer Livingston for taking on that bully head-on and doing something productive with it.  It was a brave thing to do.