A few words to help you keeping going as you grow into and learn to live your best life
As you begin to put yourself and your work out into the world, it is very likely that you will encounter criticism – some helpful, and some startling and crushing. I am here to tell you that you are strong, you are brave. You can find those who support you and your work. You can keep going. I hope this post will help you learn to manage the criticism in a way that keeps it separate from your sense of self-worth and allows you to become stronger and more sure-footed each time.
As you become unblocked, stronger, and more productive, people may start to try to deflate you, discourage you, act like a victim and be passive-aggressive, ignore you, or criticize you. When I say criticize, I mean the non-helpful, non-actionable kind. The kind that is a sweeping or dismissive judgement of your character, your value, your efforts, or your work.
Try not to take it personally. The root cause is very likely something to do with them and not with you.
Receiving these types of criticisms was a surprise for me – and, in each case, it caught me off-guard. As I have built up my art practice, I have also been practicing being conscientious and mindful of others. I have been careful to treat others with encouragement and kindness.
I know how easily a newly-unblocked creative can become blocked again. I did not want to cause someone to constrict just as they were making their first tentative steps to expand. It is a scary thing to put your self, your dreams, and your work out there – and I hold deep admiration and respect for everyone who does so.
So, when I received these criticisms, I did not understand why it was happening. It hurt. I lost sleep. I cried. I got defensive. I felt like the universe was letting me down.
Why it’s happening…
- This may be because they are envious.
- It may be because they are blocked or unhappy themselves.
- They may be freaked out because your changing shows them that they, too, could make changes if they chose to.
- It may have absolutely nothing to do with you. They may be so wrapped up in their own head or life circumstances that they jab at anyone and everyone. They may not even be aware of how their words and actions are coming across.
Keep going. You are stronger than their criticisms. You’ve already proved it by getting as far as you have.
What to do about it..
- Try not to take it personally. The root cause is very likely something to do with them and not with you (see above).
- Respond in a way that is polite and firm. Treat them with kindness. Smile. Take the high-road and do not jab back.
- Go elsewhere. Say as little as possible while being friendly and standing your ground, and then extract yourself from their presence.
- Keep your guard up. If they’ve hit on a doubt or fear, keep that to yourself (and talk about it with someone you can trust and who supports you, afterward).
- Share with a friend. Rant a little in your journal or to a close friend/partner – express how it makes you feel, the hurt, the anger, the frustration…
- Move on. Release it – or it will hold you back.
- Surround yourself with people who do support you. Whether you know them in person or not (maybe they are an author or podcaster), you are looking for people who are in alignment with where you are going.
- Keep going. Keep doing your thing. You are stronger than their criticisms. You’ve already proved it by getting as far as you have.
Which brings me to the importance of kindness.
If you’d like some support and encouragement to help you along the way, you can sign up for my monthly letter at the bottom of this page.
Pin this post: