Picture this: Me. Standing on one foot, balanced on my tip toe, the other leg stretched in the air with one arm wrapped around it. The other arm is waving furiously. My face looks unhappy, flustered and tired.
Is this some new fancy yoga?
NO, THIS IS A REPRESENTATION HOW I FEEL WHEN I AM TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE. THIS IS ME OBSESSING OVER WHAT EVERYONE THINKS OF ME AND PLACING INACCURATE MEANING AND OVERBLOWN EXPECTATIONS ON MY PERCEPTION OF WHAT INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE MEANT.
It's terrifyingly exhausting.
In the last few years as my business has grown and my time in the public eye has expanded, and this feeling got worse and worse. Part of what perpetuated it was the amount of criticism I received grew proportionately to the business and my role as a public figure. The more YouTube views I got (yay!) the more trolls commented on my appearance or performance (boo.) I heard people on the street talking about my business and how I run it. People gave reviews to the business and me on the internet. The positive always has disproportionately outweighed the negative. But it was there.
I HATED IT. It made me angry and sad. I wanted to lay under my bed with a blanket OR I wanted to tell people who talked about me (to my face or behind my back) to F right off.
Now, neither of those feelings served me very well and I was too attached to the meaning of my work to allow the simultaneous feelings of 1. hating criticism and 2. wanting to make everyone happy make me stop what I was doing. So in self-reflection and over time, I decided to re-frame my relationship with criticism and develop some questions to deal with it:
#1: Do I care?
Looking for truth in criticism encourages growth, humility and self-reflection. It can be awesome! Change is amazing. BUT, there is also self-confidence and truth in electing to LET SOMETHING GO. When I hear a criticism of myself I am 1. grateful that I know and 2. I decide if I care. If I don't, I take that comment and let it go.
Do you think I am too "extra," over the top or loud? I DON'T CARE, I LIKE THAT ABOUT MYSELF.
Don't like my artistic choices in dance? TOO BAD. etc etc.
#2 Is it useful?
Going back to #1, criticism is an amazing self-development tool. I think the ability to change is amazing. I am different than I was 5 years ago and 5 months ago, and I am SO grateful for that. To that end, I ask myself "Is this criticism useful? Is it showing me something I can work on in myself?" And then, I re-frame it as a kind, loving comment to myself and figure out how to work on it. This question has allowed me to love what people say about me, because it allows me to get better.
#3 Do I want to address it?
As a scorpio (and a human!) I have an instinct to respond immediately. To defend myself. And, sometimes, this is not a good look. Experience shows us that tit for tat is not a useful tool for moving forward in life. One of the most important things I am developing in myself is slowed reaction time. I am actively working on stopping, breathing and then making a choice about how I want to respond to a comment, suggestion or action.
#4 I remind myself that I am awesome.
I know, this is not a question. It is a statement, and one that I repeat to myself often. I (and all of us) get opinions from everyone. I take them to heart, or I don't (per above,) and then I sit with myself. I spend time with no distractions. And I get clear that I like myself, with all my flaws. And I celebrate myself, both feet on the ground, calmly approaching life.