This post is not about constructive criticism. The kind where you try a dress on and your friend says, “I think you can find something that suits you better” (thank you awesome friends).
It's also not about the direct type of criticism where someone says, “I don’t like that you did that. Why did you do that?” (thank you brave friends).
I’m talking about sideline criticism. You do something, and people on the sidelines, watching you live your life, decide you’re not doing it right. Yup, everyone is the best All Blacks coach sitting on their couch with a beer in hand!
Life changes are beautiful.
Yes, they can be shit sandwiches. Change isn’t easy.
But you get a fresh start.
You get to see what is worth keeping and what is a drain on your energy. You get to see who is really in your life because they love you, and who just wants to gossip. People show their true colours. Brave people talk to you, and the rest talk about you.
I experienced this recently, when I recounted my experience of my separation in this post.
For every person who messaged me to thank me for sharing my story, there was another who (indirectly) disapproved of it. I read the blog over and over, trying to find where I had caused offence.
Then I stopped myself. I realised that no matter what I do, I will always incur criticism.
The point of life is not: "to die having offended no one"
Aristotle said it best, 'To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.’
Sideline criticism happens all the time. It’s unavoidable.
The trick is to exterminate others judgement of you from your mind as soon as possible.
Here are my 3 ways of handling criticism.
Authenticity is magnetic. Meaning, some people will be attracted to it, and some repulsed by it. And that’s ok.
You always have a choice. You can go down the rabbit hole: start questioning your decisions, your actions, your very existence. Or you can rise above.
Most often, people who criticise you feel insecure in themselves. They wish they had the courage to do what you are doing. So, even though it doesn’t feel like one, take sideline criticsm as a compliment.
You don't need to deal directly with critics - you simply need to come to terms with your own inner critic. When you are at peace with yourself, and you realise that perfection is an illusion, you know that your best is enough. Criticism from others will not affect you as profoundly.
Take those trying moments in life to see where your garden flourishes, and where it dies. It will never be a bad thing to see who is truly on your side, and who is only there to coach you from the couch.
PS: If you're ready to take your life to the next level, this is my go-to method of pushing RESET on my body and mind!