We asked Courtney Ramirez to be our Awesome Apprentice; she’s taking the 52 Weeks to Awesome course and will be writing us a post at the end of each month to share her experiences with us.
How often have you heard (or read) words that haunt you?
I’m not talking about reading a sad news story or listening to music that catches you in the throat. I’m referring to those words from others that hit you right in the heart. They criticize the way you dress. The things you say. The values that you hold. The things that you deem important.
We used to be more sheltered from these words. We’d only occasionally hear them from a catty adversary, a “well meaning” friend or a meddling family member. Before the Internet made us all connected, the chances to be hurt, cut and damaged by words were much less.
But now, criticism and complaints are available 24/7.
If you put yourself out there with your blog, through social media, or any other type of online platform, you’re making yourself open to the questions, disparaging remarks, and hurtful comments of others. Worse yet, it seems like people online are quicker to be hurtful because of the level of anonymity. You are subject to drive by acts of asshattery – random comments from perfect strangers that seem to hit you right in the heart and highlight those fears that you keep most secret.
Once you get the kind of comments that cut deep, what do you do with them? Do you try to push them away? Do you try to reason with them and make peace with them? Do they get under your skin and pop up when you’re feeling down?
I’ve had all of these things happen to me.
There are incidents, comments and situations that my psyche has held onto for far too long. Until this month’s lesson, I had no idea what to do with these. Ignoring them didn’t work. They’d always come back to hit me when I was down. Trying to reason with them didn’t work either.
But this month, I got fed up with holding onto other people’s opinions. The lessons in 52 Weeks to Awesome hit home as I plowed through these old feelings and realized that they were not my own. I was making room for these thoughts and opinions in my life – but they didn’t belong to me.
I also realized that these comments are not really about me – not the real me that gets up every morning and lives my life. These comments were about a facsimile of me. A mere representation.
And the same is true for you.
You don’t have to own their opinions of you.
They’re not about you.
They are about a copy of you – something else that someone else has created. They are about a slim perception of you that someone has gathered and filtered through their own issues. Thinking about it this way can help you distance yourself from those comments and criticisms. It allows you to move forward in confidence and power. And it’s a heck of a lot happier place to be in.
How have you let go of criticism and hurtful comments?
Courtney Ramirez is a content, seo and marketing superhero consultant by day and geeky BBC sitcom watching mom and wife by night. When not developing carpal tunnel by writing for her clients or playing the Sims, she’s homeschooling two girls and toying around with the idea of starting a new blog. You can follow her on Twitter.