Whilst staying at my mother’s for the past few weeks, we have been enjoying some family time watching the TV. I haven’t watched much TV in the past two years and I have noticed a trend towards criticising other people’s efforts as a form of entertainment. It’s likely always been like this, I just happen to be more aware of it. In one TV show people go to each other’s houses for dinner, then sit in a taxi on the way home, or the person’s bedroom and slag them off to camera. FYI I am always grateful for food and I won’t put your potato’s down! I have also been stunned by the way people talk to each other in Emerdale and Coronation Street. Of course it doesn’t end at entertainment, the government cuts which are being blamed on the legacy from the labour party. But the labour party didn’t cause a worldwide economic downturn. It’s easy to say we shouldn’t criticise others efforts, but it’s hard to stop in a culture that seems hell bent on keeping others from rising up to be empowered.
I have always been one of those people who stand up and fight when I find injustice. My eight year old brother came in crying from playing in the street because one of the bigger older boys had hurt him. As my mother comforted him she realised that three year old me had gone out of the open front door. She found me attached to the boys back like a killer Koala with my thumbs in his eye sockets. It has got me sacked from a few jobs over time.
Even being self employed you think you free yourself from the critic, but my work efforts are criticised from time to time. It seems to hurt more when you are giving something of yourself away. So what do you do, turn off your light and stop giving? The critic isn’t the important part; it’s how you react to the critic. In fact the critic gives you a great opportunity to be an enlightened teacher, but it’s a very small step from sounding passive aggressive.
As a seeker of a more spiritual life; I have chosen to be less reactionary. I’m not staying its easy, but it is possible stay empowered whilst the people throw rotten tomatoes at you, which simply miss impacting you as if you were Neo on the Matrix.
Here are 10 tips to help you stay spiritual in the face of criticism.
- Everything can wait; don’t reply to an e-mail or message until you have slept on it. Use your intuition to find the deeper meaning.
- In face to face confrontation we always wish we had said something else in hind sight. Keep your power and let the person know you need to hear what they said, think on it and you will get back to them.
- Avoid all conversations with any meaning whilst drunk.
- Take nothing personally, no one ever thinks or says anything that is really ever about you. It is always about them, your part is at the level of their perception of you.
- Don’t snowball a situation with possible meanings or outcomes in the future. Keep it small, what does it mean right now, not what could have happened.
- If someone is talking about you disrespectfully trust the listener to have more brains then to believe it. You don’t need to retaliate or clear your name; it only makes you look guilty.
- There is no smoke without fire, take some time for self reflection, but not self criticism.
- Authentic, clear communication which comes from a place of I am not you, can heal anything.
- Don’t make stuff up to deepen your case, keep it simple.
- Saying sorry for your part however small is powerful, but don’t be walked on, ever. The boot print in your self esteem can take longer to remove then finding a new friend, partner or job.
Of course the best thing you can do, is never throw the first stone.