Sitting over a latte, a new friend talked about how he was terrified of criticism from others when he decided to step out and show the world who he really is.
As I was listening, what easily surfaced was my own fear of putting my book (written for all of you) out to the world. I have been taking my time on finishing this book for far too long. I’m completely aware that the biggest hurdle is my fear of criticism! I’ve been struggling with this for a while now and it’s the book release and those who might actually like and benefit from the book that are hurt the most. Yet, I keep taking my sweet time on it!
I also thought of you. Just being yourself in the world can bring up tons of fear of rejection and criticism. For example, if you live in a fat body that the world tends to criticize or you hate your body and assume others criticize it, this fear may be happening for you every day… simply by just leaving the house!
Not sure how to tell you (or me) how to be yourself in the face of potential criticism, I asked my new friend how he did it!
Of course, the answer is never the easy one you might want to hear! I know I didn’t. What he said didn’t surprise me either. It’s what I help my clients do all the time. It’s now always so easy.
It can all be summed up as….Do it anyway!
Of course you’ll be afraid. I know I will. Nothing will change that… certainly no amount of talking about it has.
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
I’m not sure there really is any other way around it.
I knew this… but what my friend said next did surprise me! Read on…
What my friend feared would happen, did! This isn’t always the case, of course. However, I think you need to be willing to let your biggest fears happen in order to really take the risk.
For my friend, when he received the criticism, he said it was really difficult! He took it all personally. No matter how many people praised and loved what he wrote, he heard more loudly the shouts of criticism.
Until he was able to move through it and declare that he didn’t need to listen to the disapproval. It was then that he re-discovered the DELETE button! He could just delete them!
I loved hearing this! What I know about feedback, including criticism, is that it’s often more about the giver than the receiver. You get to decide if you (1) want to take the feedback, (2) take part of it and leave the other part, or (3) take none of it (i.e. press delete). It’s up to you!
If you do have reactions, you can use that as information about what you are feeling, what button was pushed for you, what your triggers are. These are all healthy ways to learn and grow from your courage to take the risks!
For me, I need to take the risk to publish my book and then sell it! I may receive criticism. I need to be willing for that to happen and trust that I’ll use my support system to work through it! I will continue to work on and toward this because I know this book will help people!
What is it for you? Where do you want to take a risk to be yourself and be seen? Do you want to learn how to accept your body, even if others tell you something is wrong with it? Do you want to speak up more with someone in your life?
Practice now… imagine yourself doing this thing and then imagine the worst that could happen. Take a breath and feel it. Now imagine yourself hitting the “delete” button! Hit it as much as you want. You decide!
You may not be able to control who says what to you, but you have total control over whether or not you hit delete! So go ahead, imagine hitting it now. And again. And again.
That’s your empowerment!
Now, go forth and practice being yourself… even if you have to take your fear and delete button with you!