I'm not talking about that one true person in your life that loves you, but tells you the truth. God knows we all need that person. We need to have a trusted soul to bare ourselves with and be told, you were wrong, you screwed up, or for God's sake don't wear that dress! No, those people are our valued family members or friends that we all need.
The critic I'm talking about is the one who you are hesitant to bring up new ideas in front of. I'm talking about the one who with words, or actions or in some cases, the very fact that there are no words at all - can take you down a notch or two. You probably have that person or people in your mind right now. Unfortunately for some, it is a parent or a family member, someone we can't dismiss. We can however learn to dismiss the feelings of inadequacy that come from listening to their criticism of you.
The critic is especially present when you are about to try something daring or creative. I wrestled with my own demons before I started this blog. I know I'm not the best grammatically, but I also know I have something to say, yet it took a lot of convincing to put myself out there by writing daily. I knew there would be critics and there are. I don't have to look far to find them either. I have had to talk to myself about this. You cannot be creative without being vulnerable. When I have trouble with that, there's a wonderful quote that I would like to share that has helped me put the fear aside.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
It is scary to put ourselves out there in any way, but the threat of criticism can stop some of us cold. It doesn't matter whether it is; writing a book, painting a picture, putting on a bathing suit, talking to someone about a difficult topic, having conflict, we all feel it. It is a normal human emotion but when it interferes with who you want to be in your life, then it has control of you.
I've been so enjoying Brenne Brown and her studies on vulnerability. She says we start to play to the lowest common denominator. We forget all those who support us once a critic has spoken. I know the feeling, guilty as charged. When I write a blog and there are no comments I can fool myself into thinking I have nothing worthwhile to say. That's really a mind game because I can see how many people have read it. Yesterday there were no comments but I know that 259 people read it. What that tells me is we have to be reasonable. I have people writing to me privately every single day. They tell me they read and follow along and are getting a lot from it. In fact a neurologist said yesterday that it is beautifully done, and an excellent resource. So why then do we torture ourselves with that one person, or group of people. We are hard wired to focus on the negative. It is only with training do we see the positive first and let that stick. There's so much Brenne Brown has written but nothing is more effective than this quote by her. "Don't try to win over the haters, you're not the jackass whisperer"
So go out there today, and every day and get in that arena and dare greatly! And thanks for reading...I know you're there.