Helena’s Croatian grandmother had this wisdom to share:
“There will ALWAYS be someone who will criticize you no matter what you do. Someone will complain no matter what you wear, what you eat, what you say… someone will disagree with your looks, with your choices, with your presence… just make sure that person is NOT YOU.”
…Just make sure that person is NOT YOU.
I really did think that being hard on myself was a useful strategy. The alternative seemed to be… not caring! THAT was never going to happen. It’s in my nature to care, to want things to be better for myself and others.
It seemed that I got a boost from the whip. Sorta like a thoroughbred racehorse in the final stretch. A little “whoosh! smack!” and the extra burst of energy would flood forth.
But what if we take the criticism of others as a whip stroke? Crack!
At some point any good jockey recognizes that the whip loses effectiveness. The burst of energy doesn’t help the duo to win… it becomes required to even run hard. With the natural desire stolen by excessive whipping, the horse becomes more and more resistant, anticipating the whip rather than supported by a strategic burst of energy.
For those of us who delight in being pleasing, it’s important, I believe, to deactivate our reactivity to criticism. This is not easy. And even a small increment is so so worth it.
“Even though they have their criticism, I’ve decided not to take it on as what’s right for me.”
I’ve decided that the people I want to listen to will engage with what’s dear to me, where I want to grow, and will explore WITH ME rather than lay ON me ways to make our we-space a thriving one for everyone. People who criticize harshly… like people who hit their animals… are not people I choose to let stay close to me.
I appreciate that the wisdom of Helena’s grandmother says so clearly: yes, there WILL be those who criticize you for anything you do.
Just make sure that person is NOT YOU.
And I add, keep Right Distance from those who do criticize without deeply caring for and respecting your own clarity and freedom of choice.