Building resilience- public criticism.


Many people don’t want to show up and be seen because of this.

Being called out publicly is something they fear. At it’s essence, it can feel humiliating and rejecting and embarrassing and shitty. I had an opinion in front of a group of 65 ladies the other night, and the next comment was ‘I wholeheartedly disagree with you.”

The thing is- I’’m willing to hear this. I’m willing to feel the feelings that come along with being criticized in the public eye in front of people who I not only care about but who I probably want to have a positive opinion about me. But that’s on me.

Being willing to hear public criticism is a bridge many don’t want to cross. But I have many reasons that I’ll outline here for crossing that bridge. Owning your words. Living the life that your heart is asking of you.

You see, life is built on contrast. The good and the bad. The happy and sad. The hugely joyful moments and the devastating ones.

Life is about 50/50. We wouldn’t know the good without the bad. It doesn’t mean I’m not over in a corner crying or shaking with anger sometimes. My feelings happen. I aim to feel them all. Feeling them all means I’m living A LOT of my dreams.

Which is why I’m posting this. This might be part of your 50% on purpose. When you’re changing your life and doing scary things- that’s essentially what you’re doing. You’re deciding to feel uncomfortable- on purpose. And the more you do it, the more you’ll evolve and the easier it will become. And your life WILL change.

I’m someone who has built up a lot of what I all Emotional Resilience. That side of me has allowed me to take more risk than many others.

I typically say what I want to say (not always, I’m scared, too) and do what I want to do (that takes courage as I up my game) DESPITE the fact that I know criticism is coming. Especially BECAUSE I know criticism is coming.

Let me say that again.

I do things KNOWING that I will face public criticism.

I am just willing to feel the feelings that go along with that. I bounce back quicker. I don’t hurt less but the duration is much less. The thoughts are different.

I’ve been publicly humiliated, shamed and embarrassed so many times that I lose count. I run a pretty large, very public event and social media account. People think they know everything about me and my business and they also don’t give me the designation ‘small business’ and I can only think it’s because I am doing such an amazing job that they just can’t imagine we’re a company of 4, who started as a company of 1. With no real help.

So, I had to change my thoughts pretty rapidly when I realized how painful it was to be criticized so harshly in ways that weren’t accurate.

It helped. It was my first foray into Emotional Resilience, aka Not Giving a Fuck.

I came up with rules and strategies that would help me navigate this world full of know-nothing critics who love nothing better than to jump on a soapbox to live out their pretend-expert dreams of taking down the ones who are ACTUALLY doing the work.

I know you might be scared to start.

I know you might be scared to truly be seen.

I know that you might be scared to share what’s in your heart.

I’m here to tell you that you CAN and WILL be fine. Sometimes you will feel hurt. That’s the price of admissions for this big life you want to live.

My rules for showing up and being seen.

Everyone’s opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s not truth. Just because someone is saying something about you (publicly or privately or even to your face) does NOT make it true. Universal truths are a different thing. Like, the sky is blue. Let people have their opinion about you. You can’t do anything about it anyway.

Being called in is ok. I might want to hear what people are saying, you know? Certain criticism is helpful. I am, for instance, part of a dominant culture that has wreaked havoc on cultures and gender identities and part of my own internal work is undoing all the bullshit that I’ve adopted knowingly or unknowingly over my lifetime. It hurts to hear hear this sometimes, but it always makes me a better human.

The pain is temporary. I used to think the embarrassment or shame would last FOREVER. But it doesn’t. Emotions are vibrations that move through our bodies, if we let them. The first moment might be sharp, but it doesn’t last.

Is it worth it to stay quiet? This is essentially a standoff between my head (let’s stay safe) and my heart (I am begging you to let me evolve, to let me live) and my heart usually wins. When you have your heart, criticism is so less harsh because you have your WHY and other opinions don’t have the power to displace that.

Get stronger every day. If you want to be less scared of showing up you have to show up. Right? I guess I had no other choice (well I could have decided to not open a social media account for my business). Let me re-phrase that. I gave myself no other choice. I wanted to grow my business. I wanted to be an integral part of a small business economy. Was it scary? Yes. Did I say the wrong thing publicly sometimes? Sure did. Did a lot of people criticize me to my face in front of my community? So many times I can’t count. But, that also makes me a pretty powerful person. I showed up and was willing to be seen.

So, show up. Be seen. Say what you want to say. It’s all between you and your heart, anyway.