It doesn't really matter what is happening in life, there will always be someone with an opinion about you or what you are doing. It might be the way you look, how you act, the job you do. If you are a working mother, it might be an opinion about whether you should be staying at home or not. If you are doing some personal development and growth or taking time for self-care, it might be about selfish. If you are working on a dream, it might be about questioning why.
The reality is, everyone has an opinion. What you choose to do with that opinion and what you pay attention to though - is completely up to you.
We live in a world where more and more people feel like they are entitled to be a critic and share their opinion about what other people are doing with their life, at any given moment in time. It is the opinion of others that often stop us, get in our heads and result in us giving up on our dreams.
You are allowed to dream big. You are allowed to grow and change. Heck, you are allowed to do whatever you want with this life because it is your life! We are so conditioned from when we are little, that other people's opinions carry more weight than our own opinion. This conditioning has held me back me from doing a number of things in life. When you are told you are not smart enough or educated enough or young enough or old enough or any other myriad of comments, for most people...it causes them to pause and question what they are doing.
I am here to share with you something I heard Rachel Hollis (Author of 'Girl Wash Your Face' and 'Girl Stop Apologising') say at a conference I attended last year.
Other people's opinions are none of your business!
Whatever you do, good or bad, people will have something negative to say about it! So why do we still listen?
No explanation necessary
If we all understood each other, life might be a lot less complicated. Unfortunately, though, life is not like that! I have learned that you don't have to keep explaining yourself or your big dreams to people who are committed to misunderstanding you and criticising you. It is okay if they don't see what you see. It is okay if they don't fully understand. Your job is not to convince them. Your job is to put yourself out there, boldly and authentically. You will be judged for being yourself or being someone else. It won't matter. So you may as well, unapologetically be yourself!
According to Brené Brown, vulnerability is not about winning or losing. It's about having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness. It is our greatest measure of courage. Having the courage to continue on and pursue your dreams and live life on your terms, regardless of what other people say, takes courage. We are a nation of people who are scared to show up as our true selves because the voices we hear with the opinions being shared are louder than those voices of encouragement. It takes more courage to put yourself out there than to sit back and watch. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. (Brené Brown) Learn to embrace it.
Two types of Criticism
The definition of criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. So essentially, it is feedback. When you go to share your opinion with someone else, be mindful of which one you are doing. It is easy to think we are being helpful when really, it is just criticism.
The critic who counts
This has been the key to me learning to listen to the right people and ignore all the rest. The critic that counts is the one out there doing the work for their own dreams as well. Like Brené says, if you are not in the arena also getting your arse kicked, I am not interested in your feedback. It is so easy to sit back and comment on what other people are doing and what we think they should be doing. It takes no courage or vulnerability to do that at all! It involves no risk. But life is meant to be experienced. You are meant to put yourself out there and do things you have never done. You are supposed to live a life where, at the end of it, you have absolutely no regrets! You only get one shot at this! So don't waste your time listening to the people who are playing small, not striving to better versions of themselves, who are predicting your doom and undermining your dreams. They are not telling your story. They are telling their own. Besides...no statue has ever been erected in honour of those kinds of critics!
The best way I have found to counteract criticism is to focus on the bigger dream for my life and surround myself with the people are doing what I want to do but who are currently doing it better! Be inspired by others and you will find you become the inspiration. When you put yourself out there in the truest way you can, there is hope that others can do the same. Your vibes speak louder than your words. People around you will see and feel what you are doing if it is from a place of love. Allow yourself to see the imperfections of others as a thing of beauty and growth and allow yourself and others to see the same in you. One person's inspired life has the power to create a ripple effect around the world.
Until next week....have an inspired week!
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