“If you do anything interesting in the world, you are going to have critics. If you can’t tolerate critics, then don’t do anything new or interesting,” Jeff Bezos. When I was younger I attracted the interest of more men than women. Which was difficult because I’m a girls girl, so I wanted to be friends with women, not men. If you knew me growing up, you know how much I disliked sports. I begged my mom to let me play softball and tried to quit everyday after I made the team. I had zero masculine tendencies– besides watching football. Unlike a lot of my friends with kids now, no one ever saw me as an athlete. And although I went to school on a dance scholarship, I’d argue more people would come to me for fashion advice than dancing lesson’s back then.
As I got older, and much wiser, I learned women are jealous, and intimated by other empowering women. In order to build and sustain friendships, you needed to be more than a loyal friend. It took meeting secure woman who loved themselves enough to not feel threatened by their perception of other women. So I found a group of badass boss babes to befriend. If you are reading this, chances are, male or female, you have experienced critics, frenemies and naysayers. Unfortunately, you are not going to win everyone over.
The more I put myself out there and open up daily, the more I stand to be torn apart. But I do it anyway, because I don’t care what someone’s opinion of me is. I’m not doing this for them. I’m sharing my life and my story in hopes of educating people and making people aware. I speak candidly about relationships, because although I’ve had successful experiences with my relationships, I married the one not successful relationship I’ve ever had. I married a diagnosed psychopath who tried to kill me. If I can influence one person to get out of a toxic relationship, or educate someone on the importance of self love, I have done my job. So what naysayers feel about my pictures on Instagram, does not affect me.
I realize I am not for everyone, and I do not market my brand for everyone. I am for the openminded. Nothing infuriates me more than seeing a new male follower on my social media. It’s because the men who follow me are not following me for the reasons I market my brand. They are following me for their own self-fulfilling needs. Commenting on my body when I am discussing a topic like self-healing proves how ignorant some people are, and reminds me how important it is to handle misogynistic pigs, and tolerate their opinions with grace. Earlier this month I lost a friend of nearly eleven years over this topic. Which opened my eyes that not only was this person not a quality friend, but even the people who know your heart most, that you thought would support you through anything, may not always be on your side.
Having a blog has been challenging. It’s also proven who my real friends are. At times, more recently than ever, I’ve learned people I thought were my friends aren’t. I don’t have critics who attack me yet, but I am facing the struggle of understanding why people are not more supportive. Why women I spent years in high school and college with, follow everything I do, but don’t engage and/or support it. Or how my closest girlfriend chose to hire someone for her company who does the exact same thing I do for a living, but she doesn’t want to see me succeed. Which is business 101: hire people who are the best at their craft in order to be successful. It’s a harsh reality when you realize both critics and so-called friends are out to attack you, or just not support you.
If you are experiencing a lack of support, or criticism from people, that means you are doing something right. When people feel threatened and/or intimated they attack you in an effort to try to bring you down. The good news, if you have thick skin, and an authentic personality/heart, no one can take that away. It is important to understand when people are giving you constructive criticism, versus someone criticizing you to criticize you. I love constructive criticism, especially when it helps or educates me. But if someone is trying to bring you down to hurt you, or diminish your brand, it’s time to practice ways to avoid the pressures living up to everyones standards.
Five tips to stay on your path and no be affected by critics.
1. Don’t Take It Personally
What people say is their opinion and often not accurate. Don’t give anyone the power of breaking you down. Which goes back to knowing your purpose and your why. Everyone is going to have an opinion but only the ignorant spread negativity. Remind yourself how bored they must be with their own lives to spend their energy trying to takeaway from yours. Take it as a compliment. All press is good press.
2. Don’t Spend Energy Feeding Into Negativity
When someone uses their energy to create negative attention that’s what they will attract. Continue on your path and do what is right for you. Never exert your energy feeding the negative. I live by the Oreo affect. If someone gives me a negative I will give them two positives. Stay positive.
3. Filter the Commentary
Constructive criticism is huge for growth. Though our initial reaction might be to get defensive, try to look at things objectively. If someone has a valid point, or educational lesson, listen to them. It’s important not to jump into a negative war, but see if you can benefit from something someone is sharing. My friend who I ended an eleven year friendship with (his choice not mine) earlier this month gave me insightful information about growing a female audience versus a heavily male driven audience. He suggested I post more “girl next door” and smiling photos, or photos with guys, so that I didn’t come off as intimidating but friendly. Which I agreed with and appreciated. What I didn’t appreciate is when he told me men are entitled to disrespect women who post pretty pictures because women are “asking for it” when they share anything sexy.
4. Stay Connected To Your Community
When you started this journey you were doing this for a reason. More than likely, to touch someone or help someone. Keep on that path and don’t lose sight of your reason. You are not here to absorb the weight (and comments) of the world. You are here to make a difference: changing a naysayers opinion is not one of those differences. Feed the people who support you. Listen to their feedback. Giveback to them. Those are the people who are going to continue helping you grow your brand, and spread word of your business. When you extend yourself to coverup the negative, you take time away from the positive. Focus on what’s working and expand on that.
5. Never Quit
When things aren’t working out you can’t listen to the world that’s filled with negativity. You really have to trust yourself and listen to your heart. Don’t stop your progression for someone else’s opinion. Have thick skin and keep moving forward. When you allow the weight of someone else’s opinion to weigh on you, it only sets you back. Think of all the great you are doing, and how much you have to give the next time someone makes you want to quit. You are not doing this for them, you are doing it for you. Never forget that.
The point is everyone has an opinion—about everything. What you eat, how you spend your money, even the person you should be dating. Don’t pay mind to those people’s opinions that do not matter.
This is your life not theirs: stop giving into the pressure of living for others and live for your purpose. When someone has something negative to say, be reminded they are talking about you and your life not the other way around. They are wasting their life thinking about yours. Live your best life and let their fuel help you grow even bigger. The more successful you are, the more people are going to talk. Its worked out for Jeff Bezos, so I’m certain it can happen for you.