Recently, I posted a comment about haters on Facebook. A dear friend of mine replied,
“Oh no! Kim, you have haters??”
We all do. No one is immune to criticism and judgment. People will do that….some will do it to your face and some behind your back (and then you get the joy of hearing about it later).
Either way, you need to know how to handle this WITHOUT allowing it to cripple you!
Here are some of my best tips for handling judgment, criticism and haters:
1. Choose what you will and WILL NOT listen to. Words have power. You are not obligated to listen to a litany of reasons why you suck at the hands of an angry or resentful person! Some of those people need to be cut out of your life completely. If it is a person you live with, well, that’s different. You will need strong boundaries and a plan for when these ugly scenes start to go down. Choose not to engage in the conversation and get out of there. Hurtful, angry, bitter words are hard to remove once they go into our minds and hearts.
If someone has a real concern that they want to address with you it is OKAY to require the conversation to be calm and respectful! Try this: “I will talk about this when you can tell me how you feel in a way that is respectful to us both.”
2. Accept the fact that you cannot control other people’s perceptions of you. People judge and they judge harshly. Have you heard the saying that people look at themselves through a telescope and at others through a microscope? I have found that to be true. For me, freedom comes from this: just plain accepting that some people will perceive me or my actions inaccurately and there is nothing I can do about it. I’m actually okay with people being wrong about me and I don’t go to the ends of the earth to change their minds. People who really value me take care to understand who I am and why I do what I do. Those are the relationships worth the investment.
3. Take a look at your side of the street. Hearing about how horrible or inadequate someone thinks we are is emotionally upsetting. So, once you have settled down emotionally, maybe a day or two or ten later, get objective. Take a step back and assess your side of the street in the situation. Were they pointing out some garbage that is really there? If so, clean it up. Were they pointing out garbage that is on their side, but telling you it is actually on your side? Or worse yet, were they blaming you for all of the garbage they have created? Do not take responsibility for what is NOT yours. Allow them to own their garbage while you are committed to owning yours. (Bonus tip: It doesn’t hurt to show them some empathy for how tough things are for them even if they blame you for it. I’m still working on this one.)
4. Remember that the 80/20 rule applies here. Even at your VERY BEST, using your BEST GIFTS, 20% of people just aren’t going to like you. You’re just not their flavor! You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches. So what? Most people love peaches! According to the 80/20 rule, 80% will join your tribe enthusiastically. So celebrate the 80 and allow the 20 to sharpen your personal sense of security and ability to deal with criticism. You need a thick skin in this life, y’all. (Thicker than that of a peach.) It can be a cruel world.
5. Don’t let harsh criticism or judgement stop you – keep on growing. As you grow, you will learn to love and accept yourself. (You know you’ve accomplished this when you treat yourself like you would your best friend.) Strong, secure people learn to celebrate their gifts and find things to like about themselves. As you become this person you will value your time, energy, ideas and resources. You’ll invest in your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development and become a person you can be proud of. Yes, you’ll still screw up and have bad moments, but you will learn to give yourself the grace you give others and more readily accept your own humanity. Ultimately, you will learn to leverage your weaknesses and failures to take you to the next level. Who knows?? You might even be thankful for the haters one day! Grateful that their criticism and judgment fueled your commitment to greatness and forced you to dig your heels in and not budge about living your best life.