This is a story about criticism (and how to survive it) that I wrote for a friend’s forthcoming book project!
Women typically hire me when they’re frustrated and unhappy. A client might be unhappy with her weight, unhappy with her marriage, unhappy with the career that she’s chosen, or stressed because her business isn’t as profitable as she hoped it would be and she’s starting to panic.
Women also hire me when they’re pretty happy, but searching for more fulfillment and satisfaction. She might be excelling in her career, but wondering, “What’s my deeper purpose in life? What’s the legacy I want to leave behind?”
In other words: women hire me for all kinds of reasons, but the common denominator is that my clients are craving something MORE out of life. More pleasure. More excitement. More meaning. More money. More respect. More recognition. Often, more fun! I love my work as a life coach because ultimately, it’s about empowering women to pursue whatever version of “more” she is craving. Helping her see it, claim it, and get it.
That’s my driving mission: female empowerment. That’s what I live for. It’s what I write about. It’s what I coach about. It’s what my entire existence is all about.
So you can imagine my surprise when a woman I’ve never met wrote a cruel comment on a mutual friend’s Facebook page, tearing me apart, and accusing me of being a “fake feminist” and a “puppet of misogyny.”
After discovering that post, I felt pissed off and misunderstood, How could anyone think I am a “misogynist”? The definition of “misogynist” is: “a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.” That is literally the opposite of who I am. The whole situation felt baffling and confusing. And so painful.
Here’s how I got through that moment:
First, I allowed myself to feel upset. Pretending that you’re “fine” (when you’re not) is never helpful. I let myself feel angry, hurt and aggravated.
Then I took a deep breath.
Then I reminded myself that not everyone is going to understand me. And it’s not my job to “make” everyone understand me. It’s my job to keep spreading my work and love.
After that, I went into my inbox and I re-read a couple of emails from friends, family, and past clients to remind myself, “Oh yeah. There are people out there who love me.”
Reading those emails really helped to shift my state of mind. I definitely recommend it. You can store positive, loving emails in a special inbox folder so that you’ve got a whole bunch of love-mail right there at your fingertips whenever you might need it. Then, during a dark moment, you can read through your love-mail to remind yourself that even if one person doesn’t “get” you, there are still plenty of people who do.
Most importantly? Self-coach yourself. This means “interrupting” a negative thought right in its tracks and challenging that thought, as if you’re having a fierce debate.
If your mind is running wild, looping some type of negative thought like, “You suck-you suck-you suck-you’re a terrible person, just like that Internet lady says,” interrupt that thought. Clap back. Say to yourself, “Oh really? Because I disagree. I think I’m actually a very kind, caring, creative and talented person. Some random lady from the Internet does not get to derail my self-esteem.”
As a relatively “public figure” with a popular blog and Facebook feed, I have been called lots of names over the years by petty, jealous people who want to hurt me—as well as people who just don’t understand me. “Misogynist” was the name that hurt the most, because it’s literally the antithesis of everything I work for and stand for. But I survived that experience. You can survive that kind of attack, too. You’re stronger than you realize. Strong enough, definitely, to wade through criticism and emerge on the other side: strong, proud, and empowered.
P.S. I’m so excited to share a few free webinars with you this summer! Here’s a schedule of upcoming dates and topics for you.
Click the links below to get registered, mark these off on your gcal, and get ready to rumble!