Many people seem to be able to easily criticize others. This happens everyday, all the time. But don’t take criticisms personally. Instead, the next time you’re in a situation when someone is critiquing you, try to be compassionate instead.
Don’t Take Criticisms Personally for These Two Reasons
Just consider, that when you’re getting a critique pertaining to your job, your business, relationship, or whatever it is, listen up, because that person is giving you a critique for one of two reasons.
1. First, maybe this person really is a good teacher or highly skilled, smart, wise, or intelligent, and they’re critiquing you from the right place of genuine wisdom, caring and understanding. I’m no statistician, but my guess would be this is about 3 – 6% of the time for most people.
2. The second reason people criticize others is to feel good about themselves. They believe they are in a place of power and so they think, “I can do this to you, so I’ll do it. I’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong.”
Most critiques are about the other person, not about you. They’re projecting a fear, desire, or insecurity. You just happen to be the one catching it at that particular time.
Show Compassion to Those Critiquing You
So what do you do? It can be hard, but I promise that it is ultimately rewarding when you show some compassion.
You don’t have to take their criticism personally. Don’t take anything personally. What you’re listening to is somebody else’s stuff. If they’re in a good mood, guess what? They’re going to say good things about you. If they’re in a pissy mood, guess what? They’re going to say pissy things about you.
I teach thousands of people. When I’m on stage, sometimes I will go to the side, sign some books, and take some questions. Once in awhile, I’ll have somebody that will come up to me and say, “You sell too much. You promote too much. You speak too fast. I don’t like the fact that you don’t wear a jacket. You don’t honor us.”
When I first started in this business I would think, “Oh my god! They don’t like me. There’s something wrong with me. I’m never going to do this again. I hate this. I don’t want to go on stage anymore.”
Eventually, what I discovered was that what they’re actually saying is, “I feel unconfident, weak and low, so let me go up to the instructor and tell him what’s wrong with him. That’s going to make me feel better. I can darken his sky. I can put him down so I can bring myself up.”
Focus on Seeing Through the Criticisms
With a lot of the critiques that you get, you need to see right through that critique to the weakness in the other person. Don’t take criticisms personally. That doesn’t mean you have to say anything to them about that, though. Just see it and recognize it so it doesn’t bother you. This is their shit that’s going on here, not yours.
Listen to it, and if there’s some validity in what they’re saying–that you can do better–then just take it in stride and say, “Thank you for that”, and be on your way.
None of this is easy. Why? It’s because we’re creatures of habit, and our ego takes over.
But the secret to being compassionate to others is to start by being compassionate to yourself. It’s two sides of the same coin. Both help each other.
Of the two, which do you think the gurus of the world would tell you to practice first, compassion to others or compassion to yourself?
If there has to be one over the other in that moment–or you’re going to put your attention on one only–which should be first?
The answer is compassion to yourself. You need to have it before you can give it. You can’t give away what you don’t have.
As your exercise for this week I want you to do two things. First, practice being compassionate to yourself. Practice nurturing yourself. Practice being kind to yourself. Practice being your own best friend. Speak to yourself nicely. Don’t take criticisms personally.
Then, the next time you find yourself being moved by someone else’s criticism of you, practice compassionately thanking that person for their observation without anger or resentment. If you can go a step further, ask them why they feel the way they feel and take that opinion as emotionally detached as you can get. In others, give them an opportunity to recognize their own shit!
Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes. I want to hear from you!
For Your Freedom,