Criticism is a fact of life. The world has shrunk thanks to the Internet and everyone seems to have an opinion about everything these days.
But that doesn’t mean we have to like it.
Criticism can really hurt!
No matter how thick-skinned you are, most of us hate being criticized and judged.
I know this first-hand because for a long time I tried to avoid criticism.
I wanted approval so badly that I always felt hurt, confused and angry whenever people misread my intentions or misunderstood me.
But then I realized that unless it’s constructive criticism that’s coming from a loving, supportive place, most critics want you to feel bad about yourself.
You might not be well known right now. You may be a startup or just thinking about your business idea.
But the chances are that the more you share your ideas on the world stage the more likely you are to attract criticism and haters.
It’s not nice but you shouldn’t let this stop you from following your dream and letting your light shine.
Tall Poppy Syndrome
Have you ever heard of Tall Poppy Syndrome?
It’s an Australian term that has slipped into usage elsewhere and has a similar meaning to Schadenfreude.
A tall poppy is someone who stands out because they’re successful or a high achiever and as a result they become a target for jealousy, hatred and criticism.
This cultural phenomenon is very common in the UK and parts of the former Commonwealth (notably Australia) than in the USA where they tend to celebrate success more and emulate successful people.
Tall Poppy Syndrome is an ugly reaction to success that is based on a person’s own insecurities, lack mindedness, envy, jealousy and revenge.
It has nothing to do with being modest about your achievements and “keeping it real” as is so often argued.
Celebrating other people’s victories attracts success and wealth to you. While resenting other people’s success just repels it even further from you.
Even successful business people and celebrities aren’t immune to haters.
How David Beckham Defied His Critics
Although David Beckham is loved and admired around the world these days, it wasn’t always like this.
When England got knocked out of the 1998 World Cup following his infamous sending off, he was vilified by the whole nation.
Beckham became a hate figure for several years. He received death threats, was booed every time he played and people even burned effigies of him in the streets!
It got so bad that he had to have a police escort every time he stepped out of his home and he beefed up his security to protect his family.
Can you imagine how awful that must have been for him?
He must have questioned his career many times.
The fans’ reaction might seem extreme to anyone outside the UK where football (soccer) is a national passion and fans can get pretty fanatical.
But I think this over the top response had a lot to do with the Beckhams’ celebrity lifestyle that was constantly splashed across the English media.
Many people were jealous of their wealth and success so Beckham’s fall from grace was a perfect opportunity to tear them down.
But Beckham got through it all.
His career flourished and he won a string of multi-million dollar advertising deals.
He became a global icon and served as an ambassador for his country at the 2012 London Olympics. This led to him being awarded an OBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Not bad for a working class boy from the East End of London who dreamed of playing football for Manchester United.
Years later Beckham said that dealing with hate is the price of success.
“I am glad I went through it. It made me stronger. When people criticize you, it is not a reason to give up, but to work harder and believe in yourself.”
Be Prepared For Criticism
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to experience the demonization David Beckham went through but you do need to be prepared for criticism on your journey.
You must learn to deal with your critics effectively and not let them get to you.
As you strive to achieve a better lifestyle for yourself and your family, you’ll start to stand out and almost certainly come under fire from your peers.
People may resent you for wanting more out of life and having grand ideas about yourself. They’ll try to cut you down to size. Or criticize you for doing things differently or pooh-pooh your ideas.
So what can you do? Run and hide? Break down and cry? No!
That’s exactly what your critics want.
Haters are often unhappy, small-minded people who are too afraid to pursue their own dreams. That’s why they criticize others and try to tear down anyone whom they feel threatened by.
Don’t let the fear of being criticized hold you back from your greatness or stop you from standing for what you believe in.
You don’t have to be a quiet little mouse who agrees with the world. Stand up for yourself and beat them at their own game.
4 Effective Ways To Deal With Criticism
#1 Choose Not To Care
This is something that took me a long time to understand.
I’m a sensitive soul and value kindness and respect above everything else.
So it was a revelation to me when I realized that even though I can’t control what people say to me or about me, I can definitely choose how I respond to criticism.
Sounds simple, right?
You can decide right now to stop caring what others think about the choices or decisions you make. You don’t need anyone’s approval to be a success.
Don’t give others power over you and stop you from putting your ideas out there. The world needs your unique gift.
#2 It’s Not Always About You
Most of the time, criticism is not about you. It says more about the critic than the person who’s being judged.
So don’t take other people’s opinions to heart and carry on walking your path
I love this quote by Wayne Dyer;
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
It reminds me that judgment works both ways.
Check in with yourself.
Are you judging or criticizing others? If so, you might be inviting judgment and criticism on yourself.
If you tend to complain a lot and criticize things in your life, your business, your customers and the people around you, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Catch yourself before you say anything negative and turn it into something positive. It won’t be easy the first time but trust me, keep trying and it will soon become second nature.
The bottom line is that the more good you look for outside of you, the less negativity and criticism you will attract into your own life.
#3 Trust Yourself But Be Open
You have to be your number one fan and advocate.
After all, if you can’t stand up for you, then why should anyone else?
It’s very easy to doubt yourself when people disagree with you. But you don’t have to accept criticism outright. Just because others don’t see things the way you do doesn’t mean you are wrong.
At times like these, trust your intuition.
But don’t be blinded by your convictions either.
Criticism may seem negative but it gives you the opportunity to learn and improve.
Too often, we only value praise. When people say nice things to us it makes us happy. But when we get criticized, we feel depressed.
But if all you get are insincere compliments and flattery, how can you ever progress?
In order to grow and improve as a person and business, you have to be open to constructive criticism.
If the suggestions are valid, be brave enough to take them on board and make some changes.
Otherwise, let it be and move on.
#4 Protect Yourself From Negativity
You get what you expect in life.
When you go looking for criticism, it has a habit of showing up.
What do I mean by this?
If you Google yourself and discover something negative about you or your business that could damage your hard-earned reputation, such as a negative review of your service or product then you must address it.
Customer service is extremely important these days and most people will check out a business online before they engage with it.
If you have an unhappy customer, find out what’s wrong. Say you’re sorry, offer a refund, provide additional support – do whatever you can to turn it around.
However if someone is simply criticizing you then I really think silence is a good answer.
Unfortunately, easy access to the Internet and social networking sites has led to trolling – hateful, negative and critical comments about people – as well as giving rise to websites devoted to trashing others.
There are far too many places on the Web where snarky, mean people and victims hang out and try to bring others down.
Don’t give these people any energy. Protect yourself and your mental space.
Avoid these sites and don’t worry about what others are saying because no good can come of it. Don’t engage with them and make sure you are 100% impeccable in your own dealings.
If someone sends you a negative email (that is not constructive criticism or feedback) delete it.
If you get a negative message on Facebook or Twitter, unfriend that person or block them.
You don’t need to explain yourself or ever feel guilty by your actions. Life is too short to worry about such people.
Keep smiling, keep going.
Direct your attention to doing work you love, helping and inspiring others and serving people who truly value your talent and gifts.
You’ve probably heard the saying
Some Will, Some Won’t, So What – Next!
It’s widely used in sales and marketing and plays out something like this:
- Some people will need your product or service, some won’t.
- Some people will like you as a person, some won’t.
- Some people will recognize the value you offer; some won’t.
- Some people will become great clients, and some won’t.
Instead of getting bogged down by criticism, start to shift your mindset.
It’s none of your business what other people say about you. You are not here to convince everyone to like you.
The clearer you become about who you are, what you want to do and who you want to work with the easier it is to deal with critical, negative people.
You can simply ignore them.
Changing your attitude towards criticism is liberating. Any negativity that’s directed at you just rolls off your back.
As you stop focusing on the wrong people, you give more of the right people chance to enter your life.
What’s helped you deal with criticism? Please share your tips and strategies below.