Monday, September 17, 2012

When the Criticism Can Cripple

"Ding Dong, the witch is dead."  That was the tweet.

I'll spare you the situational details, but the witch was me.  And that one stung deeply. I guess it was meant to.

But, it also wasn't devastating.

It would have been.  Two years earlier, I would have cried. I would have retreated and tried to pull the blanket over my head. I would have been really hurt. I would have taken and absorbed every drop of blame, both the deserved and the undeserved. I would have been completely broken by the criticism.

But this wasn't two years earlier.  This was now. This was two years of learning who I was and who I wasn't.  This was two years spent living and making mistakes and learning from them. This was two years of friendship with a mentor who repeatedly taught me how to let things roll off my back (one of the hardest lessons I've ever learned).  This was two years of learning to listen to the people who cared about me and who mattered to me.

It used to be that everyone's opinions mattered to me. I wanted everyone to like me. I needed everyone to like me.  And so, everyone's opinions made up what I thought of myself.  I even changed myself to fit who I thought other people wanted me to be because I needed their opinions to be positive ones.  Even, I guess, if their opinions of me (while possibly favorable) weren't actually who I was.

But I've slowly come to understand that everyone liking me is never going to happen.  Positive opinions from everyone are never going to exist.  I had to come to a place where I understood that this was okay. And this was okay because there did exist people who loved me for who I was, who liked me for who I was and am.  I came to learn that it wasn't the criticisms of the world that mattered, but the criticisms of these people.  That if I was okay with these people, the people who were important to me, then it wasn't so important that I be okay with the whole world.

So, a year later from this "Ding Dong the witch is dead"?  It still stings a bit. And it still hurts. But I don't let the criticism cripple me because I know who I am and I know who's important.

I hope you won't let the criticism cripple you, either.  You're loved by someone, and it's them who matters.


10 comments:

  1. ((hugs)) I know they still hurt but I am glad it didn't cripple you:) When people say things like that I always feel bad for them.... That they must really be so insecure that they have to make them selves feel better!!!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer... I'm glad, too. At a different place in my life, it would have... so I'm just grateful that it came when I could handle it, you know?

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  2. Ugh! Not sure why people feel the need to be so mean. But I love what you have learned- and consequently what you will be able to teach your girls.
    I happen to think that you are brilliant- quirky and funny- and also wise. But wisdom doesn't come from a trouble free life. Keep being who you are!

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    1. Aw, you're so sweet, thank you. But, you're right... wisdom doesn't come free. It's all part of living, I guess... I always figure every lesson I learn is one less to get through! lol

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  3. Very, very true. Hope things are all well *hugs*

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    1. Thank you... Yes, things are better now. As my friend used to say, Onward and upward!

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  4. I'm a little jealous you have a mentor. ;) But I'm glad you're one of my them! You have taught me much, fyi. Thanks! And really... who should I bbeat? ;)

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    1. Aw, that's just a fancy word for "friend who's older and less dumb than me."

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  5. This is a very hard lesson for me. I don't just want everyone to like me, I want to be their number one most favorite person in the world. Why? I don't really know. Possibly, it stems from my earliest years. I was an only child, coddled and adored. I was my aunt's favorite play thing and the only still-little-and-cute grandbaby. The teen girls across the street pampered me. Every which way I turned, there were people who worshiped my cute little self. Then, we moved away from family and friends, I gained a baby sister, my parents split, my papaw died, I gained a step-sibling... Sometimes I wonder if I've spent the majority of my life trying to get back to that favored-child place.

    Sorry I practically blogged in your comments. All that to say, I agree. It's hard, but it's worth it.

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    1. lol If I had a dollar for every time I've blogged in someone else's comments, I'd be a very rich woman.

      That makes sense to me... It's funny how that childhood stuff can stick around for so long. I'm always trying to "be enough" and never ever feeling that I am.

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