My friend has a hate blog, which is to say that there’s entire website dedicated to hating her.
Photos of her have been made into a collage that’s wallpapering the site, and they add new photos constantly, including some of her family and friends. The folks who post and comment on the site critique/criticize everything from her opinions to her body. From time to time, they post things of her friends’, weighing in on our opinions and looks, too. Nothing, it seems, is out of bounds.
They’ve criticized my work, my intentions, and my character. I’ve read things about myself on the site, ranging from “I hate everything about her”, to “She is going to be an awful mom”, to “I’m embarrassed for her. I can’t believe she thinks she looks good in that photo!” All of these comments were made while I was pregnant, which was unfortunately the first time I paid any mind to the site.
I don’t think it’ll come as any surprise to say that reading these things about myself hurt.
Some of their words cut deep, and on a few occasions I found myself crying on the couch, questioning everything about myself. Shutting down.
When I first mentioned the site to Noah, he made me promise not to look at it anymore. I halfheartedly agreed not to, but it was like watching a car wreck…as painful as it was, I couldn’t take my eyes away. On one hand, I knew that taking that in was unhealthy. On another hand, I knew I was building a muscle.
I was learning how to rise, even in the face of their judgment and criticism.
Sometimes you can make people go away and stop saying harsh things about you. Sometimes you can’t. Being visible in any way – from speaking out in your workplace to building a business – means that you’re a likely target for criticism. And while it can feel absolutely awful to be on the receiving end of it, there is immense value in learning how to stand up and speak out, even in the face of it.
How to rise in the face of [rejection, criticism, judgment, attack]:
This goes both for what others are saying about us and what we’re saying about ourselves… There’s a big difference between a thoughtful critique of one’s work and a criticism of her thighs. One can be respectful, constructive, a fruitful contribution. The other is disrespectful, cutting, destructive. By making space to receive productive critique (both from ourselves and others), while making no space for taking in snarky criticism, we protect what’s sacred while opening to growth.
CRADLE YOUR PAIN
Regardless of how constructive feedback is, it can be hard to receive. For some, it will bring up painful memories of feeling judged harshly as a child, or will rattle our sense of self. When we react from that pain, though, we tend to react by shrinking or defending, losing our ability to filter the helpful from the harmful. By cradling the pain – truly being with it – we soften our defenses and fortify our relationship with ourselves, cultivating receptivity and strength. Hold yourself gently, call a friend who’s good at holding space and ask for a loving reflection (not simply corroboration that the other person is “jealous”, “a jerk”, etc), or curl up in the arms of a loved one.
ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS
By exploring why something hurts, we can discover what truth (if any) lies in the critique. Sometimes – not always – things hurt because they’re touching on a nerve, revealing something our wiser self knows to be true, deep down. It takes a high level of discernment, but asking the tough questions is the good, hard work. Truth be told, it can slow us down for a while, but it can also bring more depth and honesty to ourselves and our work.
STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR NORTH STAR
Your North Star is your guiding light – the reason WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. By staying connected with this future vision for yourself and the world, you stay true to your soul’s path, no matter how winding it may be. Our North Stars will always be bigger than our fears of displeasing others, or our inner voices of not-enoughness.
BE A FIERCE STAND FOR THE RISING OF ALL WOMEN
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
We are in a potent time for the reclamation and integration of the voices of those who have been marginalized (people of color, those with mental illness, LGBTQ folks, and women). Let us be a fierce stand for the rising of all historically marginalized peoples, including women, not to have power over those in power, but to stand on equal footing. Let us recognize and dismantle misogynistic/patriarchal/hierarchical messaging and conditioning. Let us be gentle yet fierce in our examination of the ways that we judge, compare, shame ourselves and other women. Let us look for opportunities to see and reflect the innate beauty and brilliance of a woman – any woman. Let us support women who are rising.
By circling with other women who see you in your innate brilliance and are a YES to your rising, you improve your odds of truly seeing yourself, transcending old the “compare and despair” game, and rising in true service of the collective. This is a gift we give ourselves, one another, and all of humanity. I’ve seen nothing make a greater impact on a woman’s ability to rise, in the face of anything.
The only way to rise individually is to rise collectively.
––> In the comments below, share what this is opening up for you, and any stories or advice you have for how to rise in the face of anything.
REMINDER: There are just 3 days left to apply for the Freedom Mastermind (deadline is Thursday, October 27th, but I’m reading applications as they come in).
Each year, we welcome in up to 20 women for this intimate journey, and I can honestly say that the space that’s created is not only supportive but also healing. What I’ve experienced time and again is that when women gather with a focus on truly deepening our service in the world, truly doing the inner and outer work to stand in our leadership, and doing it all in a way that’s truly nourishing to us as individuals… decades (generations, even) of healing can occur. We find our voices and use them for good, leading with vision, depth, and devotion. It’s a powerful experience that is quite honestly hard to describe (these women do a great job).
Check out all the details and grab your application form here: TheFreedomMastermind.com