“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing.” ~ Aristotle
When we are children, we crave the approval of our parents. If we do something wrong, we are met with unpleasant consequences and disapproval. We strive to do better. This is how our conscience is formed. We learn morals and grow up to understand societal expectations for our behaviour. We care what people think of us. However, it’s not always in our best interest to care.
I like to be liked! I take criticism to heart. I’ve only recently realized that’s it’s ok to throw some of it away and forget it. As we grow up, we have to discern the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. We also have to learn that some people aren’t going to like us no matter what we do. There are people out there that delight in seeing us fail. Usually it’s something within their own messed up psyche that brings them pleasure in taking others down. They project their insecurities and fears onto you. When this happens it’s important to stay focused and not let these people bring you down with them.
Many of you know that I started teaching Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) courses for Realtors. The Texas Real Estate Commission requires that evaluation forms be given to each student at the end of a class to rate the course and instructor. I have to say that an overwhelming majority of my evaluations are very good. Occasionally, I get called out on something. A few of the comments are valid, constructive criticism. Usually, I already know that I had not done well at whatever it is they complain about. I make no excuses and strive to be better each time.
Every once in a while, there is somebody sitting in the class that decides they don’t like me from the minute they walk in the door. There is nothing I can do or say to win them over. I can tell from their body language that my evaluation is going to be horrible. Arms crossed and no eye contact is a dead giveaway. It’s these over the top criticisms that I must purge from my mind. There is nothing constructive about them. They are meant to hurt me and destroy my confidence. I have a choice on whether I’ll let them succeed. I can dwell on the negative, destructive words or I can leave them behind and continue to move forward focusing on my journey.
The simple truth is, if you are going to do anything in life, you will be judged by others. We’re all created with unique gifts that we’re passionate about and it is our job, our purpose, to share our gifts with others. Don’t hide what makes you special for fear of judgment. The people you are meant to have an impact on will love you. Occasionally you are going to screw up and people will see your imperfections. That’s ok! The people that love you won’t care. The people that don’t, don’t matter. Only those that never do anything, never fail.