Women are regularly criticized. They aren’t just criticized for their work or professionalism. Often women are criticized for their personality or their looks. All you have to do is get on the internet and you can see it everywhere. She’s not pretty enough. She’s not kind enough. She’s not smart enough. She’s full of it, who does she think she is? What kind of mother would do that?
The negative comments are endless.
The truth is women have been dealing with this for years. Women have been conditioned to not rock the boat. Women need to be likeable. Throughout history a woman’s life depended on it. Today for some women around the world their life still depends on it.
I think about this a lot when I am working with women. Many of them don’t voice their ideas or pursue their most important work because of their fear of criticism. Or they don’t take risks or speak their truth because they are dependent on praise. Praise is where many of us find validation.
If people don’t love your work then it must be unworthy, right?
I see this in some ways as a natural reaction. We all want to feel like we matter, like we are loved and appreciated.
At the same time we need to establish a healthy relationship with feedback and criticism. The goal, in my view, is not to become immune to criticism. You don’t want your skin to be so thick that you can’t hear the world around you.
The point it to become focused. The point is to know yourself. Your inner wisdom should always be your guide.
Your boss might say, “Your work this week was sloppy.” Or your family may think dinner was disgusting last night. Or maybe a coworker says something passive agressive about your weight.
Look inward. Ask yourself, is this feedback true?
If it is true look at it objectively. Do you want to make this better? If so, how can you make it better? If you don’t care whether you are a good cook or not, then don’t let those comments take up space in your heart.
If this isn’t true, do your best to let it go. And also know that feedback can only tell you about the people giving the feedback.
The truths we know about ourselves are very powerful. Our beliefs make up our soul. You could be very fit. But in your heart if you believe you aren’t fit enough there is no amount of praise that will ever make you feel better.
Look inward. Build your beliefs. And know that all meaningful work brings both praise and criticism.
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