How to Handle Criticism from Yourself & Others

This time of year can feel like a lot of pressure with some year end wrap up, new products, growth and renewed goals and aspirations. Unfortunately, when you have so very much going on, it can be easy to allow yourself to become vulnerable to other people’s opinions or criticisms.

Being vulnerable can also cause you to reflect back on your short-comings and compare yourself to others and their seemingly amazing accomplishments. It can be very common to carry around negative self talk and that weight can very easily drag you down into unhealthy thoughts and patterns.

It can be internal criticism within yourself or external criticism comparing yourself to others and both are equally as dangerous and damaging. This quote is a personal favorite of mine…

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Teddy Roosevelt

If you spend time comparing yourself to others, you are stealing your own joy. When we feel dragged down and engage in negative self talk, it can be very easy to slip into the habit of allowing ourselves to compare ourselves to others unrealistically.

Comparisons are really always unfair not in your favor, if you are in a negative mind space, you are looking through a filter of yourself that will always make you come up short. Don’t compare your worst self to someone else’s highlight reel on Facebook or Twitter. That is a skewed perception.

In this way, there is no way that you will ever be able to make a fair, unbiased comparison. And what do you have to gain from comparison? Making yourself feel bad will certainly not help you get the enthusiasm or energy to improve and get to where you want to be in your business or life goals.

We often compare certain metrics that don’t really, genuinely matter to us. You can’t allow yourself to compare yourself to others that don’t even align with your goals. Your priorities are different than others and comparing them to yourself to them will just drain your energy and foster negativity, unnecessarily.

When you are comparing yourself to someone else, one way to redirect that energy is to realize that you are focusing on the wrong person if you are spending time comparing yourself to others. The only person worth reflecting on and comparing yourself to is yourself. You will come out ahead if you only compare yourself to yourself.

You are always in the process of becoming, changing and growing. You are a product of your decisions. Ask yourself these questions:

What are you doing today that you could not have done 2 days, 2 months or 2 years ago? What ground have you covered? It fosters such positive energy and can only prove to push you forward!

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What if you stopped trying so hard?

Everyday, I get an email from a guy named Mike Dooley who offers inspirational messages. Some days, I feel too busy to read them and simply delete them. Other days, it’s like he has somehow been able to read my thoughts and sends a perfect message at just the right moment.

Here’s the message I almost deleted this morning:

Stop thinking that you have to make it happen, Lara, and let it happen… That you have to be better, and be yourself… That I’ve ever judged you, and be free.

What stopped me in my tracks this morning was that this is the exact message I decided to use for a keynote speech I’ve been asked to deliver at a Women’s Leadership Conference next year. And I just came up with this yesterday afternoon.

Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I’m taking this as a sign from the Universe that I’ve chosen the perfect topic. I’ll be talking about authentic leadership, and how the first step is self-acceptance.

Crazy things happen when we accept ourselves–we become a magnet for others who want to accept themselves, too. And all of that has nothing to do with being perfect or better than others.

Photo credit La Bella Sandra Photography
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