I’ve read a lot of really lovely books lately about how to let go of negativity and how to live your life in the lightest way possible. Two of my particular favorites (worth multiple reads) are Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. They got me thinking a lot about judgment, self esteem, and insecurity – and the best way to combat the uncomfortable feelings that come along for the ride. So here are 15 truths about dealing with judgment and criticism that will hopefully help you get to a better place simply by altering your mindset.
1. Someone else’s opinion of your story doesn’t matter. What matters is that you remember that the only person who will live your life is you. So live it however you want.
2. They are probably cutting into you because of some deep-seated anxiety within themselves. It is much easier for us to project our self-hatred onto others than it is to accept that there is something about ourselves that we really don’t like.
3. We’ve all been judged before, but we’ve all also been the judgmental person before, too (probably multiple times). Think about where you were in your life when you were the judgmental person – about how it almost never had anything to do with the person you were judging and almost always had everything to do with you.
4. “Not caring what others think” is an admirable quality to have, but it’s pretty damn difficult to maintain in my opinion. Sometimes your energy is better spent accepting that judgment hurts, allowing yourself to feel the sting, and then using that spark to move on and go after what you want with an even stronger force than before.
5. It feels good to look at someone who’s judging you and paint them as a cold, heartless, unlovable villain. But what will truly help you heal is remembering that there are so many more good people in the world than there are bad, and that most of the time, someone who’s judging you is just a regular, good human being trying to fight their own demons.
6. There is definitely a difference between unnecessary judgment and constructive criticism. Sometimes, all someone is trying to do is help you to become a better version of yourself. We’re typically wired to lash out at either one of these situations, but if you quiet your brain enough, you’ll find that your gut knows the difference. If someone is telling you something that you need to hear, listen.
7. Making someone else hurt will not make your pain go away, or even lessen it. It’s just creating more negativity out of thin air.
8. Toxicity is contagious. You will always be happier just letting it go, accepting that you can’t control what other people think of you, and spending your time on people who make your world lighter, not heavier.
9. Sometimes, an unnecessarily critical comment or a cold attitude comes from someone who’s just having a bad day. Other times, it really does come from someone who lives for putting others down. If the latter is the case, remember this quote from Tina Fey: “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
10. Or this Tina gem: “When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.”
11. People who are negative and super judgmental all the time, simply because they want to be, are making far more enemies than you could ever imagine. Although their words or actions may hurt, at the end of the day you’ll get over it, but they’ll still be who they are. It’s best to just take a breath and leave them behind.
12. Compassion is the most powerful in the moments when you really, really don’t want to use it. Remember that. Sometimes it truly is strong enough to extinguish a negative flame.
13. Thoughts like I’m better than them or They’re just taking it out on me because they suck at x usually do more harm than good. Because in their own way, these thoughts still contain traces of negativity. It’s better to just not let that person seep into the equation at all. Their sentiments may wound you for a bit, but it will be way easier for you to move on with your life and keep chasing magnificent things when you think of that person as a complete non-factor in your existence.
14. Even the most successful, confident, and well-liked people in the world get criticized. If you let any of this stop you now, you’ll never get very far.
15. We’re human, so judgment will always sting. But it’s pretty hard to put much focus on it when you’re already too busy living.