1. Everyone’s got an opinion
Humans have a natural need to judge and discriminate — It’s just how we’re wired. Ideally, you have a bevy of supporters surrounding you at all times, but don’t be surprised if that’s not the case. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right — you’ll be criticized anyways.” Learn to expect it, and eventually you’ll stop giving a damn all together.
2. It’s not about you
When someone says something bad to you or about you, it’s most often a reflection of how they see themselves. You have essentially become a mirror for their own fears and shortcomings. So remember that it’s their issue, not yours.
Lena Dunham is a great example of being true to yourself despite harsh criticism. Personally, I find her work to be brilliant, but it’s received as much backlash as praise. When asked by a reporter why she felt the need to be naked so much on Girls, she simply responded, “If you are not into me, that’s your problem, and you are going to have to kind of work that out with whatever professionals you’ve hired.”
3. All publicity is good publicity
Remember that some of the most celebrated figures in history were also some of the most ostracized.
Not to say that you should strive to be defined by infamy and scandal, but usually if people are talking about you, then it means you’re doing something that’s actually noteworthy; You’re taking chances and making waves. Once you start making a name for yourself, being talked about is inevitable, and what they say is out of your control. What is in your control, however, is how you react.
4. I’m rubber and you’re glue…
It’s not always as easy as the old childhood adage, but in essence, if you let yourself get hurt or angry over what some idiot says about you, then you’ve ultimately let them prevail.
When I started writing online I was ecstatic to just get my voice out there.
And then the commenters came.
Some were vicious, even to go so far as to personally attack my character. I was grateful to receive constructive criticism for my writing, but I was upset about the other slanderous remarks. My initial reaction was to call them out and defend myself. But friends urged me to say nothing, and I realize now they were 100% right. Like me, you may be ultra sensitive and feel hurt even when a stranger says something negative. But if you stay in control and take the high road, you win.
5. Authenticity is paramount
I spent the bulk of my 20’s trying to be someone I wasn’t. Instead of being my own kooky self, I strived to emulate others. Choosing the path of least resistance, I ended up acting solely to please my parents, friends, and peers. I thought that making them happy would in turn make me happy, but the opposite ended up happening. I lost sight of who I was completely and felt like a miserable sell-out. So I finally said screw everyone else, and the result was miraculous. The more I stayed true to myself, the more confident and successful I became, and the less I cared about what anyone thought.
Being unique and standing out from the crowd might make you more vulnerable to criticism, but I promise the rewards far surpass the risks. To quote the great Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”