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Critics are everywhere.
No matter what you do, say, act, dress, or even breathe. Someone is going to criticize you. In the blogging world, it's like Mean Girls on steroids sometimes.
You have to have white walls, perfect furniture, fur blankets thrown perfectly on the couches, pets are the perfect weight, breed, and colors, makeup is applied in the most recent style, and much more.
If you don't do those things, brands, followers, etc don't like you….or worse…. say you're trash because you're not giving readers what they want.
Here's my thing, I'm me. Yes, I blog for my readers, but I also blog for me. This is my outlet, my enjoyment, my hobby that has turned into income. I love writing. I love helping people. But overall, I love being myself.
If I can't be myself, who can I be?
That's not me! I've always been eccentric, different, the oddball, the one to go against the grain, or the complete opposite of what everyone expected. Why?
I AM ME!
I love my crazy hair colors. I love wearing crazy, wild, totally loud leggings that fat people shouldn't wear because “it shows off heir fat more”, I'm fat but I'll wear what I want.
Our home is not perfect. Our cats have scratched up the bottoms of our couches, our kids plop their butts on the couches and have busted one of the pieces of the frame, I have a bunch of handed down/recycled furniture, and kitchen appliances that are probably older than I am (except for my husband's giant counter space hogging Kitchen Aid Mixer that we totally use 3-4 times a week).
We don't have the perfect white fireplace with the perfectly sanded down cherry wood mantel. Hell, we don't even have a fireplace because our apartment sucks. Oh, I forgot to mention that we live in a tiny 2 bdrm 1 bath apartment where we have to pay to use a washer and dryer or go to the laundromat. You know what, I'm okay with not having the perfect house right now because I know within the next couple years, we will have OUR perfect house. Which again, won't be anyone else's perfect house because it's ours.
The point I'm trying to make is that critics are EVERYWHERE! No matter how perfect your life is (or picture perfect), how messed up it is, or how “normal”. There is always going to be someone that nitpicks everything and dissects it down to the very bone to see a minor flaw.
It can be quite challenging to get along with a critic, especially when we live, work or attend functions with them. Here are 10 tips to help you get along better with critical people.
1. Understand what motivates people to be critical
Most critics have been criticized themselves as children and did not develop the sense of security and healthy identity that can come from positive nurturing. They tend to have a low opinion of themselves and consequently feel best (although often frustrated) when attempting to achieve the unrealistic standards they set for themselves and others. Critics are often motivated by the need to feel better about themselves by putting other people down. Understanding their motivation can help us to develop empathy and compassion – two qualities that will help you get along with critical people.
2. Listen carefully to what they say
Although critical people often lack diplomacy and tact, they also tend to be able to size up people and situations accurately. You may be tempted to discount what you hear, but listen carefully to what they say because there is often valuable information underneath the sharp edges of the message.
3. Be willing to confront your critic
It is not easy to confront interpersonal problems, but it is typically the best approach. Be willing to tell the critic in your life how you feel about the way they interact with you. This won't guarantee change, however, by expressing your thoughts and feelings you are in a better position to manage your own emotions and behaviors. The emotional expression will decrease your chances of growing embittered, and consequently, or saying something you'll regret.
4. Focus on the truth, not on the criticism
If someone puts you down, fight the temptation to dwell on the criticism. If there is something you can learn from the message, do so, but then move on. Instead of dwelling on the negative comment focus on the gifts, talents, and strengths that you possess.
5. Be careful about what you share with the critical person
It's not always wise to share personal or important information with a critic about yourself or anyone else. Providing such information is asking for trouble because critical people often take things out of context, misinterpret or exaggerate information and place a negative spin on ideas or opinions. Learn how to discern what you should and should not reveal. When in doubt, don’t share.
6. Don't join in on criticizing others
It can be easy to fall into the trap of criticizing others when you're around a critical person. Joining in on the criticism only serves to legitimize the behavior in the mind of the critic, and the transition into gossip is close behind. Today the criticism is about someone else – tomorrow it could be directed toward you.
7. Limit the amount of time you spend with critical people
It may be very appropriate to limit the amount of time you spend with a critic. This, of course, can be difficult if they happen to be your spouse, parent or boss. However, it may be in your best interest to let the person know that your level of interaction with them will be based, in part, on their willingness to communicate with you in a constructive and appropriate manner. If the critic is your spouse you may benefit from consulting with a professional marriage counselor.
8. Control your response to critical people
Pay close attention to how you respond to criticism. If you tend to react with anger, hurt or intimidation, you will encourage the critical behavior. Critical people are often motivated to behave the way they do because of the response they trigger in others. When you learn to not overreact, the critic will likely move on to someone who will.
9. Try to understand the needs of the critical person
The emotional “gas tank” of a critical person is often very low. Criticism is sometimes an outward expression of an inward need – usually the need to feel worthwhile and significant. It is surprising how a sincere compliment, congratulations or demonstration of care and concern can improve your relationship. People with full emotional tanks are the least likely to mistreat others.
10. Maintain realistic expectations
Critical people don't change overnight. Even if they are making positive progress, they are likely to revert back to their old ways from time to time, especially under stress. Realistic expectations will help guide your interactions and will likely result in a healthier relationship.
It's really hard for me to follow some of these. However, I've been moving forward and basically stopped putting my emotions on my sleeve for others to criticize. It's not easy…. but it can be done.
What things have you done or are doing to deal with the critical people in your life?