Sisters image by VirginiaMol and used with permission.
Hello! I recently came across an article by Tara Sophia Mohr called Dealing with Criticism: A Guide for Brilliant Women. In it, she states that women have been contacting her about a previous article, looking for more tips and advice about:
“Get A Thick Skin. If you take risks, sometimes you’ll get a standing ovation, and sometimes, people will throw tomatoes. Can you think of any leader you admire who doesn’t have enthusiastic fans and harsh critics? Get used to wins and losses, praise and pans, getting a call back and being ignored. Work on letting go of needing to be liked and universally known as a nice person.”
Wow. That’s a mouthful!
But it is oh-so-true that women, especially, have a tough time dealing with criticism because of the way we’ve been raised.
I remember my sister calling me out of the blue one day. I was surprised that she called in the middle of the work day, and even more surprised to hear her crying – to feel how genuinely upset she was. One of her work friends had suddenly changed her tune and had verbally attacked my sister.
And I had to share with her an unfortunate truth: when you arrive at the top, it makes you a target. You suddenly become the alpha leader that everyone else is trying to unseat. And the criticism and attacks really amp up in earnest. I told her that if someone isn’t calling you a bitch, you’re not doing it right. And if someone IS calling you a bitch, then you are probably doing SOMETHING very right.
It seems to me sometimes that women are even bitchier with one another than men. I don’t know why, but men seem to have an understanding that no one can be top dog for long – and they also use that as fuel to drive themselves to better performances. So maybe next time THEY are the top dog.
But women? We can be so mean and cruel to one another. Instead of celebrating our moments of success together. Why is that? How can we change and improve this situation for future generations?
I love Tara Sophia Mohr’s two-step advice:
- Ask yourself: “What am I making this criticism mean? How am I interpreting it?” What else could it mean?
- Ask yourself: “How does this criticism touch upon a negative belief I hold about myself? What do I want to replace that old belief with? What new belief would serve me better?”
Tara’s advice suggests that how we react to criticism is a choice we make. We can choose to interpret criticism negatively – or we can use it as a signpost to spur our growth.
We do not feel all criticisms equally. Some we instantly dismiss because we know they aren’t true. The ones that hurt us are the ones that resonate with some baggage we’re carrying. Some negative belief about ourselves that we formed somewhere along the way. Instead of feeling hurt or ashamed, we can use the criticism as an opportunity to see where our baggage needs to be replaced or upgraded.
My best advice about growing a thicker skin?
It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens a little bit at a time, when you stop feeling only the pain and the shame and make the conscious choice to see criticism as a signpost pointing the way to where you can improve your beliefs and your life!
Please take time this week to celebrate someone else’s success
Treat the women in your life like sisters and celebrate their successes with them. Share the successes instead of attacking. Help create a better world for yourself and for the women who follow.
And thanks for stopping by! ♥