Let Your Critics Inspire You!

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 2.18.23 PMI saw this quote the other day and could not agree more! I have learned in anything you do, it is nearly impossible to please everyone. The beauty of being an American and living a in a free country is we are each entitled to our own opinions. With that however, can come conflict from time to time if we allow it. Not everyone will applaud what you do or what you say. Not everyone will understand.

I say let your critics inspire you! Realize that what you are doing made someone stop and take notice. Realize that what you say or do, motivated someone to engage and spend a little time with your thoughts, ideas or actions. The only way to have no critics is to live in a vacuum where no one is aware of YOU or your actions or your words. Critics really are a good thing! They are confirmation that you are being heard and being noticed.

Most importantly, don’t let your critics steal your energy or silence your voice. Let them motivate you to keep doing what you are doing and keep speaking, writing, or sharing what you have. Criticism often comes from a very small place – an insecurity, jealousy, or an inability to understand. Why give power to such weakness?

While most of the feedback I receive is very positive, I am not immune to the occasional criticism. The important question I ask myself when I receive such feedback is do I respect the source? If my mentor offered criticism, I’d be inclined to look closely and assess their input. Feedback from a disgruntled or difficult person is not worth internalizing in my opinion. Often times criticism has very little to do what what I am doing and more to do with one’s own unhappiness. Let’s face it – some people just create drama to create drama.

I had a ‘new to me’ ‘Pilates student a few years ago who was very critical during a group reformer class. Each movement I instructed the class to do, she complained and required extra attention. I took the time to show her each movement and often several times. Throughout the entire class she reacted negatively. Initially, I thought I must be doing something wrong. I realized, however, the other students were happy and getting what they needed. I realized while her complaints seemed to be directed at me, she had brought other issues and unhappiness into Pilates that day. I realized her criticism was not a good reason to change what I was doing. I felt she certainly must not have liked me or my class but resolved that that was ok.

After class she came up to me and wanted to talk. I expected more negativity! Instead, she apologized and thanked me for taking time to help her. She said she’d been having a bad day and was used to feeling lost in Pilates class. She said other instructors hadn’t taken the time like I had to work with her. Had I taken her criticism at face value, I might have doubted my abilities. I might have changed my teaching or I might have suggested she find a new class. In the end she became a regular student and a true delight in class!

Take criticism for what it is – feedback that may or may not be valid. Sometimes if the source is good, it’s a chance to improve but sometimes criticism is not about you or me but about the person criticizing and their own unhappiness or personal issues. Use that criticism to empower you and show people what you are doing is causing people to take notice! You make a difference!

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