“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”- Ann Landers
Ack, that whole Duck Dynasty controversy! What a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. I don’t watch the show, but, okay, so the guy showed us who he is. We all do that by what we say and do. He can’t be anything other than who he is and that goes for everyone else. Yes, he’s now a public figure. He’s probably not used to having everything he says and does scrutinized, and he’s not the first public figure to put his foot in it. I’m not saying I agree with him, but crimeny, what did the controversy accomplish? I was thinking about this latest media brouhaha, and then the other day in my writer’s group, we were discussing what can happen when you put yourself out into the world, and you get negative feedback.
One of our members has a new business, Love Based Leadership, with a book and newsletter of the same name. Recently, she began publishing short videos with leadership tips. During our meeting, she told us about some negative comments she’d received about her videos, and her process in dealing with them. Of course, at first she was devastated. We all want to be liked and supported. But here’s the thing, there’s no way we can please all the people all the time. At some point someone’s going to get rubbed the wrong way about what we’re doing, and they’ll say something. This is the thing we agreed upon, when someone says negative things to us, they’re telling us about themselves and their point of view. What they say has nothing to do with us.
Everyone has a unique perspective on the world. So, when I’m talking with anyone in private or in public, I have to remember that there will be people who won’t have the same viewpoint I do, and they may speak up and tell me what they think. The same goes for this blog, or my books. When I get a negative comment, I get to choose if I’ll react, or respond. As Wayne Dyer says, “We choose whether or not to be offended.” Does being offended by what someone else says, serve any purpose? Some people just thrive on controversy. However, there may be times, when speaking up helps raise public awareness, but most of the time it just causes a bigger fracas, which serves no one.
And another thing, when I’m challenged, I have a chance to assess the situation. Am I being challenged by someone who is open minded and willing to have a calm exchange of ideas, or not? If not, I steer clear of that person. They are energy vampires. For some reason controversy makes them feel more powerful. It’s an illusion, of course. What it really does is show their vulnerability and fear.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m not stung when someone makes a nasty comment about something I’ve created. My ego is just as fragile as most people’s. However, I have learned to take a breath and work through my hurt feelings. That’s what we were talking about in my writer’s group. How to overcome those terrible feelings when someone doesn’t appreciate what we have to offer. It takes practice to allow others to have their own point of view. It also takes practice not to be hurt when someone doesn’t like us, but it can be accomplished.
The bottom line is this: When we put ourselves out in the wider world, the negative comments are reminders that we’re doing something right. I mean, who wants to be a milk-toast and never get noticed? I have to remind myself, that what I’m doing is important, even if it’s just for my own soul development. Since that’s the case, I’m determined not to let anyone stop me from following my inner voice. I hope you won’t let anyone stop you either.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014