Early last year, I ran my first Facebook ad when I was promoting my course REWIRED (on shyness and social anxiety). I was giving away a report I created called The Social Anxiety Cure.
I was putting myself and my work “out there” and guess what?
I got criticism.
A guy that saw my ad wrote in the comments section something like this (now I wish I had a screenshot): “Whoa! Wait a minute! Who do you think you are to say that shyness needs a cure like it’s some sort of disease?! Shyness is not a disease to be cured, lady!”
I must say, that comment stung. I had put a lot of work into it, and that certainly was not what I meant or my intention for the reader.
“I am doing this all wrong!” was the thought my brain offered up to me.
For a minute, I thought of taking the ad down right away.
But I didn’t.
Yesterday I got some feedback that ‘broke my heart‘ (temporarily).
And as I type this, I see how much drama “broke my heart” can create within me…
My heart can’t really get broken, can it?
Can feedback actually break someone’s heart?!
I’m pretty sure that if I were to cut myself open, I wouldn’t see a broken heart inside me. 💔
Yet, saying that feels heavy.
It feels true… and when it feels true, I believe the “reasons” (aka story) my brain comes up with, as the cause of my ‘broken heart’. Fortunately for me, I had a call with my coach. Someone I can offer all my thoughts to, to explore together (love her!). Yes, I was momentarily feeling deflated, sad, inadequate. That energy that, within a short amount of time, had my “not-enoughness” bubbling up to the surface (along with my desire for external validation and approval).
You think, “I am doing this wrong!” came up for me again? You betcha!
And when those desires for external approval are met with the opposite of “I love it! You’re doing this totally right!” my brain makes that mean something. Something along the lines of not being enough or doing it all wrong.
After talking to my coach, I walked to my backyard for some fresh air. I found a space to sit and look at all the plants and flowers growing on the slope. Some are fragile, and some are so hearty, they keep coming back even though they’ve been cut down over and over…
Like the Mexican evening primrose (pictured here) that sometimes voluntarily pops up from the grass in our yard.
See, when we get negative feedback, criticism, or feel rejected, we can either be like a dandelion or like the Mexican evening primrose. A dandelion is fragile and falls apart when the wind blows (or when you blow on it). The Mexican evening primrose, although delicate looking, can withstand wind, really cool temperatures, lots of neglect, and are practically indestructible.
Nothing went wrong in the feedback or criticism I received (in fact, it was super useful!). Yes, criticism and opinions exist. Rejection is a feeling caused by our thinking. It’s not really a ‘thing’. Saying “no, thank you” is a thing, “I don’t agree with your product or service” is a thing people do say. Rejection is what we make it mean.
My brain was just doing what brains do. My brain decided that something had gone wrong. I created the feeling of ‘hurt’ with my brain because, on some level, I still have a Faulty Thinking Error. That Faulty Thinking Error states that I “need” external validation to feel good about myself and my work.
Those Faulty Thinking Errors are like putting in the wrong code on our computer system. It either doesn’t work with the wrong code, or it will cause glitches on the system.
Ultimately whose approval did I not have? My own, of course.
We humans are much like a brand new computer. The computer works perfectly fine until we mess it up by putting in wrong codes or overwhelm it with a ton of files that cause it to slow down and not function properly. This was not about working on validating myself necessarily, but about noticing and deleting the Faulty Thinking Error files.
Because the truth is that our value, worth, and enoughness is inherent in who we are. And if that’s an inherent part of our nature, can I fully approve it and NOT invalidate it? Can I approve of ME even when someone else does not?
Yes, I can.
So next time you feel awful after receiving negative feedback, remember that nothing has gone wrong, you’re only human, …AND
you don’t have to be a dandelion.🌸
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