Ignore the Critics

Karith Foster

“Ignoring the critics means not being limited by others’ beliefs.”
— Karith Foster

Haters gonna hate, and critics are gonna critique.

It’s what they do best, so don’t let the haters or the critics ruffle your feathers. Ignore them. Don’t let them get under your skin or bring you down. Put your mental and emotional armor on tight, step forward confidently, and leave your doubters in the dust. They don’t know what you are fully capable of. They don’t even know you because they’re not you.

If someone is bringing you down or trying to squash your dreams, my money is on them being jealous of you or just plain insecure.
Ignore them.

I do hate being the bearer of bad news, but if you haven’t realized it yet, not everyone is rooting for you. It’s harsh, but some people aren’t in your corner. Some folks hope you won’t flourish. Some even hope you fail.

Who are these critics, you ask?

The obvious culprits are the ones we expect. The frenemy or nemesis - like a competitive classmate, co-worker, or the cousin we never jived with - those folks won’t disappoint.

These critics are everywhere, and they pop up at the most inopportune times, usually when you’re about to jump into action or when you’ve decided to push past the fear and step out of your comfort zone.
That’s when the critics come out of the shadows in full force, like they smell progress wanting to be made and their MO is to stop it.

Like flies at a picnic, they show up just long enough to get in your face, buzz around and cause some commotion, then sensing their mission is accomplished, they buzz off on their way. Don’t let *Karen from down the hall ruin your day with her unsolicited empty criticism. That’s the equivalent of her buzzing by your cubicle and pooping on your gorgeous slice of watermelon.

Ignore her.

We expect our critics to be folks like that, but sometimes the critics are a little too close for comfort, because they can take the form of people we love: our friends, family, and significant others. Those people in our lives who criticize us aren’t doing it because they’re mean or evil. It’s often because they are well-intentioned and feel protective of you.

Those same people may also live in a constant state of fear, insecurity, jealousy, and scarcity. They’ve been convinced that there isn’t enough. Not enough opportunity. Not enough happiness for everyone, so they subconsciously sabotage your success with their fear, which takes its grand display in the form of criticism.

Without realizing it, they might be envious of your achievements, or they might see your success as a reminder of their lack of success. We’ve all struggled with shifting blame and not taking responsibility for ourselves or our limitations, so let’s be kind to them.

But we need to also be honest about the potential influence such a person can have upon us. Don’t let your brother make you doubt yourself because he didn’t have the cajones to go for it.

Don’t let your mother distract you when she says, “Well, no one in our family has ever done that before.” Stay focused. Keep doing your thing! Don’t let your girlfriend dissuade you with her past failures. Ignoring the critics means not being limited by others’ limiting beliefs.

Ignoring the critics means you feel the fear, push past the fear, and do it anyway. One of my favorite acronyms for fear is: False Evidence/Events Appearing Real. Reflect on that for a moment. Let that sink in. Ninety-nine percent of the stuff we’re afraid of never even comes to fruition.

We, especially us creative types, like to get in our heads and create these bullsh*t scenarios that never even come to pass. Why do we do that?

Technically, that’s a psychological riddle I’m not qualified to answer in full detail but I’ll give you the crib notes- in layman’s terms it’s because we are our own worst critics.

I know! GASP!

I was saving this bomb to drop last.

Ignoring the critics also means telling yourself to get a grip and take a seat for a moment.

Ignoring the critics means at times to ignore YOU! Not your authentic you. The “in your head” you who’s gone off the deep end with all the reasons something won’t work or will go wrong. The you that is first in line to beat yourself up emotionally.

Ignore the you that has forgotten it’s “only a mistake if you don’t get anything out of it;” otherwise it’s a life lesson aka a gift.

Ignore the you who has limited beliefs and thinks there is only so much to go around.

Ignore the you who tried something once, it didn’t work out the way you expected it to, so you’re not going to bother trying again.

Do you know how few advancements and what little technology we’d have if folks just gave up because they let their inner critic win?

Do you know how few love stories we’d have in the world if everyone who had their heart broken threw in the towel on relationships? Not to mention how sparse the population of the planet would be (yes, I know I’m assuming most people marry for love. Let me live in that world, thank you).

Now that we’ve done a full analysis of who our critics can be (potentially everyone, yourself included), the next step is to ignore them. Ignore TF out of them.

Be like a duck in a pond and let their insincerity and insecurity roll off your back like a water off of a duck’s feathers. The cardinal rule for this entire blog is to leave perfection in the past and achieve your level of happiness.

The very first lesson I wrote about in my book "You Can Be Perfect or You Can Be Happy": be kind to yourself. That is what ignoring the critics is about. Being good to you!

Excerpt from the book, You Can Be Perfect Or You Can Be Happy Copyright © 2020 by Karith Foster.
All rights reserved.