We all know what it’s like to have someone be critical of us; some of us take it with more grace than others. However, instead of looking at a comment as negative or demeaning, imagine considering the critics in your life as ‘Messengers of Courage’. For you to face whatever comment or criticism they toss out, takes courage on your part, and it gives you an opportunity to do a moral inventory of who you really are, where you stand in the world, and exactly what the truth is about yourself!
One of my biggest moments of courage in facing a critic happened a few years ago during a Celebrate Your Life event in Scottsdale, Arizona. For years, Mishka Productions, created by Ariel Wolfe and her daughter Liz Dawn, have been bringing best-selling authors and new-age thought leaders together for a weekend of intense spiritual growth. It has been my honor to be a part of the conference from almost the beginning, partly because long before the Celebrate Your Life events began, I was friends with Ariel Wolfe.
It was at these amazing conferences that my soul work, Toe Reading, really found a life of its own. From the first time Toe Readings were offered to conference participants, long lines of people would form just to have a piece of their life path analyzed and honored. The messages stored in the tissue of their toes proved to be extremely accurate and divinely guided messages were offered to the conference seekers. Hundreds of people received deep transformative information about themselves and their soul-path, creating tremendous healing and release from past pain from the Toe Readings they received. These readings are based on a soul coaching system I was able to teach a whole team of Spirit-directed practitioners.
Ariel Wolfe was always one of my biggest fans. She and I had developed a certain sisterhood based on work we had done together years before in a woman’s mastermind group. We had taken to heart the belief that if every woman in the world were to extend a hand to another, we could affect the entire planet. The visualization we used was seeing women standing hand-in-hand encircling the globe. Ariel was famous for saying, “We are stewards to bring consciousness to the world.” I never questioned her edict. She said it, I embraced it. My personal mission became to touch lives, heal bodies and free souls.
One year, Ariel made special arrangements for me to meet one of the famous authors whom I had always admired. She invited me to come to her suite an hour before the author’s dinner to personally meet this person and possibly do a Toe Reading. You can imagine my excitement! As I walked into the room, I heard Ariel explaining who I was and how eager she was to have the author endorse my work. The comment from the author’s mouth came out critically: “Ariel, you know she just made this Toe Reading stuff up.”
My eye caught Ariel’s eye for just an instant; I froze, smiled and backed out the door. It took me a moment to catch my breath. When I did, I began to laugh softly because my first thought was: “Thank you for being my messenger and inviting me to step into who I know I am.” I knew I was a steward destined to bring consciousness to the world one soul at a time! That moment in time will be forever etched in my soul. It was the day I understood, on the deepest level possible, that what someone else thinks of me or my life-work is none of my business. I am a ‘direct report’ to the Divine, and what someone else thinks of me or my work does not matter as long as I am being true to my inner guidance and directives!
The elation I still feel today is knowing, without a shadow of doubt, that we all have a destined path. We are here to do something no one else is assigned to do. We are ‘on assignment.’
Consider making the following agreement with yourself when you face a critic:
C.larify! What is this criticism really? Is there any validity to the comment? Is it about you, or is it about the one extending the comment? The big question is: Is it a message, or a test? Perhaps it’s both? Clarifying questions begin with WHAT, HOW, WHO, and IS...
R.ealize there is always something to look at! Whether there is a grain of truth in the critical comment or not, take a deep grounding breath and ask:
Is there any fear in the comment? Whose fear is it? What am I afraid to look at that makes this comment feels so personal? What could the messenger possibly be afraid of?
I.nquiry is empowering! Consider the definition of inquiry. It is an act of asking for information or an official investigation. Synonyms to the word inquiry are probe, examine, review or exploration. When framed that way, doesn’t inquiry into a critical comment sound exciting? Ok... could you agree that it at least sounds adventuresome? ‘Inquiry-based Learning’ is defined as seeking for truth, information, or knowledge -- seeking information by questioning. Consider adopting a new learning style; that of inquiry and questioning from a place of expectation, and not defensiveness.
T.ell the truth... to yourself and to the messenger. Learning to touch the center of the pain or discomfort and not shrinking back from the truth expands your world exponentially. Speak your truth even if your voice shakes. It is telling the truth to yourself and another that allows you to triumph over anything that has tethered you to being ‘little’ in the past.
I.magine you’ve signed a contract on another level of time and space to meet this tough-natured messenger/teacher. What if you began living your life with the expectation that you will, at points in your life, meet critical people because for reasons you don’t fully understand your soul needs the burnishing of caustic-natured comments? Yes, I know it sounds a little esoteric, and yet, as a perspective tool, imagine your soul soaring every time you stand in your convictions with grace and expanded wisdom.
C.elebrate being courageous! You never know how much courage you have until courage is your only choice! Of course you do have a choice as to how you react or respond to critics. Consider committing to growing tall in the 'Light' of who you truly are.