By KC Miller, SWIHA Success Center Blogger
Every one of us has a critic or two in our lives. They may be close friends, family members or the casual unconscious, cavalier, would-be-comic that offers up a caustic comment that momentarily cremates our self-esteem. Imagine considering the critics in your life as ‘Messengers of Courage,’ because to face whatever comment or criticism they toss out takes courage on your part. Facing whatever expression of disapproval or perceived fault someone else has of you is an opportunity for you 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.’
Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, teaches that one of the sacred agreements we must make in life is: Don’t take anything personally.
At last year’s Celebrate Your Life event, Don Miguel Ruiz said in his workshop: “You need a very strong will in order to adopt the Four Agreements— if you can begin to live your life with these agreements, the transformation in your life will be amazing. You will see the drama of hell disappear right before your very eyes. Instead of living in a dream of hell, you will be creating a new dream—your personal dream of heaven.”
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.
About the Blog Author – KC Miller
As Founder of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) KC Miller is no stranger to having critics in her life. Early in her life she mastered one of the important lessons Don Miguel Ruiz, the international bestselling author of The Four Agreements teaches: Do not take things personally.
KC remembers very early in her spiritual journey she was standing high on the pulpit from which the minister of childhood church preached. The director of the Sunday school came running down the aisle, admonishing her: “Get down from there. Girls can’t be preachers!” KC did not take that noise personally, in fact, KC was ordained as a minister in 1996, and became an Ordaining official for the Universal Brotherhood Movement, giving her the ability to ordain others who are called into ministerial service.
While in massage school, an anatomy teacher told KC that she would never make it if she didn’t learn to spell ‘sternocleidomastoid’. Due to her spelling ability KC got a ‘D’ in anatomy.
Not discouraged by the grade on her transcript, KC went on to build a very successful massage practice, and start SWIHA. In 1998 KC had the opportunity to purchase the massage college (Phoenix Therapeutic Massage College) she had graduated from and as the new owner she ‘freed up’ the anatomy instructor’s future, not because she held a grudge, rather the new educational focus was on teaching to the student’s personal learning styles and helping them to develop their innate healing gifts.
As co-author of the Transformational Life Coaching program at SWIHA, one of the founding principles on which the program is founded is: Do not take things personally. It’s not about you. It’s about how you respond to the situation.