In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she talks about keeping a picture of someone walking on a tightrope above her desk as a reminder to practice shame resilience. Why the image of a tightrope?
“When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety net below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.”
You don’t want to define yourself by what other people think, but you also want to stay open to hearing the words of either someone who loves you and wants the best for you, or feedback that you can use to improve.
Game Plan: When you do get feedback that feels like criticism or an attack, ask yourself who it’s coming from (is it someone that you trust or has had the same experience?) and whether it is intended to be hurtful or helpful. As Brene suggests, keep a piece of paper in your wallet with the names of one or two people whose opinions of you really matter – that way you’re not seeking the approval of strangers or people who are just being mean.