To loosely quote Teddy Roosevelt, the critic isn’t the one who is important; the credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena.
In order to be remarkable, to make a difference in this world, to live out your purpose for this short time you’re here on this earth, you have to put yourself out there in a way that, quite frankly, makes you a target.
In short, in order to be remarkable, you have to allow people to make remarks about you.
As I patiently wait for my TEDx talk to be posted online for the world to see, I wonder how it will be received. I talk about today’s elitist and ableist version of health: how it’s not just what you eat or how much you weigh. I call for a systematic shift in what we stereotypically see as “health and wellness.” And I wonder how many people stuck in diet culture–those who live and die by intermittent fasting or cutting out all carbs and sugars–will leave scathing comments.
As I patiently wait for the publication date of my debut book, Freedom with Food and Fitness, I wonder how it will be received. I talk about how intuitive eating saved my life, after over a decade of chronic dieting that morphed into three undiagnosed eating disorders. I call for a revolution against the diet industry: a $60 billion force that preys on the insecurities of women (and men). And I wonder how many people will leave scathing reviews.
I have willingly stepped into the lions’ den knowing I will be both celebrated and criticized, the latter likely to dig into my own deepest insecurities and fear.
You know that you have an amazing company, a revolutionary idea, a gift that you can teach others, a voice that is bubbling to the surface with passion and conviction.
But you also know those critics are waiting in the shadows, ready to tear you apart.
And it silences you. Makes you hesitate. Makes you delay your passions and life’s purpose because if you hear those negative remarks, you might think you’re wrong about yourself and your brilliant ideas. Maybe you aren’t so special, maybe you aren’t so brilliant. Maybe they’re right.
But all that does is keep you small. Keep us, as women, from speaking up, speaking our truth and taking up space.
When my clients struggle with thoughts that keep them stuck, I simply offer them different thoughts. So, here are some alternative thoughts I’d like you to try on–perhaps even as affirmations– so that you can better handle the remarks, and step into your remarkable self.
- “They’re allowed to be wrong about me.” No matter what an internet troll says, it doesn’t make what they say true. We have a lot of thoughts about a lot of different people all the time, and sometimes, let’s admit it, we’re wrong. I totally misjudged Ariana Grande. Based on her music, I thought she was a vapid music artist with oversexualized lyrics. Turns out, she’s actually a sensitive, intelligent and wildly talented music artist. I was wrong about her, and I was allowed to be wrong about her, because my previous misconceptions of her didn’t change who she was fundamentally. This thought helps take the authority out of what other people say about you.
- “Thoughts are not truths.” Just because someone has a thought about you, or you have a thought about yourself, doesn’t make it true. If someone comments on your YouTube video that you have no business wearing the outfit you are, who says that’s the truth? Before that comment, you thought you were rocking that outfit like a queen! Why do we believe what someone else says over our own wisdom? Why do we value their opinions more than our own? Who is right in the scenario of your outfit? There is no right or wrong. The neutral circumstance here is you wore an outfit. There is no categorical truth about whether you looked good in it or not; so it’s your choice to believe one way or the other. And then the question becomes: “Which thought serves you most and allows you to continue showing up as yourself, in service of others?”
- “What am I making this mean?” Going back to the idea that the outfit you wore is neutral, so is the fact that someone made a negative comment about it. The comment itself might be negative, but seeing the actual comment online is neutral. The key is what you’re making it mean. Are you making it mean that you’re not for some people and this person just isn’t part of your tribe, and moving on with your day? Or are you making it mean that you’re disgusting and need to lose 10 more pounds before you step on a speaking stage again? Are you going to drop thousands of dollars on a completely new wardrobe when you could be investing that money back into your business? Or in life experiences?
- “Not everyone likes peaches.” You could be the juiciest, most beautifully ripe peach in the world…and there will be someone who just doesn’t like peaches. You are not for everyone, and not everyone is for you. And that’s okay! That’s what makes our world so rich with nuanced ideas and concepts.
- “Who needs to hear my message today?” Regardless of those who don’t like peaches, there is someone, today, who needs to hear your message. Someone who needs to know they’re not alone in their struggles. Someone who needs to know how to move forward to where you used to be– where they are now–and get to where you’ve arrived. You are not speaking up or showing up for those who will make negative remarks; you are showing up for those you serve, who you want to help through your message, a message only you can give in the special way you give it.
Want to learn more about how to be mentally bullet-proof? To show up powerfully, authentically, and confidently? Go to www.freedomwithfoodandfitness.com/discover to learn more about Defy the Diet, my signature program where I coach women on how to heal their relationship with their bodies through the philosophies of intuitive eating.