Every one of us has a critic or two in our life. They may be close friends and family or the casual unconscious cavalier would-be-comic that offers up a caustic comment that cremates our self-esteem momentarily. I have come to consider the critics in my life as ‘Messengers of Courage’ because to face any comment or criticism they toss out takes courageousness on my part. Facing whatever expression of disapproval or perceived fault someone else has of me is an opportunity for me to do a moral inventory of who I really am, where I stand in the world and exactly what my truth is about me!
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 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 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 have 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 stuff up.” I caught eye contact with Ariel for just an instant, froze, smiled and backed out the door. It took be a moment for me 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 not to man . . . . or woman for that matter. The elation I still feel today is knowing, without a shadows of doubt, 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—but 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.”
The agreements I have made with myself when I face a critic are based on the acronym C.R.I.T.I.C.:
C.larify what the criticism really is! 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? Or 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 breathe 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 in telling the truth to yourself and another that allows you to triumph over anything that has bound you to being ‘little’ or feeling ‘less-than’ in any way.
I.magine your 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? Yeah, 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 that 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.
There are two authors I consider my greatest teachers in understanding how to celebrate the critics in my life. First, Terry Cole-Whittaker, a new-thought writer and Religious Science minister who wrote What You Think of Me is None of My Business in 1979. Her book changed my life. The title of the book became my life-long mantra. It is a timeless book. So many hours are wasted thinking about someone else’s opinion. Set yourself free! For as little as $.99 you can download the book that has self-awareness exercises at the end of each chapter designed to retrains your belief systems and challenges old, usually false, assumptions. My second mentor-through-print is Byron Katie, author of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. The Work of Byron Katie is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, fear, depression, addiction, and violence in the world. The powerful, proven questions she gives us are: Question 1: Is it true? Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true? Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?
I could write volumes about Byron Katie and the depths to which she voice has strengthened mine. There nothing I could or would even think to criticize about Byron Katie’s work. Go to her website http://www.thework.com and get free downloads and worksheets or LIKE her on Facebook.
Do I ‘LIKE’ criticism? Of course not! Do I fear it anymore? Less and less all the time! Claim your truth by celebrating your critics! Blessings : )) KC Miller is the founder of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, a national accredited college for Holistic wellness and Spiritual Studies. www.swiha.edu KC is a Life Coach, Teacher and author of Toe Reading: Are You Walking Your Destined Path and FOLLOW KC Miller on her personal Facebook page or to become a fan LIKE KC Miller – Instrument of Spirit on Facebook.