Has anybody ever criticized you? How do you respond to it? Is it a place where you want to lash out at the person and make them pay, or maybe you drop in and you wither on the inside? You’re not sure how to take it, really. How does that inside feel when somebody criticizes you? Is there a difference between a stranger criticizing you and someone you love? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to find out what to do when you have somebody who critiques you, and how to handle it in a way that feels good, and have to also not accept criticism if it’s really not about you.
When somebody says something to you…whether it’s a beloved person in your life or not. Maybe it’s somebody in authority…we all have a way in which we react, and it’s different for every single person. For some people, it’s like, “To heck with them. I don’t want a club that they’d want me to be a part of anyway.” For other people it’s like, “Oh, no. They can see me. There’s something wrong with me. I’m broken.” There’s all the gamut in-between. There’s all kinds of different ways that it makes us feel inside. A lot of that is the way we were programmed when we were little. I talk a lot about how in witnessing the adults around us that raised us we have a tendency to take on their own way of dealing with criticism or in being criticized, that we have a way that it made us feel when we were little kids. Even though we’ve become these assertive, amazing, competent adults, we may still have that little child triggered when a critical moment comes up, a critical thing.
Well, I talk a lot about the internal guidance system. If you don’t know what your internal guidance system is, it’s a factory installed guidance system. You can find out more at zeninamoment.com, where you can check it out, feel it for yourself. You can physically feel it. You’ve had it your whole life. That’s what I’m talking about today. When you have your IGS, internal guidance system, it expands when what you’re thinking is true, and in alignment, and going to bring you more health and harmony in your life. It contracts, it feels tense like a lump in your throat, or a tight feeling in your chest, or a sinking feeling in your solar plexus, and that’s a closing sensation. That means what you’re thinking is not true.
You can use this amazing thing to gauge whether or not the person who’s giving you a critique is actually talking about you, or projecting themselves on you, or seeing something that isn’t true. I’m going to give you an instance. I love to use my husband and I because it’s just a safe place. I don’t have to worry about all my clients that I’m coaching and my students. I love their stories, too, but I don’t want to out anybody or have anybody ever feel like, “Was she talking about me?” I love to talk about myself on this for that reason. My husband and I, we battle. We are hot, fiery people, and we battle. He’ll say something like, “You’re manipulating me,” and I’ll say, “No, I’m not.” Instantly, my internal guidance system responds with either an opening or a closing. If it opens, then I know that it’s not true. Opening means what I’m saying is not true. If I open to, “No, I’m not,” that means I am not being manipulative. That’s how he’s receiving me. He has these things around being manipulated that don’t have anything to do with me. It’s his reaction. If I say, “No, I’m not,” and I close, I feel a tight sensation, that means what I’m thinking is not true, and I actually am being manipulative. This internal guidance system is counterintuitive. In that case, I go, “Ooh, honey, I just closed.” That means that I am. “Well, let me look at this for a second. Am I trying to manipulate you right now? Yeah, I guess I am. I guess I am trying to talk you into something.” I’m giving up a whole bunch of evidence as to why you should feel the way I do about this person, place, or thing. “You’re right. I’m trying to manipulate you by convincing.”
Convincing is another way of manipulating, selling someone on something who doesn’t want to be sold. That’s a way of being manipulative. That all is included in that manipulative realm. Throughout my lifetime, what I’ve learned in using my IGS is when somebody puts something on me—”You’re not working hard enough”—I check my IGS. Am I not working hard enough? Closed. No, that’s not true. I am working hard enough. Ooh, I opened. Then I have the capacity to step forward with that, and be able to be present with that person, and say, “No, actually, I do feel like I am working hard enough. I am working hard enough in this situation, and here are the reasons why.” I don’t collapse into my story. I don’t collapse into my child, the reaction I’m having from my child.
Another thing to know is maybe you are. Maybe somebody says to you that you’re being really defensive right now. “You’re being really defensive. You’re not listening to me.” You go, “No, I’m not,” and you close. You’re like, “Ooh, I am being defensive.” Your IGS, in response to your thoughts, immediately you’ll get a little opening.” I am being defensive. Oh, I’m feeling lighter inside. Oh, my gosh. That is the truth. Okay, you’re right. I’m being defensive.” You may immediately, upon being able to recognize that you’re being defensive, this story may come in like, “Yeah, you’re right. I feel like I should have done this earlier. I should have known better. I am being defensive about this. You’re right. Let me listen to what you’re saying.”
Now, I’m not saying that this is easy. When somebody critiques us, it’s our personal essence that gets hurt. In the moment, that little reaction of that child that you are and the way that they feel upon being criticized, it’s going to react. You may not. I’ve had lots of training. My students are able to do this, of course, because they practice. This takes practice. Don’t be upset if you don’t get it right off the bat like, “Oh, my gosh. I didn’t remember to stop and feel into my internal guidance system and see whether that critique that somebody gave me was true or not.” Here’s a little tip. If you are having conversations after the fact or before the fact with somebody, you have a feeling that they have a criticism of you, or maybe you’ve had a conversation and you feel like you were judged and they were critical of you, maybe, and you’re still having conversations in your head on the way home, in the evening, late at night, three o’clock in the morning when you wake up, this person, this criticism, is still hanging all over you, that’s a good time to check and see whether what you’re thinking about it is true.
What I’ve found is that when we’re triggered, when we’re denying something that’s true, we’re often closed. Our IGS is tapping on the window, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. “Wake up. Hello. There’s something you’re not seeing. That’s why we’re still keeping it in your framework. You’re still having your mind roll over and over it.” Or maybe there’s something that isn’t true and you need to be able to claim, “No, that’s not true about me. I’m not going to internalize that.” You’ll feel an opening either way. When you feel the opening, that is your truth. That is your inner truth. That’s what you can stand by, I promise you. You can go to that person and say, “I don’t think you’re right about me when you say that.” You’ll feel it in your body. “No, I’m not going to receive that from you. I appreciate that you feel that way about me, but that’s not what’s going on here.” I’ve found that it has been very powerful in my relationships and especially in my marriage to be able to say, “You know what, honey? You’re right…” I love that one. His jaw drops. It’s always great. He loves that about me…but also to say, “No, I disagree. That’s not what I’m doing.” Once you’re in that place where you’re able to hold your own, then you guys can communicate at a place and in a way where real, true solutions come forward and the reality of the situation is present. It’s not two little kids with their stories banging on each other. It’s two real adult people having an open, honest conversation. Opening begets opening. If you come in open, you will be open. You will be opening him, or her, or whoever your relationship is with.
I love it. I want to thank you so much for listening to these podcasts. Remember to go to zeninamoment.com and comment. You might be there now. Just comment below. I want to find out about you and how you take criticism. What is it like for you? Tell me. What does it feel like? Also, check us out. We’ve got a lot of great, juicy stuff. Sign up on my email list. You’ll get these podcasts in your inbox. Not only that, you’ll get to get more information about how to learn to use your internal guidance system, how to eradicate stress from your life altogether, meaning worry, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, all of these things that cause closing and suffering in our lives. I teach you how to eradicate them in my courses. I would love to have you come and spend more time with me doing that. In the meantime, I want to just let you know until we get to talk again, I’m sending you love and blessings.