A few weeks ago, I experienced bullying on a facebook group online. I was shamed, called names and criticised. It hurt deeply, and it seemed so unjust.
Have you ever put yourself out there, and got knocked down? This is how I felt and I got quite confused. It takes courage to share your story and ideas with the world. To be creative is to be vulnerable.
I share my wellbeing workshops with corporates and enterprises and also as a MS Ambassador for 10 years now I do volunteer work, helping to raise funds for MS. I shared a free event with my MS community as it was my goal to help the people that needed it the most on World MS Day. Not all, but most of the online comments in a facebook group were so gruelling I just could not believe it.
I had people tell me, “who do you think you are, I don’t believe you, she is full of crap.” “Shame on you for preying on sick people.” “My bio was copied and pasted and comments below it mocking me. Perception is everything and somehow my story of recovery had been interpreted as a claim that I have cured my MS” and I love this one - “Scam artist”…
This week’s blog is about how to deal with moments when you are criticised and challenged. When you wear your heart on your sleeve and believe that you are doing good work and have the courage to be out there to challenge people’s thinking with the hope that you can shine just a bit more light on the darkness that we have all experienced.
I have learned that when you have decided to be a leader, a speaker and are out there to change people’s minds about redundant ideas, you are going to piss people off. It is part of the deal. It has been something I have been scared of my whole career, dealing with criticism, the haters and the most toxic - online trolls.
When I read the comments that were a personal attack on my ethics, my morals and my business I was beyond mortified. But I breathed in and remembered that they were not true and were simply a projection from people that were in some pretty significant dark and emotional pain.
For just a moment, I’ll admit I ever so briefly questioned if I should be promoting health, if I should talk about my story and how far I have come, I also thought who am I to be inspiring?
But then… I was on watching TV and jumped on Netflix, I found Brenae Brown’s latest serious “The Call To Courage”. She gives an amazing show on courage, vulnerability and how she dealt with it when she blew up on youtube with her Ted X talk The power of vulnerability and most importantly how she was shamed online.
She quotes Theodore Roosevelt who’s quote she came to her after she was googling the actors in a Netflix binge.
“It not the critic that counts. It’s not the man that points out the strong man’s stumbles or where the do or deeds could have done it better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who's face is marred with blood, sweat and dust. Who at the best, in the end knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst if he fails, he fails daring greatly. “
Wow - this was everything ! It was all I needed to hear to replenish and restore my courage and vulnerability again. Thank you Brenae Brown for sharing your story and how you coped with your bullying experience you had online that was more hurtful than I could ever have imagined. As you saved me in that moment.
Brenae also says “If you choose to live your life in the arena, you will get your assed kicked”.
And she goes on to reclaim her power with this game changing epiphany that I get goosebumps readying every single time. “If you're not in the arena, also getting your assed kicked. I am not interested in your feedback.” Brenae Brown
I do not and will never allow the critics to stop me and my mission. If i get a push back from promoting a happier and healthier life whilst sharing my story to bravely and daringly, I will quietly smile and close my eyes when future critics emerge. And it will happen as I grow. As I will then know that I am challenging people’s thinking and doing my job. My job is therefore not to be liked by everyone.
I learned that it is not useful to try and get everyone to align with your message and to like you. You only need a small tribe to get it and the right people, at the right time will find you. Brenae also taught me, to only share your vulnerability to those who have earned it. Do less, and accomplish more as creating space requires discipline.
How you react is a reflection of what you are believing and perceiving. Toxic thoughts and unprocessed emotions can make us sick and the energy needs to so somewhere , often stored in our bodies or expressed in outburst of anger and blame. Knowing this, can we be kinder to ourselves and have the ability to see with compassionate eyes, when we witness this pain in others. As love transforms everything.
Let’s practice to bend like bamboo, to bend in change with flexibility, to go with the flow with resilience. As when you stand firm in your courage and allow yourself to be vulnerable, you are expanding and evolving to be the best you. When you shine your light you secretly give others the permission to shine their light too x