Why you should (mostly) ignore your critics

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WHEN I said I was going to be a journalist one day,  I was told that I was foolish and that it was NEVER going to happen.

But yet it did.

When I signed up to a modelling agency at 18 but didn’t quite make the cut, I was told that particular ambition was probably over.

Only for me to become a cover girl in my thirties.

When I left my job to go freelance with no work or clients lined up, some people thought I’d lost the plot.

But yet here I still am. Nearly five years on.

There have been many occasions in my life when I have gone against the grain and achieved success even though some people have disagreed with my choices. Even when some doors I desperately wanted to open, have been firmly locked and bolted.

I’ve been stupid. I’ve been a failure.  A reckless dreamer. And a snob.

(All other people’s words, not mine.)

I’ve been criticised, laughed at, mocked and despised.

People have frowned. People have been angry. And one person even told me I would never account to much.

We all come across criticism in our lives.

People just love to have opinions about us don’t they? About what we should be doing and how much we can achieve. But who really makes up the rules here?

Them? Or you?

Who gets to decide what you lend your hand to?

Your critics? Or you?

Who do you listen to, in those dark moments, when you wake up in the middle of the night and are haunted by your dreams?

Them? Or you?

There’s a fine line between advice and criticism. Between opinion and knowledge and many people over step it, frequently too.

Granted some people may be unaware of their actions or make their opinions with your best interests at heart, but that still doesn’t mean you have to listen or accept what they say.

Even if it comes from people you respect.

Even it comes from your most nearest and dearest.

A few weeks ago I was chatting to my Mum about my Grandad who had suffered a severe stroke some years before he passed away and she mentioned how when the stroke had first happened, he was pretty positive about the whole thing.

How he would do his exercises every day and make a great effort to speak and communicate.

“If he wanted a cup of tea,” my Mum said, “I would always try to get him to ask for one and he would, he would always make an effort.”

And then came the bombshell. The part of the story which changed everything;

“Then one day he went to the hospital for a check up and the Doctor said to your Gran, right there in front of him, that the small progress he had made, was probably as far as he would go and that was that.  From that day on, he just stopped trying and gave up.”

He gave up.

My proud Grandad who had worked on planes in WW2, travelled to Africa, cycled across Somerset, fixed people’s cars for nothing (because he was too kind and generous to ask for money) and had the most wondrous and intelligent brain, had given up.

And all because he had heard those words. Uttered by his critic, an ‘expert’ in a white coat with a fancy degree.

I’m crying a little writing this now and I cried when my mum told me this too.

Because those words, changed my Grandad, killed his spirit and ruined his final years.

Because the doctor made the mistake of thinking he knew everything about him and what people are capable of achieving and yet he could never have known that. Not for definite. Not for sure.

And, because my Grandad took someone else’s words and opinion as the truth. As his truth and so stopped trying.

But what if he hadn’t listened? What if he hadn’t believed his critic? What then?

Who knows how different his final days might have been.

So you see, you’ve got to be careful when you come across a critic. You’ve got to choose what you listen to and give attention to, if indeed, anything at all.

Because people are not always right.

Because people do not necessarily know what is best for you.

Because the only person who can know what you are truly capable of, is YOU.

You must be choosy, listen with a pinch of salt and pick any comments  – that you wish to consider – wisely.

Or just do as I do and let their opinions fire your soul up into action, replying to any criticism, to any critic, with the simple words…

“We. Will. See.”

(Grandad, this one is for you. x)

———

 

With love,

Kate

Lips

 

 

BritMums

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely readers – if I’ve ever made you think, warmed your cockles or made you feel inspired or entertained, I would absolutely love it if you would be kind enough to nominate me for a Brilliance in Blogging Award.  Just click on the badge above or read this post for more info. Thank you! x

This post is linked to #SundayStars#AllAboutYou and #BrilliantBlogPosts

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35 Discussions on
“Why you should (mostly) ignore your critics”
  • Thanks for this Kate, it seems the more ambition you have in life the more you’re subject to others’ criticism and it makes me really cross! I see people telling young people to be ‘realistic’ and stop dreaming about that thing they want to do, only to watch those same young people grow to say the same things. Chasing reams isn’t easy, it comes at a cost, and those that do not want to pay out for the lives they really want try to stop everyone else doing so too – out of utter bitterness. Crack on Kate, you’re doing a grand job :) x

  • Oh my goodness Kate you are such a brilliant, wonderful, inspiring heartfelt writer this piece is beautifully moving and emotive and encouraging and sad and all those other feelings you get when you read something so powerful.

    Your poor, dear grandfather Kate. Well if I know one thing as true as salt, that is he’s looking down on you and he’s saying

    You did it, Katie

    You nailed it, thank you for these wonderful and wise words and for making me want to be a better writer every time I read something new from you. Xxx

  • Oh my gosh Kate, I am crying reading this. I’m sure your grandad would be so proud of your fire and spirit and I will be raising a cheeky glass to him tonight. My uncle had several strokes all back to back about 12 years ago now. He was left a shell of the person he was, yet he has come further than anyone expected as he has just refused to stop believing despite being told not to expect much by the ‘experts’.
    Your words as always are spot on and I needed this post after some rubbish weeks of work and life in general. You once again have given me the gusto to prove I can do what the hell I want to do no matter what anyone else thinks or which obstacles they throw at me. Thank you! Xxx

  • This post is so sad but so powerful huni. You proved them wrong and your grandfather would be so proud of all you have achieved and the amazing person you are. Big hugs lovely lady xx

  • Really really powerful. Sad, but powerful. So sorry for your Grandad. Can’t believe the comments you have gotten as well, sounds shocking, glad you haven’t taken heed and have kept your cool, and made it work.

  • YES. When you’re doing something a bit scary or out of your comfort zone and people chip in with their thoughts, it’s really hard not to lost focus and wonder if their comments are right. I’m learning that pinch of salt is the way forward, and definitely ‘we’ll see. Lovely post, and sounds like you have amazing drive.

  • Oh, Katie, the story about your Grandad is so sad. It’s a reason I’m so passionate about improving healthcare communication – doctors and nurses very often don’t understand or appreciate the impact their words can have.

    I think it takes a lot of internal strength and determination to ignore the naysayers – and they often appear when you’re doing something exciting, daring or positive – jealousy that they are not so brave, methinks! xxx

  • Wow, what a post and what a horrible doctor! (Makes me sad, as I’ve worked with so many gorgeous, amazing, brilliant doctors…) People are so quick to tell you how your life isn’t going to work, to focus on the negatives and attempt to bring you back down to reality. Geez, thanks for your input but I’ve got this! A wonderful post, Katie. Always better to say ‘oh well’ than ‘what if’. After all, you only live once xx

  • Oh, how terrible for your Grandad. It shows how powerful and painful words can be, but your own experience is such a positive one. It’s not for other people to say whether we will succeed or fail. It’s ultimately down to us. If I can teach my kids one thing, it’s to never give up easily. It’s amazing where persistence and a little belief in yourself can take you.

  • Oh Katie, that story about your Grandad is heart-breaking. What a terrible thing for that doctor to have said in front of him. Another lovely inspiring post. Have a lovely Easter! x

  • What a wonderful and important post. It’s so sad that those words made your grandad give up. I’m all for criticism – sometimes it’s important but only when said person is correct in their assumptions. You have done amazing in everything, you should be so proud of yourself just as your grandad is – if only he could have proved them all wrong like you have. Hugs xx #sundaystars

  • Oh this is so beautifully and superbly written. Of course yo’d have shed a tear as you wrote – it’s just so moving yet stirring at the same time. I particularly love how the lifelong strength of your Grandad lives on within you – though with the added hindsight to, as you say, ‘take critics comments with pinch of salt’. He would be so super duper proud of you!
    I’m afraid I have listened too much to my critics over time – and its softened me too much – I must take a leaf out your fabulous book and learn the same message. And, as I’ve always said, ‘i’d much rather regret what I’ve tried than what I’ve not tried’.
    Is there any chance you can make yourself all small and sit on my shoulder as my constant words of wisdom?????
    Thanks so much for linking up again and a massive Happy Easter to you. Steph xxx

  • What a beautiful post, and your poor Granddad that breaks my heart that someone who should have helped him hindered him. Do you know one of my best friends recently told me that i was much better to stick to teaching (I am a teacher) as there wouldn’t be a future in blogging. At the moment it is a hobby I love, I can’t believe she automatically assumed that if I do one day try it as a career I may not succeed so I totally get this post, thanks for linking up to #SundayStars

  • Such a powerful and beautifully written post. I’m glad you have managed to prove them all wrong and keep going, its not easy sometimes.
    x

  • Hi Kate!
    I’m really enjoying getting to know you through your posts. I’m finding them so positive and uplifting and they suit the way I’m feeling right now. I’ve only been blogging since January and I have to say that it’s giving me so much confidence. It’s confidence that I thought had been bashed out of me over the last ten years. I thought I’d let all my bad luck and circumstances beat me but I guess I didn’t and I never should have. I always felt criticised as a single parent, like everyone was always looking at me thinking I was doing ‘something’ wrong all the time and it wore me down. My step mum made a comment one day that made me cry at the time. She said “Tor, your life is a mess”. I was heart broken as I thought I was doing so well. For a long time I let those words fester in my mind, I thought “is that what people really think?” I take criticism so badly as I have spent my whole life trying to please other people and I’m not sure why. Since I started blogging I am just loving writing, drawing and putting my talents to good use and everyone is so friendly, encouraging and inspiring that you can’t help but feel more confident. Your grandparents sound wonderful and it’s a shame your Grandad listened to the ‘expert’ who obviously knew nothing about inspiration and encouragement and what those things can really achieve. Look forward to reading more from you! Tor xxx PS Glad you got to do a photo shoot in the end, bet that was awesome.

  • Ah Kate, it’s like you knew I needed to read this today. You are so right and I normally brave most elements life throws at me. I had some negative comments lately on a blog post I wrote for the Baby Centre (not my choice blog post content) but non the less I tried to put my spin on it. At the time I was unwell and going through some tough times with my now ex partner. I kind of wish I didn’t write it and it’s made me feel like I lost my voice. I’m having some time away from writing to remind myself why I wanted to write in the first place – inspire others. This has just confirmed that. I was that kid that wanted to change the world, be part of a movement and make things happen. You reminded me of that today. Thank you for your amazing words, you have no idea how poignant they are. You have and always will be one of my favourite bloggers. Thank you. Kat xx

  • Sadly that story about your Grandad is one that I have heard about many other people as well. People who stopped trying or stopped believing in themselves because of something that somebody else had said.

    I am the first person to give up when I’m told I can’t do something but then I am also my own biggest critic so it is usually me who is telling me that in the first place.

    You have come so far and done so well, you really are an inspiration.

  • Oh Katie what a moving post. So sad to think that Dr had such a profound effect and proves that we should all be so careful what we say as words are powerful. You’re right that we should be careful what we listen to as well but its the negative comments that usually wheedle their way into our minds isn’t it? Great post xx

  • Oh my word, what a story. I totally agree with you, only you can know what you’re capable of. Love your last line. Brilliant and inspiring. #AllAboutYou xx

  • Oh love :( such an important post and your Grandad would be proud of you xxx There’s a lot to take from this, not just how you respond to critics but also the power of your own words on other people. Takes me back to your kind post and really being kind to people.

    Much love xxx

  • I love this post. I’m very much like you, I go against the grain and achieve what I set out to do even if others think it’s impossible. It’s a trait to be proud of that some of us continue pursuing dreams no matter how hard. Wish your grandfather had kept his spirit going and ignored the doctors. Xx

  • A beautiful post that just goes to show what a tiny bit of self belief can do and what a tiny bit of negativity from the wrong person can do. Your grandad sounds like he was amazing and I think his granddaughter might take after him. Take care lovely xx

  • Brilliant post and very moving. What happened to your grandad makes me so angry. If there are two moments of our lives when we all need most encouragement it’s when we are old and may feel like there is nothing left to live for. And the other time I think is when we are starting out, when we are babies and children. At both those times our resilience to criticism or discouragement is at a low threshold and knock backs can have an amplified impact. I recall being told by a teacher I was no good at something and humiliated in front of the whole class when I was about 6. In hindsight I know it knocked my confidence for years and years. And I’ve seen the way the system treats older people – who are after all simply people who have lived a long life – why does our society label them and right them off?

    Your post has also made me think about the love and belief I want to give my boy as he grows and be there to help him realise his dreams. And as someone who is still getting to grips with blogging and wonders if it could become the start of a different career one day you have given me a lift when I was feeling a bit flat about why I was doing it. So thank you.

  • This really is a powerful post and I couldn’t agree more. Look at all you’ve achieved! It’s inspired me to keep going on my journalism dream. I’ve kind of got stuck in a blogging rut and feel that I can probably go no further. Determination and a belief in yourself is absolutely key, I know it. Thanks for inspiring us all!

  • You are a wise woman Kate. This is written brilliantly and is something I plan to come back to when I need to keep the fire in my belly burning.

  • This was an inspiring read. We set our own limitations in our minds by what we believe. you are so right.

    I heard something that I found helpful the other day, on this topic. I can’t quote exactly but it was something along the lines of

    1/3 of people will like you and what you do, 1/3 of people don’t care and 1/3 won’t like you or what you do

    That rang a bell with me. It helped me disconnect from the need to have people approve of me and my choices because many just wont or don’t care but there will always be some people that do. Thank you. Kirsten theguiltfreeguide.couk

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