Sunday, 13 May 2012

Love Sets You Free

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Cupcakes decorated with heartsEveryone's a critic, more so today than ever before. There are websites devoted to criticising everyone for everything. You can even find people who have written bad words about Mother Theresa. So what will they say about you? You must have accurate thinking when it comes to criticism. If you do, then you can have your cupcake and eat it!

Today, I want to touch upon the truth about hateful hypocrites and provide a way to dealing with the inevitable - plus the need to free ourselves from being judgemental and how we get stronger through action.

I was inspired to write this post after tuning in to an American talk radio station I listen to regularly on digital radio from the internet.

Last Monday morning, as I finished my breakfast, I overheard an interesting conversation on the radio between the co-hosts:

Female Co-Host: Oprah's in Toronto this week filming her show, but I guess you're not a big fan?

Male Co-Host: Ugh, Oprah. Can't stand her. Actually, I guess she's not so bad now.

Female: Why don't you mind her now?

Male: Well, I heard she's struggling...

Can you believe that?

The radio announcer's reason for not hating Oprah any more is because she's struggling.

Everyone's a critic and there's no shortage of people willing to take pleasure in your struggles (the Germans have a word for this called, "Schadenfraude").

Dealing with criticism

The hateful attitude towards successful people is more popular than ever today, and I've provided various tips on the blog on how we should deal with criticism.

And if Oprah gets her share of hate, you will too. Perhaps it's true that you can't be great without the hate. I'm reminded of the Jessie J song that sings out to her haters thanking them for the pain, as it made her raise her game.

In fact, it's likely that the more you accomplish in your business and community, the more you will attract naysayers, critics, and jealous people who will attack your efforts. You need to be mentally prepared for this. You can't let the inevitable criticism affect you or slow you down.

Besides, here's the truth of the matter that few people are willing to admit. Remember that male radio co-host who hates Oprah? Put him in a room with Oprah and what would he do?

He'd love her. He'd fawn over her. If he wasn't too nervous, he'd surely ask for a photo and an autograph, and then he would tell that story to anyone who would listen for the next three years.

Haters are hypocrites.

And that's the type of action that your haters would take too. Or at the very least, they certainly wouldn't have the guts to call you names in person. They are only willing to dish criticism and hate in the anonymous fantasy-land of the internet. In the real world, they'd like you just like everyone else. Never forget that.

How do I know? From experience, and this experience has led me to a few conclusions.

  1. First, as I mentioned, that the only negative critics (that I call the haters) you'll have will remain anonymous and protected by the internet. It's rare that anyone will challenge you in person.
  2. Second, there's no point in arguing with these anonymous online critics. If you're ever tempted, just remember this quote from The Black Swan author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, "Your reputation is harmed the most by what you say to defend it."

    No good can come of the confrontation. You're better off directing your energy and effort towards doing something good for people, particularly for your clients if this is a business matter. After all in business, the only vote that counts is the one from people who vote with their wallets. In love, it's the ones that vote with their hearts.

  3. Third, you should get over your fear of criticism before you start getting it. And I have an odd suggestion on how you might do this.

    In the last couple of years I've come to a strange conclusion. I believe that everyone would be better off if they stood up in front of a crowd and admitted their biggest mistakes, flaws, and embarrassments.

    Then, with that out of the way, they could get on with being completely comfortable with themselves and confident around others. No more hiding, worry, or stressing about what other people thought.

    After all, things couldn't get any worse (read: more embarrassing) than standing up and revealing your weaknesses, and so they'd quickly realize that the "worst" never turns out as bad as they fear.

It doesn't matter how many mistakes someone makes and how much criticism one receives, all that matters is that they are out there taking action and adding value.

Free yourself from the haters

Whenever we read about authors that open heartedly lay out all of their dirty laundry in a book, from divorces to battles with alcohol, to bankruptcies, or hardships of their early years, we feel closer to them.

Especially so when we hear how they made a success of their lives, despite the hardships - or in actual fact - thanks to the hardships. Because as I wrote in my "Always Let Love Protect You" post, life's challenges are an opportunity for you to come back stronger than before.

When Winston Churchill was demoted within the cabinet after an embarrassing defeat in Gallipoli in World War I, he answered his critics by resigning and had himself commissioned as an officer and sent to the trenches. There he fought with distinction for several months, making numerous sorties into No Man's Land. And as Prime Minister in World War II, he understood better than most the plight of the soldier.

Or like singer Ren Harvieu, who broke her back just as she was putting the finishing touches to her d├ębut album. It seemed her musical career was over before it had begin, but her determination got her back to the stage stronger than before.

People like that don't care what other people think about them. And even if they do care, they don't let the opinions of others stop them from taking action, moving ahead, adding value, and connecting with the people that mattered.

Whenever a hater crosses my path, I follow the lead of people like Churchill and Harvieu. I ignore the negative critics and connect with those who matter. But I share my failures, too, because the lessons we learn from our flaws are possibly more important than the rewards from our successes.

When we put it all out there by writing about our weaknesses, our worries for the future, our anxiety issues, what we're doing is showing others that we're human, still learning, and not anywhere near perfect. You'll discover that when you do this it will only served to improve your relationship with your readers.

This raw, emotional, and powerful way of communicating, I like to think, has shown my readers that I care, and that I'm right there in the battle with them. That we're all here trying to get better - by taking action, adding value, and never giving up, no matter how ugly it gets.

We all have our crosses to bear. We all have our battles to fight. We all have our critics to combat. And throughout all of this, we all have an opportunity to inspire our readers by showing them how we are fighting through our own struggles.

Because that's what it's all about. It's not about the critics. It's about those who count. It's about showing other people that they can succeed, no matter how rough things are.

Free yourself from a narrow mentality

Even though we've witnessed a great amount of social change, unfortunately we still live in a very judgemental society.

For decades many people have turned away from the establishment of orthodox religion to more a dogma-free universal spiritualism, but this vision of the spiritual can still be moralistic. In fact, the real nature of religion and the spirit means that people should be non-judgemental. After all, doesn't it say in the Bible: Judge not less ye be judged?

But it's more than that. We in the West are proud that we live in a free society. And our ancestors in world wars paid dearly for that freedom. They have paid a terrible price to keep us safe and free. Some with their lives, some with lifelong injuries.

For these selfless people, it is after the guns have fallen silent, the din of battle quietened, that the real fight begins - a fight that may last for the rest of their lives.

And while the very least their nations owe them is to make sure that they and their brave families have everything they need through their darkest days - and, in time, regain the hope and confidence to flourish again - as people of the West we owe them the respect to appreciate the freedom we now have.

The best way to respect freedom, is to allow others that same freedom, and allow them the freedom to make their own choices. The worst thing you can do to someone is to take away their choices. However, there are reminders all around us - if we know where to look - that despite our problems, we humans are capable of great goodness.

I believe that instinctively, we want to be kind to each other. When you first meet a stranger, especially out on the road - unless you're a mugger - you want to be nice to that stranger. And there are stories of kindness everywhere.

Who could possibly not help but be moved by the story of Rhys Watkins? At just 11 years old he was forced to battle cancer twice in little over a year. And when I think of his family and parents and all the good people that have battled beside him just so that he could be home for Christmas, I know that the world has good in it.

It is a fact of life that there will always be good and bad. As the world turns steadily on its axis and the universe expands and contracts in equal measure, this equilibrium of life holds true. But as we stand on the scales of life, we just don't know if they will tip in our favour with the choices we make. In life there are choices, but no guarantees. Life holds a lot of uncertainty - for all of us.

Consider this: Do you ever feel an overwhelming uncertainty about your future? Do you wish you could know for sure that you were taking the right steps to achieve your goals?

If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then as a regular reader you'll have discovered how you can re-train your brain using a simple technique. With my 90 mind healing programme you learn how to completely re-program your subconscious mind with the thoughts and habits that ensure long-term success in the areas that are important to you.

Click here to rewire your mindset for success!

You can forget what happened to you in the past and start LIVING today with my 90 mind healing programme. Being fit in mind will help you be fit in body, to be a better contributor to society and challenge you to greater things. Finding your purpose and learning to really care for others will make you stronger than you could ever get in any gym.

And don't be afraid of sharing your struggles. People will be impressed by your candour and will offer their support. You will be rewarded with a stronger connection with those that matter. When you do good work, with passion, honesty, and integrity, people will see this and will want to support you. They will rally behind you. So get your message out there. Lay it on the line. Never give up. Stay strong. Get stronger.

Getting stronger through action

And sometimes it takes an "event" to finally set the wheels in motion on a dream we've had. It could be the loss of a job, a financial setback, or a health scare. But as I explain in my "Always Let Love Protect You" post, when used properly, the stress of that event can motivate us to massive action. We can turn negatives into positives.

If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. And you'll discover that what doesn't kill you, will make you stronger.

As one reader discovered when she contacted me wishing to share her "event" on the blog. Elaine from San Francisco writes:

Quote"At this point, we can't rule out malignancy," the doctor said.

I just looked at my husband. I knew he was asking the doctor questions, but I didn't hear any words. I saw his lips moving and felt his strong hand on top of mine. But all I could think was I needed to wake up. ("This is not happening. I know I am just having a bad dream.")

It wasn't until I was in the front seat of our car that I realized it wasn't a dream. "Are we going home?" I asked. "No," my husband said. "We are going to get your ultrasound and more x -rays." "Oh," I replied.

It didn't really matter where we were going, because all I could think of at that moment were the three beautiful children my husband and I have been blessed with.

First, my thoughts went to Sara who was ten-years-old at the time. Without me, who would she talk to about boys? Who would show her how to put on make-up and help her pick out a college? But the most painful thought was... who would comfort her in her loss?

For the past three years, Sara has accompanied me on the Race for the Cure breast cancer walk.

She is well aware of the horrors of treatment.

She's often commented about people walking in honor of a loved one. For her, I knew there would be no sugarcoating the truth.

Then my thoughts shifted to Chuck, my eight-year-old son (at the time) – an amazing baseball player who plays it cool with his dad and friends.

He is an undeniably sweet boy who always writes a special card for me on Mother's Day. What would he do next May? Would he pretend to write a card, not telling his teacher that he has no one to give it to?

Suddenly, I felt like throwing up. I asked my husband to pull over.

Once back in the car, all I could think about was Suzy, who was our four-year-old princess at the time. She is so used to having both my husband and me tuck her in at night. She wakes up each morning with a smile on her face and kisses to spare. Have I made enough of an impact on her life that in 10, 12, 15 years from now she will remember me?

Over the following three weeks, I was poked, prodded, and sliced.

On the 22nd day, I found out that I did not have breast cancer.

You would think that I would be so happy that I could not wait to get back to my normal routine. But no. Something happened. Going through that breast cancer scare changed my life in many ways.

I recently found your blog and wished it had been around at that point in my life. Especially your 90 mind healing programme, which I have now incorporated into my daily routine, and I have to tell you I'm getting fantastic results.

It is like the big scare I had, it can strangely set you free - resets your perspective and focus on to the things that really matter in your life.

I'm not sure what kept holding me back before the cancer scare, but now I've decided to go after my passions, one of which is my wonderful family life. Now I'm able to enjoy quality time with my husband and three kids – from attending their baseball games, school plays, and tennis matches to taking long walks on the beach.

My advice is don't tuck your passions away in the back of your brain. Not forgotten, but put on hold for "someday" - make that someday today. Make today the day to go after your dreams, because tomorrow it may just be too late."

And I think that's great advice to end the post with today, because getting a little perspective can go a long way to help us realise the things that really count.

Yours in love,

Mickie Kent

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