This is an issue that has always been part of human culture, but with the ability of so many people to comment anonymously online, our need to deal with criticism and the haters has been greatly magnified.
There’s a thing in the UK called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome,’ which is based on the need to cut off the top of a poppy if it grows above the rest — to create uniformity. But it also applies to people — if someone gets too big and rises above the rest, there is an impulse to cut them down. When people start to outgrow the tribe, then members of the tribe seek to pull them back down so that they can feel safe and secure.
The key thing to remember from the standpoint of Emergence is that everything, without exception, is there to serve you. You are creating your own Universe, and so everything, if you’re willing to practice this way and to live in this framework, is there to serve your awakening, empowerment, and evolution — to make you an ever stronger instrument of what you’re here to do, be and share.
You’ve got to start there. Everything is here to serve me. So the question doesn’t become, “Why is this happening to me?” , but, “How is this serving me?” “How is this making me stronger?”, “How is this activating something in me, and what is the greater potential it’s activating in me?”
Whenever somebody is criticizing you, especially when it’s truly unfair, unjust or unfounded, there is a very powerful opportunity for you to become more anchored in your truth. It’s the opportunity to build that inner soul stamina, that inner muscle of knowing who you are, and of valuing yourself — which ultimately will inoculate you from the limited thought viruses of the world.
If you understand the shadow work, anything that pushes or pulls you is a projection of your unintegrated potential or power. That works both ways — anything that is pushing your buttons, which are the haters or the criticisms, is really an unconscious judgment you have about a part of yourself.
When you are criticized and it’s making you feel like you need to fight for your right or defend your perspective, and convince them that it’s not true, it’s because there’s a part of you that actually believes it. (It’s also possible that there’s a part of you that actually does have that element to some degree.) To become truly free and empowered requires you to look at this part, understand, embrace, and integrate it.
For example, somebody calls you selfish, and you might respond, “I’m not selfish! I’m one of the most giving people I know. I’m always helping you. I’m always doing this for you.” You find yourself going through a list of all the ways you’re such a giving selfless person. This is just defense, resistance, and actually anchors the shame and judgment even deeper.
Instead, you want to stop and contemplate if there is any truth to it – “Let me see where in my life am I selfish.”This immediately starts to diffuse the criticism, especially if you do it in front of a someone whose criticized you, instead of defending yourself. You actually start to look for where you’re selfish, and you’ll find something. If you don’t find the way you are overtly selfish to others, then you want to look internally and see where you’re selfish with yourself. You’re not doing this to beat yourself up, but because it’s showing up in your life as feedback. Don’t just dismiss it.
The next thing you look at is the particular judgment, the shadow, and see where you might have some baggage around it. For example, let’s say you’re becoming successful, getting in shape, or growing in some positive way, and some people tell you, “Oh, you’re so greedy. You’re so self-important.” If you’re a spiritual teacher or artist, you might hear things like, “How could you try to make money off spirituality or art? That’s so unspiritual…art, music, information — these should all openly available to everyone. You should be charging much less or giving it away for free!”
To key is to see where you harbor judgments, fears, beliefs of limitations around this area. It’s showing up as criticism so you can clear it and embody the truth of it — that means, first, seeing where you might be out of integrity, and second, seeing where you have unconscious limiting beliefs, shadows or values conflicts that are sabotaging your ability to really grow or succeed in this area. It’s like the beginning of a weed that’s going to eventually grow up and choke the plant. This might be a blessing in disguise.
By being willing to examine your judgments and shadows you begin to clean up your side of the street and become even more in integrity, more in alignment with who or what you really are. As you ask yourself, “How is this here to truly serve my greater purpose and potential?”, you will begin to tap into a vision for your life where you start to see that this is showing up to make you stronger and more resilient. You begin to access and activate latent powers, gifts, talents and abilities.
That’s the gift of criticism. And what an awesome gift it is!
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To Your Emergence!
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of the Emergence, A Revolutionary Path for Radical Life Change, with Derek Rydall Podcast]
Welcome to another episode of Ask Derek on this journey of Emergence, where we deal with the question today How do you deal with the haters? Otherwise known as the gift of criticism. This is something that is always been a part of culture, people that criticize people, that hate on people, that try to cut people down. In the UK, there’s a saying for the tall poppy syndrome. If a poppy gets too big above the rest, it gets lopped off at the head. When people get too big amongst the tribe, then the rest of the individuals on some levels seek to pull them back down to match everybody else. They’re such a general kind of thing that one ego likes to bring another ego down and ultimately be at the very least equal and ideally less than, or if you’ve been wounded then actually you bring yourself down, but that’s a whole other topic. Nowadays, with internet and with so much public expression of ourselves and so much public exposure and so many people online that can comment anonymously, this problem of dealing with criticism and the haters, also called the trolls, is just much, much bigger, and I would submit that it’s not that the problem itself or the issue itself has changed, it’s just that it becomes magnified, but it’s always been in the human psyche.
The key thing to remember from the standpoint of Emergence and this work is that everything, without exception, is there to serve you. You are creating your own Universe, and so everything, without exception, if you’re willing to practice this way and to live in this framework, is there to serve your awakening, your empowering, your evolution to make you an ever stronger, pure instrument of what you’re really here to do and to be and the gifts you’re here to give. You’ve got to start there. You’ve got to always come back to there. Everything is here to serve me. So the question doesn’t become, why is this happening to me, but how is this serving me? How is this making me stronger? How is this activating something in me, and what is the greater potential it’s activating in me? Whenever somebody is hating on you, is criticizing you, especially when it’s truly unfair or unjust or unfounded, then there is a very powerful opportunity for you to become really anchored in the truth of who and what you really are and build that inner soul stamina, that inner muscle of knowing who you are, of valuing yourself, of not being inoculated or immune to the feedback and the criticisms of the world.
There’s another side topic to this, which I won’t go into today, but it’s important to know that ultimately you want to become free of all opinions, good ones and the bad ones. So even those that are praising you, you ultimately want to become free of those too. For one thing, much praise is really a projection. If you understand the shadow work, anything that pushes or pulls you is a projection of your unintegrated potential or power. That works both ways, so anything that is pushing your buttons, which are the haters or the criticisms, is really an unconscious judgment you have about a part of yourself. We’ll talk about that in a moment. Anything that pulls you, those people you greatly admire, those people you find yourself praising, is really also a projection of an unintegrated, unidentified part of your own power. When other people are praising you, often, they’re projecting their disowned power. That’s why, especially if you’re in some role of leadership, authority, expert, teacher, etc. and that begins to happen, or healer, or therapist, at some point, projection happens, or otherwise, it’s been called transference. They start to either reject you or praise you, criticize you or praise. Both are equally false. Both are equally their projection. When it’s criticism, your job is to not defend and fight and prove your point, but to look within yourself and find that part of yourself where you hold that criticism, where you have that shadow. When it’s praise, your job is to notice your own proclivity, the one that grabbed on to that.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t receive the love and the compliments. Let it in. Let all the love in, but if you’re in authority position, you want to give it back to them. You don’t want people to become followers. You want to empower them to become their own leaders. When they start projecting their power on you, you want to not so much reject their compliment, accept it, but also remind them that whatever good they see in you, especially where they feel incredibly praiseworthy, is really a reflection of good that’s within them, that they perhaps have not fully owned, and that this is an opportunity to own it. So, the entire star system, celebrity, athletes, all of that, is made of that. It’s made up of a projection of our disowned power. Praise and criticism are equally projections, and ultimately we want to become free of both of them.
We’re talking about the haters today. We’re talking about the gift of criticism, and so we come back to the shadow again and understand that if anybody is criticizing you or hating on you, and it’s making you feel like you need to fight for your right, you need to defend your prospective, you need to set them straight, you need to convince them that it’s not true or convince other people that it’s not true, it’s because there’s a part of you that actually believes it. It’s also possible that there’s a part of you that actually does have that element to some degree. For example, somebody calls you selfish, and you might go, I’m not selfish. I’m one of the most giving people I know. I’m always helping you. I’m always doing this for you. You find yourself going through a list of all the ways you’re such a giving selfless person. The first thing you want to do is stop and go, Let me take that feedback in and let me see is there any truth to it. Criticism is never True. It’s not ultimate truth, but you want to look and see Is there any truth to it? Let me see where in my life am I selfish.
First of all, this immediately starts to diffuse the criticism, especially if you do it in person in front of them, instead of defending yourself. You actually start to look for where you’re selfish, and you’ll find something. If you don’t find the way you are overtly selfish to others, then you want to look internally and see where am I selfish with myself? When somebody says you’re greedy, and you’re like one of the most generous people you know, where am I greedy? You look, and you’ll find something. That’s the first step. Find out where there’s some truth to it, not to beat yourself up, but because it’s showing up in your life as feedback. Don’t just dismiss it. Of course, sometimes, feedback is not simply you’re being selfish. It’s things like, you’re a complete waste of humanity. You’re a waste of human space, and in that case, it’s going to be hard to go, Where am I a waste of human space? Now, you might find something as the old axiom goes, If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. You might actually go, Well, I do waste time just surfing the internet. I gossip with my friends sometimes, just meaningless gossip that adds no value to anybody’s life. You know what, that is a waste of human space. That is a waste of time. In that moment, I am wasting my life and their life. That might be valuable to discover that, to clean that up.
The next thing you look at is, Okay, let me look at that particular judgment, that shadow, and see where I might have some baggage around that. For example, let’s say you are becoming successful or you’re endeavoring to be successful and make more money in your life, and some people come out and tell you, Oh, you’re so greedy. You’re so self-important. If you’re a consciousness or spiritual teacher or thought leader, you’ll get the kind of criticisms of how could you try to make money off spirituality. That’s so unspiritual. That’s so unconscious. That’s so mean or insensitive. You should be charging much, much less or giving it away for free, etc. If you are really a spiritual teacher, you wouldn’t charge anything. That’s a very big thing of baggage in this arena. You can go and look at that and see where do you hold some personal judgments about people that make a lot of money, or people that make money with spirituality, or people that are really successful. You can begin to see how you also harbor some udgments around that, some fears around that, some beliefs of limitation around that. They’re showing up so that you can clean it out, so that you can first of all see where you might be out of integrity, and second of all see where you have unconscious limiting beliefs or shadows or values conflicts that are sabotaging your ability to really grow or to really succeed or they will. It’s like the beginning of a weed that’s going to eventually grow up and choke the plant. This might be a blessing in disguise. This is a gift of criticism.
You can begin to clean up your side of the street and become even more in integrity, more in alignment with who or what you really are, and you can begin to access and activate latent powers, gifts, talents and abilities. I won’t go into the whole shadow process here, but you can certainly check out when I talk about shadow work or values conflict in other podcasts. You can go to DerekRydall.com/ShadowProcess and download a free audio process around the shadow. You can also grab the Shadow Dancing program if you really want to master shadow work. So, you first want to acknowledge where there might be some truth, so you can come back into greater integrity. You want to then acknowledge where you might have judgments and baggage around this particular part of you, so that you can begin to clean it up and activate that disowned power and capacity through the shadow work. Finally, as you ask how is this here to truly serve my greater purpose, my greater potential, you will begin to tap into a vision for your life where you start to see that this is showing up to make you stronger, more resilient, so that you can give your gifts and speak your truth, and share your work and your message, whether it’s in your family or in relationships or in the world, in bigger and bigger platforms and bigger and bigger ways where there will be even more potential for attack and criticism.
Let’s just say right now you’re just starting out, and perhaps your circle of influence is relatively small, and so there’s not a lot of people that are exposed you or your message or your work or your opinions, and it’s not challenging you that much. If you are to suddenly get a large global platform or suddenly be in front of a large audience or suddenly be exposed in some much grander way, a hundred times where you are right now, the amount of feedback, criticism, opinions would most likely just crush you, because you don’t have the inner fortitude or stamina or resilience or consciousness that’s been developed to handle that. When I was just walking around in high school, if anybody had an opinion about me, it took me out for a period of time. Now, I’m exposed to tens of thousands of people or more a year, and there’s plenty of opinion. It’s not that it doesn’t sometimes still bother me a little bit, but it’s mostly because I’m sad by the lack of compassion and the ignorance of other people when they are just haters. I don’t mind constructive criticism, and you shouldn’t either, when it’s just trolling, when it’s just hating, when it’s just venting and it has no value. My level of resilience and my ability to handle it is much, much stronger. Sometimes people are like, How do you deal with that? How do you handle that? hence this question – how do you deal with the haters? It’s because I’ve been practicing. I’ve been exercising my capacity to love myself, value myself, forgive myself and be humble enough to look at these places in me that aren’t in integrity and that do have judgments and baggage and shadows.
Have I completely cleaned myself out of all of this? Absolutely not. In fact, one of the things that inspired me to do this podcast and answer this question now is because in recent months, the last year or so, I’ve been growing through a period where in the realm of family and friends and social circles, I became a target for certain stories and beliefs and opinions and perceptions that in my opinion are not true, and in fact are blatantly false and could be extremely hurtful, and in fact have been hurtful a few times. I noticed for the first time in a long time, I felt the need to want to convince other people that these stories and things weren’t true, whereas in the larger world, I had become relatively inoculated. I don’t mean if I was to suddenly be on the global stage, in the global media, that I would be immune to that level of feedback, but I get enough feedback to see that I’m pretty strong in that area. What I discovered was that in my personal life, with family and friends and the larger circle, that I was not immune. Of course, that’s where it cuts the deepest, those closest to us. That’s the Divine purpose of those relationships. That’s why we are shadow dancing in those relationships. That’s why we created those soul contracts, so that they could show us where we’re unconscious, where we’re living in fear or separation, lack or limitation, where we don’t know who we really are, where we don’t deeply truly love and value ourselves and respect ourselves. They show up so that we can ultimately come home to ourselves. Because I know that, I’m working with it and have worked through a lot of it. It’s very important that you know that, that everybody that shows up is bearing a gift uniquely wrapped for you.
It’s like the grain of sand that gets into the oyster, that irritates the heck out of it, but the result is that it spins a pearl. To try to get rid of that irritation, it creates a beautiful pearl. So all these people that come into your life that are criticizing you and even hating on you and telling lies or distortions, those are the grains of sand getting in your shell. There you can create a string of pearls. As the Bible calls it, the pearl of great price. It’s that ultimate wisdom that comes from digging deeper, not taking life at face value, but taking everything that comes as a gift and a blessing, often in disguise, and doing this inner work. So that you can transform and transmute that into a pearl, into a jewel, into a treasure, and ultimately into real wisdom that not only adds value to your life but allows you to turn around and add value to the lives of others and to become a role model in whatever area that you endeavor, family, friends, business, the world.
So, my invitation to you is when this shows up in your life – the opinion, the feedback, the criticism, the haters, family, friends, business, and colleagues or beyond – that you stop, and you remember everything is conspiring for your good, for your growth, for your evolution. This is showing up to make you stronger. Then ask what if anything is true about this? I’m willing to see where am I in this so I can take responsibility for it and clean it up. Number two, where is the shadow? What’s the shadow here? If somebody’s calling you a name – you’re a loser, you’re cheap, you’re selfish – whatever, you want to go and do the shadow work on that until you can fully own and embrace that part of you. Number three, you want to ask, how is this serving my larger vision? How is it making me a unique and perfect instrument to serve the larger purpose, to share the larger message? You’ll start to discover as you work with that that it is making you stronger so that you can share your message, speak your truth on a much bigger platform where more people might criticize you or have their opinions, but you will be immune to that because you’ve done the work today rather than waiting until then.
It’s like the story of a surfer that goes from beach to beach waiting for the big wave, but never gets out there and surfs the little ones. When the big wave finally comes, the surfer gets out there and gets just crushed by the wave, because they haven’t built the musculature, the dexterity, the ability to handle that velocity, that energy. They’re just not ready for it, and so it destroys them. If it doesn’t kill them, it might tremendously set them back in terms of their interest and desire and belief that they can never do it again. So, you want to practice every little time there’s a criticism, there’s a judgment, there’s an opinion that pushes your buttons. That’s the time to do the work. It’s like the old saying that every little challenge is a practice for dying. Those challenges that you have to surrender and open up beyond your self-concept is practice for dying, which is the ultimate surrender of your self-concept. That’s all dying really is, you’re releasing your material, personal self-concepts, but who you really are never dies. It continues to emerge and unfold. These criticisms are like little deaths. They’re opportunities for you to let go of a little part of your ego that’s fighting for its right, trying to prove itself, trying to survive. You can breathe and release that and get the gift of that criticism.
One little caveat to all these, and I think it’s very important, because a lot of people, they’re heart-centered, spiritually-minded, they are wounded, they are scarred, they are scared, and sometimes what’s really necessary needed is for people to take a stand for themselves, to so value and respect and love themselves that they have the courage and the willingness to tell other people that are mistreating them, that is not okay. You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to talk to me that way. You don’t get to treat me that way. I’m putting my foot down. Come what may. You can reject me. You can fire me. You can kick me out of the house, whatever the case may be, but I will not allow anybody to treat me less than kind and respectful. That’s a very valid stance. It’s a very valid and important step and stage for a person’s development, but if you find yourself always doing that, and doing that and trying to convince a person to see you a certain way, that’s where you know you’ve gotten caught up in your own shadow. You’re trying to use them as a proxy to try to quell your own bad feelings. Do you understand what I mean? If I can just get them to see me a certain way, I’ll feel better, but it never works, because your feeling bad really isn’t about them. They’ve triggered a pocket in you that already has that judgment. So, whenever you are drawing a boundary, this is very important, you’re not doing it to change them. You’re not putting up a boundary to change their behavior. You’re putting up a boundary to honor yourself, to stand in your truth and in your power.
If I said to a person, You don’t get to talk to me that way. If you want to be around me, you’re going to have to treat me more respectful, more kind, etc. I’m not saying you’ve got to change or else. It’s not an ultimatum. Maybe it’s an ultimatum, but I’m not trying to manipulate them. I could even say to them, I’m not telling you you need to be different for your own life, but if you’re going to be in my life, this is where my line is. You see? Then, it’s up to them to change or to choose to change, but you’re not trying to change them. You’re not trying to change them to make you feel better. You’re taking a stance. You’re putting a boundary up. You are loving and valuing and respecting and honoring yourself for its own sake. If they continue to act out, to criticize, to hate on you, to do whatever they’re doing, then you take whatever the next logical step is. You break off relations. There’s a certain consequence. Again, not because you’re trying to change them, but because you’re going to stand in the truth of honoring, valuing, loving, and respecting yourself. Whatever they decide to do around that is ultimately up to them, but it’s an important thing to add to this, because otherwise some people might hear that I’m saying if somebody’s hating on you and saying mean and rude things to you and disrespecting you, don’t say anything to them, don’t do anything about it, just go work on yourself. I’m not saying that. I am saying that wherever it pushes your buttons and makes you feel compelled through a more compulsive behavior to want to change their opinion in order to feel better, that is about you.
You want to work on yourself, so that you don’t have the button, but you also get to have boundaries. You’ve got to treat yourself with love and kindness and respect. Let others know that nothing less than that is acceptable. Now, of course, this comes with a price, because the minute you take a stand to love, value, and respect yourself and make that a boundary, they’re going to call you out on all the places where you are not loving, kind, or respectful to them, or in general. So you’re going to have to take responsibility for that. That’s a step that you have to take sometimes in order to get to the next level. You have to be willing, again, to be humble, to be open, to really listen and to look and see where within me is what they’re saying true? So, this isn’t just one side. Sometimes it’s not a monologue. Sometimes it requires a dialogue, okay? Ultimately, your goal, your focus, your intention is about you cleaning up you, you becoming an integrity, you being cleared of who and what you really are and why you’re alive and knowing your true value and power and coming into a greater sense of self-love, self-respect, and self-actualization. It’s not about changing the world. That’s the key idea here that I want you to get in all of this, okay? That’s how you deal with the haters. That’s the gift of criticism. If you’re willing to take this stand and commit to this path, everybody that comes at you, even though they may think they’re throwing a grain of sand into your shell, you will be able to turn that into a pearl.
By the way, this is also the esoteric meaning of turn the other cheek. It doesn’t mean just letting a person keep hitting you. It means to return a different energy than what you receive. That’s ultimately what you’re able to do. You’re able to take in the hate, the criticism, and transmute it through your consciousness to love and light and power. Think about that. Think about that. It’s like a plant that takes in carbon dioxide and turns it into oxygen. Certain fish and certain sea products, they take in wastes, and they turn it into something of value. That’s what you become – an individual that takes all of that negativity and redeems it and transmute it back into power and intelligence, and wisdom, and light, and ultimately love. That’s pretty cool. I think that’s a beautiful place to end. That’s my charge to you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Ask Derek as part of my Emergence podcasts. If you want to go deeper in this work, please go to DerekRydall.com. Go to the free resource section. Download all the free tools and trainings. If you have not yet gotten a copy of my best-selling book Emergence, you can go to GetEmergenceBook.com and grab your copy there, and all the bonuses that come with that. If you have not yet registered for this podcast in iTunes, please take a moment. It just takes a moment, it’s literally a click of the button to register on iTunes for the Emergence podcast. Leave a review, because it really does help more people receive this. If you found this to be valuable, please share it with a friend or two. I look forward to connecting with you more personally and to giving you even more cutting edge or emerging edge, knowledge and inspiration and transformation. Until next time, remember to live authentically, love unconditionally, and follow your destiny.