In the words of Taylor Swift, sometimes you just have to “shake it off”. It’s very easy to internalise things, to believe you know the truth, to take someone’s bad mood, eye roll, the fact that they didn’t invite you out for a drink as being all about you. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes when you dig deep and think about it you probably actually don’t even care.
From the minute we start school we are told we need to fit in, find our place, find our group, and stick with it. Individuality is frowned upon unless confined with the parameters of what is deemed you should be doing. The one who is quiet is told they need to speak up, be more confident, the one who is too loud is told they need to tone it down. We are put into nice little boxes of what people think we should be or what they perceive us to be. Ask yourself though is that really who you are?
This is all replicated in the work place and when you start a new job it can feel like the first day of school. You can over read the reactions and interactions with your colleagues as being about you and internalise them. This can stem from various things, how often do we berate our success and think we just got lucky. When you think that way you actively look for signs to prove the theory that you are not good enough. Any form of criticism or perceived criticism you internalise and take to heart whilst ignoring any positive stuff. We’ve all done it, our Boss can tell us we are doing a great job and then someone can send a snooty email about the work you need to do. You focus on the email rather than the praise and see the tone as a criticism of you rather than a reaction of the senders work load and stress levels. We develop what Melanie Chan refers to as “mind reader” syndrome where we think we know how people will react, and create a self fulfilling prophecy around it. How often have we dreaded having a conversation though but actually it was much easier than we anticipated. That’s because we don’t know, we only know what’s going on inside our head.
We can focus on one negative thing in a whole big picture of positivity, ten people can say you a great and then one person says they don’t like you. Rather than shrugging that off you focus on why don’t they like me, what have I done wrong. With this you over compensate trying to win them over when really it’s not about you, it’s about what you represent you may remind them of someone from their past, they may be jealous, threatened or just going through a bad time. Take that as the moment, be nice but focus your energy on more positive things.
With every success and as you get further into your career, when you have strong ideas and work independently people can become threatened. Sometimes your success can encourage people to find fault. Rather than congratulate you and be proud people can see it as a fluke or a mistake. This is about them and their lack of confidence not really anything to do with you. There is a great quote that says “what someone thinks if you is really none of your business”.
Be the best that you can be, reach out to people, be focused and be kind. When the criticism comes, if it’s valid take it as a learning lesson and if it’s not then shake it off. The ultimate revenge to the haters, is your own happiness and success. Think Destiny’s Child “ain’t gonna disrespect you on the internet, cos my mamma taught me better than that”.
Sometimes you just got to shake it off.