Dealing With Negative Comments

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Oh no she didn’t just say that!

How to handle the comments that sting

As motivational speakers, there are lots of perks to our job, but there are also some negatives. One negative is that we put ourselves in a spotlight to be evaluated by everybody in the room and in the virtual world. Social media is a beautiful thing, but it has also given a microphone to people who aren’t so gracious in their comments. Some comments can help us grow, but others just sting.  So how do we handle those negative comments?

  1. Understand that it’s just somebody else’s opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Everybody has one. And some people are mean and crazy and love social media because it gives them the courage to say things they wouldn’t otherwise.  Think of that person you know in real life – maybe somebody in your extended family – who is just out of touch with reality.  You are accustomed to letting go of their rants.
  2. Don’t let this determine your value.  Even if they tell you that you are worthless, nobody can demean you without your permission. So they didn’t like what you said or posted? That’s their problem, not yours. Let it roll off and walk tall.
  3. Don’t react out of anger. It is to tempting to respond in anger or defense. Fight the urge. Breathe and walk away. It’s not worth it. You will only fuel their flame. It will not “show them” or give you the justice you want. You can’t reason with crazy.
  4. Distance yourself if you have to.  We should learn to take the good with the bad and make room for all opinions. But if it’s really getting to be a problem and affecting your ability to focus on what really matters, then unfriend them. Remove them from the equation. It’s that easy.
  5. Consider that they may be right.  Assess whether there is a grain of truth to that comment.  It might sting, but sometimes we have to take a look in the mirror and see if we are the ones at fault. Don’t blame the messenger.

Even though we may not love the comments that sting, they are good for us. They make us stronger. They make us more confident in who we are. They help us take ownership – even in the face of criticism.  If we’re going to put ourselves out there to be judged, then we need to accept being judged.