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Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears regularly.

Faith WoodQuestion: I’m striving to get my new business venture some much-needed publicity on a shoestring budget. As a result, I’ve turned to social media to get the word out.

My efforts and posts have been attracting attention, but not always good attention. I’m getting a lot of critical comments which are really starting to drag me down.

Do you have any suggestions for navigating the critics?

Answer: Whether you’re trying to save the world, lose 20 pounds, write a novel or master a video game, there will be at least one person in your life trying to drag you across the coals for it.

There’s no way to live a meaningful life without critics, naysayers and haters. They’re part of the human experience. However, it’s your job not to allow them to stop you from living your life.

How to keep critics in your life from influencing you

Find your purpose. If you were doing something essential to you, you’d care far less about the criticisms of others. If they can easily throw you off your path, you might want to consider finding another path.

Are you living your purpose?

If not, determine what you want to do with your life.

Understand why most people aren’t being supportive. The people who criticize you are often just trying to be annoying. They enjoy getting under your skin and being noticed. People are also hateful when you start doing well. No one likes to be left behind or face the truth of their own mediocre existence.

Few people will be supportive when you pursue big goals. Get used to it.

Focus on your mission. Train yourself to be more focused and determined when criticism comes your way. This way, the more the critics bark, the more you’ll accomplish. Most people are distracted by criticism. Don’t be like most people.

Caught in the crosshairs of cancel culture trolls by Peter Stockland

Notice that critics are a small part of the population. We notice negative feedback more than we notice positive. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies.

We think more people are working against our efforts than there really are. Most people are actually indifferent to you and your life.

Realize that you’re going to be criticized no matter what you do. Whether you become a billionaire, movie star, teacher, doctor or sit on the couch all day, someone will tell you you’re doing the wrong thing.

Since you’re going to hear negative comments no matter what you do, do what matters the most to you and do your best to ignore the naysayers.

Respond calmly. Avoid giving your critics the pleasure of an emotional response. Respond with kindness, and you’ll often find they soften their criticism or apologize. If you ignore them, they’ll either become angry or bored.

Use your critics as motivation. While some people are intimidated and deflated by the haters of the world, others use the negative comments as a source of motivation. Use your critics’ words as fuel for your success.

Decide if they have something useful to say. Some criticism can be helpful. If you receive specific criticism, consider if it might be true. Adapt your approach if necessary.

If the criticism isn’t helpful, let it roll off your back. You have more important things to do.

Take criticism as a compliment. Most people will leave you alone if you’re struggling. You only become a significant target of negative comments if you’re doing well. If you’re taking a lot of heat, you must be doing something correct!

Avoid allowing the haters in your life to derail your plans. That’s exactly what they want! Live your life without the need for the approval of others.

If you’re spending your time on activities that truly matter to you, the criticism you receive will have far less impact on you. Just remember, you’re probably doing well if the critics are barking in your ear.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.  For interview requests, click here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the authors’ alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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