Six Ways to Handle Your Worst Critic

You know who I am talking about….most likely we all have at
least one.  The person in your life that
no matter what you wear is going to say something negative about it….it might
be your significant other…it might be a woman friend…it might be your mother…or a co-worker…or even a regular reader on your blog.  However, it is the one person whose expectations you will just never meet!!!

Not even if you walked out in something straight off the
Chanel runway…it won’t look good on you. 
So, how do you handle it?  I will
not go into details, but I will tell you that I have grown over the years to
finally handle this somewhat correctly out of lots of experience.  Oh, it still stings (I am human)….but it does
not shut me down like it used to.

From experience, I offer these recommendations:
      * Before
you react…fall apart…shed tears…bite back…ask yourself is there any truth to
what is being said.  Can you learn
anything from the comment?  Our local
fashion editor once told me that all women need a three way mirror to check out
before we leave the house…it would save a myriad of mistakes!  Sometimes we really do need a second look.
      * If
you decide there is nothing productive in the critic’s words, then do not internalize them.  Allow them to fall gently on your ears, and
then brush them off like a nasty bug. 
     * Make
yourself listen without speaking.   Thank
them for the advice and then do what you want and what you feel is best. It will not help to inflame the
situation with a nasty comment sent back at them.  After that, OWN your decision!  Wear it with confidence.
      * If
it makes you feel better, then seek advice from someone else before you wear
the look.  Every woman needs a
cheerleader in her life, so make sure you have a close friend who will tell you
the truth in gentle, affirming ways.  (I
do not know what I would do without sweet Gigi…I know she will give me her
truthful opinions, and is the first to cheer for my victories)
     * Speak
affirmations to yourself and always focus on your strengths.  Be confident of who you are and excited to
live the rest of your life with a smile. 
Do not let anyone steal that
smile.
      * Finally,
it is not about you really…it is about them. 
When someone is constantly critical and negative, the reason has to do
with them and their unhappiness and not about you and your clothes. 
Style by Macy’s Pinstripe Jacket bought at Goodwill
Dana Buchman Blouse at Kohls
Scarf: Marshalls
Talbots pants at Talbots
Seychelles flats: Ross
You might try remembering these things when you have to face
the critic.  If they are too over the top
critical….or just plain mean…you might avoid them if possible or not ask them
what they think (isn’t it funny how we know not to play with fire but still
do!) Or even better….while they are talking, instead of listening, it might
help to envision them with a huge pot of spaghetti turned over on top of their
heads!
I will end with one of my all-time favorite Stacy London
quotes:
“When we allow others to control how we feel about
ourselves; we give up an essential sense of power.” 
      Stacy London, The Truth About Style
How true is that! 
Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!


BIG NEWS:  I am a part of the this article on the Huffington Post with my picture of fashion mistakes from the past…how much fun!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/worst-dressed-gen-fab-fashion-faux-pas_n_2301659.html#slide=1953643

24 Comments

  1. Truer words were never written. I think I've been guilty of either taking my critics too seriously, allowing them to crush me, or dismissing them too easily, missing the critical help they could have given me.

    I think your advice to first stop and listen and see if there is anything to learn is wise. Often there is a kernel of something there. But if so, or if not, then taking what you can and leaving the rest, and not taking it all so to heart is the healthiest. I need to remember this every day.

  2. I grew up with a very critical mother who was always very negative about my appearance. So I think I *expect* more negative criticism than I actually receive. I've developed a rather thick skin when it comes to this; I keep in mind that everyone has their own tastes and judgement. Sometimes a critical comment can help me see with new eyes, and I find a grain of truth in what was said. A friend like Gigi who will be supportive but honest is such a treasure!!!

  3. Very sound advice, Pam. It *is* worthwhile to examine the occasional criticism to see if there's anything helpful. But the chronic critic is best turned away with a smile.

  4. Great post…I don't have anyone in my life that consistently criticizes me, thankfully. But my husband does let me know if he doesn't like what I am wearing which sometimes bothers me but other times helps me understand what's flattering and what's not.
    I don't think I would do very well with someone regularly criticizing me. But if a friend, who normally does not make critical remarks, feels compelled to tell me she doesn't care for something I am wearing, or the way I look, etc. then I would likely listen.
    There is no one who criticizes me more than me!

  5. The one thing I have always been told when someone says something negative, rude etc is ask yourself…Is there any truth to it???
    I like that that was your first "rule"
    It has helped me immensely through the years, not just with fashion, but pretty much everything
    Brett

  6. Tee hee – I like Judith's comment!

    These are really good things to remember, especially taking the time to see if there is some truth in what the other person says. With clothing, I also tell myself that everyone has such different tastes, you can never please everyone.

  7. My dear Pam, You always look lovely to my eyes. A reader once posted on one of my photos "That outfit is horrible. That looks like a pajama top you are wearing." (Tencel chambray tunic from Coldwater Creek with copper thread trim with red jeggings and Ralph Lauren booties.) I was crushed. It almost made me stop blogging! Why put myself out there only to have readers be so mean? I wish people would consider the option of not commenting if they can only say something negative. Keep doing what you do! We appreciate you and all of your hard work. I look forward to your posts everyday! Susan

  8. Constructive criticism is worth listening to, but other negative comments let fly over your head, although sometimes not easy. Love the bit about the bowl of spaghetti.. You look great & if you feel good that's all that matters.

  9. Thank goodness I really don't have anyone in my life that does this to me. I weeded people like this out of my life a long time ago. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If it's constructive criticism coming genuinely from someone's heart I listen. If not I ignore.

  10. Excellent post. It is worthwhile to stop and consider whether the critic is hitting on a valid point. Sometimes they'll tell you what everyone else is merely thinking and you don't want to ignore that if you care.

    I have been watching old episodes of "The Closer." The main character, Brenda, lays the Southern affect on a bit heavy sometimes, but one thing I like is that she's very free with the "please" and "thank-you"s – even if they aren't always sincere.

    Depending on who your worst critic is, sometimes they're just trying to get a rise out of you. A thank-you rather than getting mad, which is what they're really trying to get you to do, will sometimes damp down their efforts to improve you.

  11. Such a great post.
    I do have one of these. Sometimes comments are positive but this person definitely has no filter. My mama taught me that if you have nothing nice to say…better say nothing at all. Now, don't get me wrong, I am all about constructive criticism but some folks just take it too far.
    Happy Wednesday!

  12. Oh Pam…yes, we do all have or have had a person like you are talking about in our lives. I believe that a person like this is simply unhappy themselves…I rarely react to it but just feel sorry for them…my husband always says 'I wouldn't want to live in their heads' I think that pretty much sums it up.
    Have a Wonderfully Happy Wednesday 😉
    Thanks for dropping by today..lovely to hear from you.
    Catherine
    xx

  13. LOL! Spaghetti works for me!
    I'm a wimp when it comes to criticism. I would probably stop blogging….:(
    Great advice from a fabulous lady! Thank you!
    You look terrific, btw! Just enough pattern mixing….spot on!

  14. It seems like almost everyone has someone in their lives like this to deal with. Maybe you cannot cut the ties completely; like with a family member. You can minimize your time with them or ignore them if possible though!

    Pam you are so right it IS their issue, whether low self esteem, no confidence of their own, jealousy etc.!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  15. I know it happens to all of us. Most of the time people don't quite know how to deal with me so for the most part they leave me alone.
    Congrats on being featured on Huffington Post.
    And I think you were a beautiful young lady!

  16. I have always been a bit of a non-conformist when it comes to my clothes. I really don't want to look like anyone else so I don't really care what might be said. My husband will make a comment once in a while and I tell him it's not his business because he isn't wearing it.

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