Everyone has an opinion, good or bad, it all comes your way eventually. Sometimes the bad can be REALLY bad – cruel, unprofessional even damaging. Of course we want to listen and understand, to gleam what we can to improve ourselves. Sometimes the message isn’t so much in what was said but how it was said. Not everyone will tell us things in order to help us improve, some people simply want to say things to make themselves feel superior. It is those moments when these words from Ruth Badger Ginsberg help us process through it all. It is those times when it helps to be a little deaf.
I had a boss who told me I would never success because I was too nice and trusted people. She STRONGLY suggested I get ruthless and cruel in order to move up the corporate ladder. She then left the room. I sat in that large conference room thinking about first her advice…be cruel and ruthless. That’s just not me. I then realized she was my boss, however I did not have to give her permission to speak into my life. So it was at that moment when I decided to start looking for another job. Within the year I was gone. I chose to be deaf AND act on her advice by finding a better boss.
I have learned to allow people to speak into my life AFTER they have earned my trust and respect. Sure I’ve experienced a great deal of criticism, all sorts of comments and jabs. I chose to be deaf. I let those words go in one ear and out the other. Sometimes I ran as fast as I could to someone I trusted to test my attitude about those words to make sure I just wasn’t being too sensitive. People who want us to grow, develop and blossom tell us tough things, of course. Some people are not talking to us from a position of helpfulness, they simply want to tear us down. Wisdom is knowing the difference between the two types of voices.
Protect yourself and your life. Be open to criticism and feedback, know the difference between comments to build and comments to destroy. Learn to be deaf to those who do not have your best interest in mind. The day will come when their cruel intentions will dissolve into dust, only you have the choice to decide when that day arrives.