We all have issues and shortcomings. I have many. I have blogged about them in the past. One of the issues I have been focused on lately is actually weird, especially given what I do for a living. I am extremely sensitive and take criticism too personally. It took me a while to admit it, but now I say it freely:
“Hello, my name is Karen. I get sad, depressed and angry and feel rejected when someone criticizes me.”
This isn’t a problem that plagues me at work. Ever, actually. I am really good at what I do, but I love constructive criticism of my writing, editing and reporting. I strive to be the best I can be, and don’t even flinch if a story comes back with revision notes. It is what it is. It’s my job. I get it. I may grumble because I am feeling lazy, but I don’t take it personally for a nanosecond. My regular life? Not so much.
For example, I have a Girl Scout troop. Recently, a few of the girls decided they wanted to do their Silver award work with some friends who are Juliette Low scouts — girls who are not aligned with a troop. Instead of hearing the news and saying, “Whew! That means less work for me,” I heard, “You suck as a leader. If you were a better leader the girls would want to work on it with you.” Crazy. Insane. Especially since these girls have been with me for eight years and all the evidence I have says they like our troop and enjoy Girl Scouts.
Why does that happen? My therapist says it’s because I have core beliefs that are not real. Well, they are real in my mind, but they are not based on reality. Blame it on my childhood. Blame it on my upbringing. Blame it on my brain, which is wired for anxiety. Blame it on my own self-worth that — as the weird, smart shy girl who didn’t have a lot of friends growing up — isn’t where it should be. Whatever the reason, it’s stopping me from being successful as an adult. It’s impacting the way I approach social situations and life. It’s also pissing people off and keeping me from making stronger connections.
I’m going to be trying EMDR to try and eradicate the false core beliefs so that I can understand and see the difference between when someone is actually being mean or criticizing me in a negative way and when someone is just saying something benign. I plan on blogging about it as we go. In the meantime, I’d hyper-aware of what’s going on and pledge to try harder to think before I react — a work-in-progress, that’s me!