Halloween is a favorite holiday for millions of Americans. It’s a time of fun and festivity before winter truly sets in. We have permission to dress up, wear masks, and be whoever we want to be. It’s a time where our uncanny fascination with the macabre is totally legitimate. Vampires, zombies, and other ghouls scare and thrill us at the same time.

But what about the monsters that lurk in the corner and offer little joy the other 364 days of the year?

You know – the Dream Killers that mercilessly mutilate your goals and aspirations. The Vampires that suck your soul dry when they turn around everything you share with them and make the conversation all about them. The ghouls that gnaw at your confidence and sap your strength.

Many times, these saboteurs take the form of people that we encounter in our lives. Maybe it is a loved one that you see regularly. Perhaps it is a work colleague, friend, or neighbor that you only interact with occasionally; however, you dread meeting and having to deal with them.

Additionally, we can be our own worst enemies and sideline ourselves. How many times have you talked yourself out of something, even when no one else criticized you or made you feel foolish? Bad experiences haunt us and fuel our own fears. Before we know it, we are curled up in a ball and hiding under the blankets with our depleted self worth and feelings of shame washing over us.

When you find yourself facing criticism, encountering negativity, or simply talking yourself out of doing what in your gut feels like a brilliant idea, what do you do?

Instead of answering that question, I am going to suggest two scenarios and let you find and embrace the one that works for you. Here goes:

Scenario A: You’ve addressed a group of people (can be anyone – friends at a dinner gathering, an informal group at work, etc.) and 90% of your audience loved what you shared with them. They told you they loved it, they told their friends how much they loved it, and they told their friends to get in touch with you and hear all about it. You feel awesome. The remaining 10% didn’t care too much one way or the other; they could take it or leave it.

Scenario B: Same situation – you share something important with a group of people. 70% loved what you had to say, 10% didn’t care one way or the other. 10% hated it and without holding back, they told you just how much they hated it. And for the other 10%, what you shared really hit home and in some way your thoughts/plans/ideas changed their lives.

Which scenario would you prefer?

We all have innate drives to be liked and scenario A achieves that with no real discomfort. In Scenario B, you might not be feeling the high of having people like you, especially since 10% told you they thought you were way off base and disagreed vehemently. Scenario B required more risk, but the reward was that in some way you really made a difference in people’s lives.

There’s not a right answer here, this is simply something for you to consider for yourself. The more meaningful your story, and the more people you reach, the greater the odds of facing criticism and rejection. Deciding up front you’re willing to deal with that makes it less of an issue when it happens. You can accept that it’s OK and comes with the territory. You’ll have the courage to talk about what you feel is most important and not water it down to make people like you.

Someone once asked me “Do you want to be liked, or do you want to be respected?” It’s a great question, and one to continually return to when faced with feedback that doesn’t feel so good.

Finally, in the moment of receiving feedback that isn’t what you were hoping for, it’s a trigger to check back in with your presence and your physical energy. Feel solid in the vertical core of your body, that inside space from your pelvis up to your heart and into your head. Feel the energy and sensations in your power center (center point of your pelvic bowl, back inside your body), feel strength and energy down your legs, and feel your feet anchored and grounded.

There is no one correct and strategic way to handle criticism, whether it comes from an external source or from being your own worst enemy. Being grounded in your personal power helps navigate challenging situations with grace instead of being defensive and lashing out. It keeps you focused on what truly matters and helps you to move beyond self-doubt and negativity.

I hope this message is useful and would love to hear more about how you deal with unwanted ghosts, ghouls, and goblins on all the days but Halloween. And, for those of you celebrating Halloween – have fun and be safe out there!

Until the next time,