Likes are like crack for people like me. I don’t like how much I like being liked.
In her book, Playing Big, Tara Sophia Mohr included a chapter titled “Unhooking from Praise and Criticism.” I didn’t want to read it. I wanted to skip that part. I was so hooked that I didn’t want to deal with it. But you can’t not deal with the things that hook you. You have to become painfully self-aware. You have to know your vices or you open yourself up to them.
It doesn’t mean you have to deal with all your crap right away. Healing is a process. But the first step—to admit you have a problem—is an underrated step. It’s a giant leap. And sometimes, at least for a while, you don’t have to do anything more than that.
So, I’ve admitted it. I’ve become aware of how much my self-worth relies on everyone else’s opinion of me. And how deeply affected I am when these elses—especially those I look up to or respect—disagree with my choices.
And it affects so much of my life. The way I wait tables. How much writing or submitting I get done every week. What I teach my kids—intentionally and unintentionally. My relationship with my husband. How much sugar/alcohol/junk food I consume, often because I’m attempting, pathetically, to numb the feelings. It’s literally #allthethings.
Waking up to these feelings and staying woke has made all the difference. It’s like capturing every thought—but instead of my thoughts, it’s other people’s thoughts of me, and my reaction to each one.
According to Ms. Mohr, praise and criticism only tell you about the persons giving them. You can absolutely decide what constructive changes you want to implement, but ultimately, it’s about them. Not you.