I remember the day clearly. It was 8:45 am at my office cubicle where I worked at one of the largest Honolulu-based advertising agencies as a Junior Media Planner getting ready to eat my bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. A few bites in, my co-worker Paula (yep, this is her REAL name), walked past my desk and said loudly and proudly, “Wow, you keep eating oatmeal every day and you’ll turn into a bowl of oatmeal.”
“Oh, okay, Paula” I replied. Was I irritated? Yes. But Paula was our office diet jumper who preferred to be extreme with her diets than with her exercise (she didn’t exercise at all). You see, ME, I was our office extreme exerciser (but that’s another story for another day.) And as you can tell, I left my advertising firm to run my Honolulu personal and virtual training fitness business full time (that’s another another story for another another day)…
It’s taken probably almost two decades for me to let comments like Paula’s roll off my back because yes folks, I still get them. And TBH, I haven’t gotten to the point where a comment doesn’t cause some sort of internal reaction. I aspire to have no reaction at all. And I envy my husband’s ability to get ZERO FUCKS. It’s been my internal work to find a balance between my sensitivities and my husband’s STFU attitude (LOL).
So, how do you deal with these people? Because they are everywhere, after all and you are bound to run into one of them, eventually. And really, we do care about what people think, especially when it comes to what they think about, well, ourselves.
I am going to teach you my 3M Method with how to deal with judgement, the very same tool I use with my own clients who have dealt with the same.
3M Tool: Stop judging yourself! There’s this weird thing where when you become less judging of yourself, others follow suit. In my early 20’s, I was HYPER SENSITIVE about my weight. And I was so mad when my boyfriend told me it’s because I am so sensitive about it, that others pick upon it and make it a thing. I was so pissed at him because in this moment, I blamed him. It started with him drawing a picture of a girl with his then very young baby brother (probably in 2nd or 3rd grade at that time) and when his baby brother asked who he was drawing, my boyfriend replied that he was drawing me (I’m the girl). His baby brother then replied, “that’s not Lee-Ann, that girl’s skinny.” I was DEVASTATED. In that moment, I felt an incredible amount of SHAME. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I was too young and not ready to fully grasp my weight insecurity. And although it’s a lot better these days, I still struggle daily, more times than I care to admit, that I battle with weight insecurity.
But, what I have realized is this:
I know I won’t be confident 100% of the time — and that I will have fear and doubt regularly. But, despite these feelings, I need to keep working anyway, turn my focus outward to the people I serve (my friends, family and clients), and away from your inner critic.
And so I TEACH my clients the same. I help them navigate their inner critic through daily check-ins, weekly coaching calls and journaling. I educate my clients about their inner judgement and we investigate where this judgement comes from.
I HELP them to stop chasing people’s approval. OK, so maybe they are judging you. So what? You can’t change what people think about you, so don’t waste energy trying. Be true to yourself to achieve your true purpose.
I COACH my clients to be happy. I know that sounds silly, but here’s the thing: It’s hard for people to judge or criticize you if you’re happy, doing your thing, living and enjoying your life.
I PROVIDE a power posse for my tribe. I’ve pulled together a group of people that you can hang with (virtually) and never have to explain yourself. If you need help, my power posse is there for you, no questions asked. You’ll get a group of other supportive people who share in your same struggles and who will help you through yours lows while also celebrating all of your highs.