To trust your unique authenticity can be challenging at times.
You know how it goes – post an article, make some comments and you put yourself out there. You’ve had lots of great feedback. You know you’re resonating with others.
Then some person you don’t actually know, a random online connection, criticises you for what you said, or how you said it. And immediately you feel the need to go into defense mode, to justify yourself, to make this random person you don’t actually know see things from your perspective.
Don’t you hate that just one person’s opinion has the capacity to derail you and flatten your mood. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. It happens to anyone who is running a business or developing influence online.
Feeling judged for authenticity
I wrote an article a week or so ago about handling personal attacks and suggested that responding rather than reacting is the way forward. It got amazing coverage and I engaged with lots of new people. Some joined my email list on self-leadership. And then one person unsubscribed after the first email and, when I asked if this was intentional, they responded that they didn’t like that I’d included links to my coaching and events rather than just sharing knowledge. I responded that I didn’t feel the two had to be mutually exclusive, to which they removed our connection.
I felt judged.
I find it easier to stand firm and respond with things I believe in than I do when judgements are made of me around how I operate in the online space. But what it comes back to is confidence in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. It boils down to being confident in who I am, because it is out of who I am that I do and say things. The fact that I’m writing about this means that I’m still growing in confidence around my authenticity. But with each new experience, as I operate authentically out of who I am, my confidence grows, and so the attacks and criticisms have less and less impact.
I’m learning that even with the best of intentions, others will not always like what I do. Others will have opinions around the way I operate and will let me know. But it is up to me to choose how I respond to that criticism. Responding is the better way as it allows me to think about what I want to communicate. And as I respond, I learn to trust my unique authenticity.
Feeling confident in authenticity
But just because I choose to respond rather than react doesn’t mean that I will have the outcome I desire. That person who criticised me may still not like what I do. They may react. I have no control over that, and their reaction can still be confronting or challenging. Then I must come back again to my own authenticity. Finally, I must return to my centre, to the person I know I am and allow the other person space to be who they are, acknowledging that we may never see things the same way – and letting it go.
Authenticity and confidence go hand in hand. And confidence in our unique authenticity grows as we trust who we are and how we respond to situations and events, online and in the real world.
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