I was offended today. I spoke to a woman I am acquainted with about the new program I'm working on at my job that I'm pretty excited about because I thought she may want to lend some of her expertise to help. Instead, she totally shot me down- and then reloaded.
The Pre-Criticism Phase:
Criticism hurts most when it's directed at a place we're a little insecure. For me, it began when I shared with someone I THOUGHT I respected my intent to create a "Garden Club" which will meet in our new state-of-the-art Ed Center each month. I didn't want to host a generic club based on an outdated 1910 model so I'm blazing a new trail.
My concept turns the old-school model on it's head and is completely modernized- including updated topics (like how to 'upcycle' furniture finds or build the 'curb appeal' of your home), use of online resources and creation of a unique volunteer leadership structure for the Club. I even get to bring in a SUPER AWESOME DUO (hint, hint) to speak at the kick-off event in June and several mini-class teachers who I'm still figuring out but I'm sure they'll be great! Have budget, will spend it!
Can you see I'm excited? Excitement can sometimes be bad because it causes me to ASSUME that others will be equally excited. Not true.
I shared my idea with someone I thought may help but it turns out she thinks it's an AWFUL idea that is sure to fail. She thinks it's too "homemaker-ish" which is apparently uncool. None of THAT offended me per se, though I was disappointed by the quick dismissal.
The Offended Phase:
While I can respect that what I propose isn't her cup of tea, it was the stuff she shared next that had me dropping my jaw. In her opinion women here in Utah and, in Mormon culture in general, are too repressed. To her, a DIY-style Home and Garden Club is a step backwards in the progress of women and is DEMEANING to women. It's also too "Mormonish" of a thing to do. Really? REALLY???!!!!
I just deleted the paragraph where I freak out about the ridiculousness of that assumption- add your own comments about that opinion in your brain. I'll wait...
Suffice it to say, I was offended!
And I blew off some steam- but not in front of her because that would have been inappropriate (showing some of that repression I may have mistaken for social graces).
And then I calmed down after awhile.
And then I started second guessing myself.
What the heck am I doing, anyway?
The Pathetic Phase:
The next phase of me responding to criticism devolves to the pathetic point where I start to doubt the previous excitement/decision. And myself. In this case, I don't think for a moment that she's right about things which are 'Holly Homemaker' being demeaning. She's welcome to her opinion and I'm welcome to think that it's a pile of #*@&^.
No, the pathetic part is that I let it smash my confidence and allowed her disdain of my idea to feel personal (she did not intend it as a personal attack on me) and, worse, make me feel inferior. Eleanor Roosevelt would be so disappointed!
I think the concept is still good but the weak link is ME! She never called into question my competence to do it, at least not to me, but her aversion made me think perhaps I CAN'T do it? This is "Cool Girls Table" stuff and I'm never going to qualify to sit at there! I'm nearly 40 but had those old Jr. High feelings of inadequacy creep right back in. PATHETIC!
The Butt- Kicking Phase:
Ultimately, she did me a HUGE favor today because the Butt-Kicking Phase can't be activated unless I go through the Pathetic Phase first. Besides:
Point 1. It's always good to question yourself before chancing a public belly flop. I truly COULD flop. And I just might! Worse, I may drag anyone who WAS willing to help into that teaming pool of shame and I'd feel bad about that.
Point 2. She did not CAUSE the self-doubt. It has been a huge issue for me my whole life and I have to own it. I shouldn't be surprised that it reared it's ugly head when I was feeling vulnerable- and fat. The lady in question is tall, thin, fit, rich and gorgeous and those are 5 words that will never be used to describe me! I might be feeling a bit of the old Jr. High nerd emotions again!
Point 3.I don't like feeling like this. I'm going to wallow in it for a day or two though because I'll need to be well and truly primed for The Butt-Kicking Phase! The gal today not only thinks the program (and, by extension, me) will fail but that I can't do it at all without the help of her friends and connections. It will be harder but that's only going to make it sweeter!
Nothing fires me up like being told I can't do something that's important to me. Lord knows this isn't the first time someone thought my ideas were dumb.! And in saying that I'll going to totally ignore the fact that sometimes my ideas ARE dumb and just say that they're also spot on- sometimes. It remains to be seen if this will be one of those times or not.
I've wanted to pull a group like this together for a decade and I'm so excited I finally get to do it. I'm not going to let a bit of criticism from someone with a chip on their shoulder get in the way of a long-time goal- because THAT would be REALLY pathetic!