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Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Make Lemonade

When I first sat down to write this post, I had totally planned on talking about how demoralizing one of my classes has been, and what a struggle it is to write happy things when someone in your life is trying his damnedest to make sure you know just how horribly you suck.

But then halfway through I realized that focusing on the muck is what keeps you in the muck, and what I really should blog about was how to get out of the muck.

Ready? Here goes.

When life hands you lemons, send them through a juicer

Since toxic people bear toxic fruit, it can be dangerous to try and digest their special kind of feedback, skin and all. Instead, you have to separate the bitter/inedible parts from the juice, which might otherwise be useful. I like to do this by blacking out--either literally, with a Sharpie, or mentally--those things you think are invalid, unfounded, or just plain mean.

Can't find any juice? Don't worry about it. Some people are just mean for the sake of being mean.

Dilute, dilute, dilute

Being the designated whipping girl isn't fun, especially when it seems like every move you make is met with a smack on the rear. But the truth of the matter is, even though a person's ire may be directed at you, it's usually not because of you or anything you've done. Toxic people are experts at finding faults in others they think will deflect from their own insecurities.

Pour some sugar on it

Let's face it: rejection stings, even when it's from someone you don't like. Take the hurt out of it by revising their demoralizing feedback with something a little more constructive. For example, if someone accuses you of rambling inanely, make a mental note to double-check for cohesiveness.

Serve it ice cold

Never, never, never try and tackle a nasty critique right away. Let it sit for a day/week/month, until you can read it without over-analyzing every little thing.

And when you're done, put it on ice permanently by tossing it in the wastebasket where it belongs.



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