The other day, literary agent Janet Reid wrote a fantastic post advising someone who'd received destructive feedback on their work AND on themselves as a writer. Even though Ms. Reid's words are geared toward the writing life, I think they work on a personal level as well.
Ms. Reid, referring to the beta reader, says, "She's quite clearly someone who takes great satisfaction in making people feel small . . . It's the behavior of a third grade bully. Again, not the conduct of a self-actualized adult . . . ."
Have you ever dealt with someone like that? I have, and I admit, I was gobsmacked (love that word!) by the incident. But as time went on, I became more upset with myself than the person because I continued to let the words hurt me. They would slither into my brain, a snake sinking its venomous fangs into my spirit, poisoning all that was creative and good and wacky in my mind. I struggled with how to stop it from happening, but I didn't have the antidote.
"There is no way her words won't continue to cut at you. Words do that. It will take a while to stop thinking about what she said. One way to do that (and you do need to stop that) is give yourself a mantra to say every time you think of her, and a specific thing to divert your mind to instead. (I use the rosary for this; when I think of something that is unsettling me I recite one Hail Mary and then turn my mind to something else. It takes practice but it works.)"
I probably won't use the Hail Mary (much to my maternal grandmother's chagrin) so I'm open to suggestions. I've got lots of affirming and positive quotes I can fish through but I'm turning to you all first. What's your antidote for that darn snake, your go-to mantra, your action plan? How do you keep the bullies from winning?