Why Your Critics Are Not the Ones Who Count


Sharing your knowledge and opinion as an expert in the public arena isn’t for the faint of heart.

As soon as you put yourself out there, critics are ready to tear you down.

For sensitive introverts like myself, this is a constant challenge. As much as I try to have a thick skin, it’s hard not to be affected by negative comments.

So how do I deal with it and not let it slow me down?

Well, I can’t say I have it all figured out (not even close), but I did get valuable perspective from Brené Brown’s talk “Why Your Critics Are Not the Ones Who Count.”

If you haven’t heard of Brené, she’s a researcher who has dedicated her career to studying vulnerability, shame and connection. I highly recommend all of her talks, which you can find on YouTube, but this one in particular hit home for me this week.

Here it is — this just might be the best 22 minutes you’ll spend all day:

Ah… so good.

Here are a few things that stood out for me:

“It’s not about winning. It’s not about losing. It’s about showing up and being seen.”

“This is who I want to be. I want to create. I want to make things that didn’t exist before I touched them.”

“If you are going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee: You will get your ass kicked. If courage is a value that we hold, this is a consequence. You can’t avoid it.”

“If you’re not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

“When you armor up against vulnerability, you shut yourself off.”

“Without vulnerability, you cannot create.”

“The three seats that will always be taken when you walk into the arena are shame, scarcity and comparison.”

“We’re hardwired for connection. When we stop caring what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we define ourselves by what people think, we lose our capacity for vulnerability.”

“Reserve a seat for your critics. Say: ‘I see you, I hear you. But I’m going to show you and do this anyway. And I’ve got a seat for you and you’re welcome to come. But I’m not interested in your feedback.'”

“One of these seats needs to be reserved for you. Who do you think the biggest critic in the arena normally is? Yourself.”

“We’re so self-critical. And one of the things that happens is there is an ideal of what you’re supposed to be. What a lot of us end of doing is we orphan the parts of ourselves that don’t fit with what that ideal is supposed to be. And what is left, when we orphan those parts of ourselves, is the critic.”

“It’s so scary to be seen. It feels dangerous. It’s terrifying. But it is not as scary, dangerous or terrifying as getting to the end of our lives and thinking ‘What if I would have shown up? What would have been different?’”

Do any of these statements ring true for you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.



  1. I was blessed to go to her event in Nashville this year after taking her course on vulnerability. I have been blown away by her and recommend her to all of my clients. I am marching forward in all that I do with confidence and she is one of the biggest reasons.

  2. Hey Julia – I love it! Brene is amazing, such wisdom to share… I also consider myself a “sensitive introvert”, so sometimes need to remember that it really isn’t the critics who count! 🙂