How To Handle Criticism
I’m so excited to post my good friend Sade Champagne’s guest blog today! Sade Champagne is an award winning professional musical artist, performer, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, mentor, and Dream Coach. She is the Executive Producer, Creator, and Director of almost 300 charity events. Her biggest dreams are to continue being herself, encourage others and help people’s dreams to come true.”
She is such an inspiration and was even kind enough to feature me on the new season of her radio show called SpiritNSoul which premiers Monday October 2nd on the GrindHard Radio Network. Hope you guys enjoy her post. If you’d like to learn more and follow her on social media you can find her at instagram.com/iamsadechampagne.
When People Tear You Down: How To Handle Criticism
Throughout my whole life, people have always told me what I could and could not do, who I could and could not be…I have resolved that there is only 1 truth about my life: what God says and believes about me. It has taken me almost all of my life so far to get comfortable with who I am. To acknowledge my story and embrace my true self. I spent so much of my life internalizing and secretly wishing I was someone else and had another story to tell. I always knew that I came from God and was destined for greatness, but it’s hard to foster that belief- especially as a child and without healthy guidance and mentorship. Regardless of when I was in religion, being in the entertainment industry or simply hanging out with friends, I very rarely felt comfortable enough to be myself. I always felt like someone was trying to change me and form me into what they wanted me to be. I’ve had some friends in the past tell me I should date more guys (even if I didn’t like or was interested in them) if I ever want to find someone, and that I should at least wear some makeup every day- lipstick, fake eyelashes and wear my long braids or hair extensions. I’ve had pastors and leaders in churches tell me that I should only be singing worship and gospel music and not do secular music (What does that even mean?!), and that “as a Christian” I should dress more conservative and wear baggier clothes during my events and performances. That I should never show the shape of my body in public. Funny thing is, up until the past few years, I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere. I’ve always been too much of this or not enough of that. The only place I truly feel comfortable now is in God’s Love. In My Father’s Heart. Since I was in high school and begin seriously pursuing my music dreams, industry executives have told me that I’m not sexy or provocative enough and will never be successful “unless I sex up my image like Britney Spears”. That “no one wants to see a pretty girl just stand there, sing and talk.” I was called square, prudent and goody-too-shoes in school. Today I am actually a traveling professional speaker, musical artist and performer. I never have problems getting booked and my fanbase continues to grow each year. And it’s been through being myself. I don’t fit in a neat perfect box of what the industry, society or religion wants me to be, but I fit just fine in God’s hands. We make so many assumptions about people, but we hardly ever ask or listen to their story. I want to share a couple of stories in particular. One is from many years ago, and the other is very recent. I’ll also share the differences in my perspective from each situation.
In 2010 I was honored with a prestigious award as an independent artist- Shatterbox Entertainment Artist of the Year. My dear friends the Jackie Boyz were the first and only other artists to be awarded this honor and now they’ve gone on to sell over 15,000,000 records and win a GRAMMY! So this was supposed to a big and stellar night for me. I performed several times at the event and the crowd was very touched and engaged. I was beaming from ear to ear! There was a woman at the event who wanted to talk to me (I had never met or seen her before), and told me she had some things to discuss with me. We didn’t end up talking until after the event when everyone met up to eat afterwards. This lady proceeded to tell me how she didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like my clothes, I had a good voice but this wasn’t church. That I need to have long flowing hair extensions down my back and change my look because I’m competing with women in this industry and blah blah blah! I was gracious and thanked her for her feedback (that I never asked for LOL), but inside I was stunned. I felt a lump in my throat and my heart break a little. There was still something inside me, God’s Voice- God’s LOVE that told me that who I am is good enough. That He made me this way for a reason and to hang in there. To stay true to the visions Jesus placed in my heart as a little girl. Over the years (especially the past 5 years since I walked away from religion and started pursuing grace), I’ve felt God really building my confidence and helping me to be secure in my identity. Really reminding me of why I am who I am, why I do what I do and why I started in the first place. I feel God encouraging me each moment and lifting me up. There is no greater joy than feeling God’s love for you flowing out of your heart to the point where you can feel the love that He has for others flowing from your heart as well. You no longer see people as what they say and do, but you begin to see the story behind their words and eyes. You begin to see the gold in them. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tear people down and point out their “flaws”, but it DOES takes a visionary to see the treasure in others. Even when people don’t reciprocate, I am eager to and passionate about encouraging others and speaking life to them because I know the power of words. I know the power of belief in someone and cheering them on. I know what it feels like to be put down, dismissed and discredited- I would never want to make someone feel the way that I have felt.It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tear people down, but it DOES takes a visionary to see the treasure in others. Click To Tweet
The second story is very recent- like this month recent LOL! I was invited to attend a tremendous celebrity packed red carpet event. I am always thankful and grateful for every opportunity that God brings my way and helps me to create. While I was there a “professional” in the industry (whom I had never officially met before) pulled me to the side and lit into me telling me how unprofessional I was and she didn’t like how I was dressed. That I would not make it in this industry, she talked trash about my body shape, (Since she didn’t ask me any questions or get to know me first, she had no idea that I’ve been a professional and paid entertainer, producer and speaker in this industry for over 12 years now.), that I needed to get professionally mentored by her and blah blah blah. It definitely caught me off guard and stung a little bit because I was kind to her and she was courteous at the start of the event. When I told my best friend what had happened (who is also a longtime professional host, model and entertainer) she immediately saw the situation for what it was. She encouraged me and reminded me of how many great interactions I had that day, that I was deeply connecting with the celebrities and bringing the best out of them through my interviews. That unfortunately when someone feels threatened there is a chance they will try to knock you down a few notches and put you in your place. She reminded me why we were there that day, to stay focused and remember that God was so proud of me. She used to go through the same things all the time when she was covering events as well. I should mention that this “professional” who told me off was clearly suffering from an eating disorder/drug addiction, and as I felt lies trying to cloud my mind, I also immediately felt my heart aching for her. My feelings may have been hurt, but I would feel better soon. She was living in that madness and critical belief system 24/7! Inside I began to pray for her and speak blessings and God’s goodness over her life. She was still one of Our Father’s Children, she was still precious and worthy of loving. I didn’t see her at the event after that- it was as if she took off and disappeared. I continued to enjoy myself but was still a bit frazzled. At the end of the event-out of nowhere- one of my favorite popular entertainers whom I’ve met multiple times and had the pleasure of interviewing that day (She’s a veteran with over 30 years of professional experience in this industry and is endorsed by multiple A-List celebrities.) pulled me to the side and told me that she loves my perky attitude, articulation and that she hopes I go very far in this industry. WOW. That she believes in me and is supporting me all the way! She is known for being very blunt and straight to the point LOL. I was super encouraged and thankful. Another one of my professional friends seconded her words and spoke life to me as well. He told me that I am already changing so many lives every day through my voice and social media. That I have come so far and will continue to do so. My best friend was smiling wide at me and kept saying “See!”. I feel like their words and presence were a physical reflection of how God feels about me and His never-ending encouragement.
God will always lift your spirit and also send people along your path to remind you of who you truly are. Later on that same entertainer commented under my picture with her on my social media that I am very talented and likable. It’s as if God wanted to repeat Himself and make sure that His belief in me was the last thing I heard on this matter. You could find a cure for AIDS, clothe orphans and get America out of debt…and someone will still find a way to complain and criticize you. The most important thing is that you know who you are in Jesus. Meditate on what God says about you. God will never make you feel bad about yourself in order for you to change. God will only love you into who you’ve always be destined to be. When people criticize you remember that you can never make anyone happy. Jesus was the most perfect person to walk the earth and people still complained and had issues with Him. So you better believe people will dislike you too! They don’t really dislike you; they just don’t truly know you. Most people barely even know themselves! Remembering that how others treat you is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves and how they think God feels about them. I pray for myself and you, that we can continuously see people (including ourselves) and situations the way God sees. It’s important to stay true to your inner being regardless of whatever negativity and toxicity that comes your way. Criticism stings (It does get easier over time as you grow more comfortable in your heaven-made identity.), but nothing stings more than living your life in fear trying to perfectly fit in all the cramped boxes religion, the world and every industry tries to stuff us in. Take a deep breath and remember that God, you and many other people are cheering you on.God will never make you feel bad about yourself in order for you to change. Click To Tweet