I once heard an interview with the famed Material Girl herself, Madonna. She was explaining how she can get thousands of compliments and have millions of fans, but it’s that one person who makes a comment criticizing her work that she listens to and frets over.
One negative comment over countless adoring comments is the one that gets Madonna’s attention.
Constructive criticism can be a good thing, even if it may be hard to hear sometimes. Looking at ourselves objectively is how we grow and evolve as long as it isn’t used as bait to hold ourselves back.
The good news is, Madonna’s critical complainers don’t seem to be holding her back from being the artist she was clearly born to be.
Maybe it’s because even though Madonna focuses on that one critical person, her inner voice that inspires her to create and be who she is is louder than any one voice outside of her.
And thank God. I’ve enjoyed countless nights of dancing with my besties thanks to Madonna’s songs. And I still to this day enjoy Vogue’ing. In the car, at home – it’s really my signature dance move. Life wouldn’t be the same for millions of people had Madonna not pursued what she felt called to do.
This is the work of our lives: to have the inner voice of inspiration and authenticity become the loudest voice we hear.
I’ve seen and felt it myself: the pull to do something but the voice of fear or self-doubt drowns out the inspiration.
Sometimes it’s not even the comment we receive but the idea that we may receive a disapproving comment that stops us dead in our tracks of authentic expression.
I felt this way when I knew in my heart of hearts it was time to close the kids yoga studio I had worked so hard at opening and sustaining.
Questions raced in my mind: What if I disappoint the teachers? What if I let the kids down? What if people think I failed? What about all the work I put in?
Deep down I knew having the yoga studio was not what I wanted for my life. Not because I didn’t believe in it, but because it was no longer the most authentic expression of my soul.
I don’t regret opening the yoga studio because it lead me to priceless clarity. (And of course all of the invaluable relationships I was able to form. And all the kids who fell in love with the practice of yoga and meditation. That was the greatest blessing of all.)
Closing the studio – though I argued with myself for a while about it – lead me to the conviction that no matter what, the voice I must listen to above all else is the voice I hear in my heart.
My inspiration for opening the studio was loud and clear, so I followed it. And it lead me to something I wasn’t expecting: a deeper understanding of myself.
Happiness is elusive and joy is haphazard when we do things for the approval of others or to stay safe.
But following the instructions of our hearts? This is where true fulfillment rests. This is where we give ourselves the chance to ride the rollercoaster of life with arms up screaming out the song of our soul.
There will be highs, there will be lows, and it’s all inching us closer to the truth of who we are.
We don’t know what’s really going on behind the scenes when we do something, start something or pull the plug on something. We are all connected, so while answering the voice in your heart may feel very personal, it affects all of us too. And when it’s authentic it’s always for the highest good of everyone.
Surrendering to the voice of your heart may not look conventional. It may not be approved of by others, but when did we decide that was the point?
Before giving anyone else any say in what you do, make sure you’re inner voice volume is on high. Listen to what’s stirring inside of you. Listen to the whispers of your heart. What is it saying? What does it want you to know?
And if you can’t hear it, sit still. Get quiet. Take time out of your busy day to honor the conversation your heart wants to have with you.
Turn your inner voice volume on high and share with the world the most authentic version of yourself that you possibly can. The perceived failures, the perceived successes, we need it all. It’s all bringing us closer to what’s real and true.
You can raise your inner voice volume at our monthly circle this Friday, 10/18. It’s also a perfect place to take in the sweet deliciousness of the present moment. Register here:
We can’t stop others from judging or criticizing us, but we can stop it from interfering with our plans.
We can decide what “they” say or what we think “they” will say isn’t going to be a factor in how we show up for our hearts and how we express our authenticity in our lives.
So, here’s to all the authentic inspiration you can handle, the highs the lows the in-betweens and the pointy bras. When you live from inspiration and authenticity you inspire the rest of us to do the same.
Lots of love,