Deflect criticism by nurturing your three-faced self

How do you want others to see you? Are you showing the real you in public? Is it bad or hypocritical if you show a more restraint or more jovial version of you to other people?

The Japanese proverb tells that a person has three (3) faces: One that they show to the public – their public image; the second face is one that they show to their friends, family and close ties; and the third is their true selves – one that is hidden away from everyone else.

Often times and for many people, that third face is a gross sight to look at, what with the furrows and lines of life experiences and lessons; of wars and liberation; of pain and joys and memories burned and abandoned. In Astrology, our three faces are characterized by our Sun Sign, Rising (or Ascendant), and the Moon.

The Ascendant sign is our public face – one that is shown to random people who we meet, strangers and who do not know us personally. The Sun sign – the main zodiac that we are assigned at birth, shows our 2nd face, the face that is familiar to our families, friends and close allies. The Moon sign is our hidden face as it guards our thoughts, emotions, fears, desires, motivations, our instinctive drives and reactions. The Moon sign represents our innermost selves.

Know your Sun Sign, Moon Sign and Rising Sign here>>

Protecting our personal space and identity
Now, there are times when we are confronted with the decision to bare our soul, to show that side of us that is remained hidden. It stems from the need to be accepted, to be appreciated for what we are sans the fancy and frills.

If that is the case – STOP!

There is a reason why we have 3 faces. Think of the faces as protective layers. The two outermost layers are exposed to other people’s judgement, mirroring and projections. The third one, under wraps and must remain off-limits.

If you are a sensitive person like most empaths are, it may do you good to show only your two faces – one at a time as you establish a certain level of comfort with other people you are connecting to. But keep your third face to yourself, make it your safe sanctuary. Retreat to it safely but ever empowered when someone “attacks” you or “passes judgement” on you.

3 faces

Strengthening yourself by acceptance
Are you your own worst self-critique? Do you self-sabotage yourself? Do you find yourself at the receiving end of criticism, of false mirroring and projections of others? I can relate to that!

There was a time when I would question my self-worth each time someone criticized me, and the worst part was, each time would leave me broken that I when I rebuilt myself, there would always be that part of the critique imprinted in me. That was how sensitive I was and people wanting to get close to me said felt they were walking on eggshells. Some would be harsh and poke my sensitivity; some were kind enough to consider the sensitivity. Nonetheless, criticism for some may not be taken lightly. After all, it is like an attack to your character. Some stranger judging you as if they know you! No way! Yet, it stings nonetheless.

How do you handle criticisms? A common advice is to not take them personally. I say, I categorically agree.

I agree that criticisms must NOT be taken personally because they are mere manifestations of how others perceived you through their lens. Their lens is imperfect, mind you. This lens has been fabricated from their own experience, own perspectives that are shaped by how life has treated them and how they handle life. Minus self-awareness, perception of the self and that of others is most likely flawed or skewed.

There is no perfect mirror, so to speak.

Ergo, it may be beneficial to listen to others’ perception of you – but not to take them in personally. Quite tricky, I know. But it is both saving you from being slighted, while at the same time learning about yourself as you relate to others. Let the criticism just seep in superficially and extradermally. It is the outer skins – the two faces by which people are likely to be assessing you. They have not gone deeper and it is best not to allow them by reacting from your core.

So how do you react? Walking away and drawing boundaries are taking the high road, as always. Making clear to the critic that their opinion is solely theirs is also suggested.

In my opinion, the best is to acknowledge the statement made (different from validating it) by saying “Thank you” or “I hear you”, then leave it as is. In this way, you neither agree nor disagree, yet, you remain receptive to learning whatever lesson, if any that can be gleaned from the jab.

Beware of projections
Some naysayers, nitpickers, or simply rash in judging other people may need some internal workup. But we won’t go into that. Let us focus on how we can deflect someone else’s projection on us so that they do not hit us to the core.

The key really is to keep our self-esteem intact, no matter what. Or build it and fortify it by accepting ourselves, warts and all. We will polish our own mirror and appreciate the reflection that we see in it. That is our face, that is our smile, that is our frown,that is our smirk, those are our lines and wrinkles; our freckles or scars or spots; that is our hair, that is our body, those are our parts and our entirety.

Instead, be our own fan and our own constructive critic. Be our own censure but do it with uttermost respect and love.

It is not unusual that the people we meet project their frustrations on us; they criticize us for behaviors or traits that they are unaware that they have (and must have hated). They may see in us what they refuse to see about themselves. This projection should be their problem, not yours.

Your inner self is what connects you to the Spirit, to the Divine and to your higher self. Nurture it with respect and allowing it to stay in high vibration. Be mindful, be self-aware and choose to be happy.

Related reading on BOUNDARIES by Darlene Lancer »

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