Feb 252013




So many ask me how I deal with negative criticism and character assassination, and I struggle to explain that while I’m usually thrown into a deep well of self-doubt by it, I’m also mindful that there are gifts to be found in it all.

I got some help defining this duality from Pema Chodron this morning in Things Fall Apart (thank you , Jen!). She describes a sign pinned to her wall that reads: “only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”

There you go. That’s it. For you Buddhists, (Chodron is a brilliant Buddhist Monk) that should explain the gift  painful input offers.


For Christians, it helps me to think of the posture that the Christian faith requires. As an extreme introvert, my natural posture and comfort zone would be roly-poly style – all curled up with my vital organs  (heart, brain, lungs) shielded by my appendages. But Jesus encourages me to spread my arms out, raise my chest, and leave myself wide open for crucifixion. And to straighten my spine at the same time.


And for those of us who prefer to keep our explanations out of the spiritual realm . . . here you go.






And Lovers Gonna Love.





Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  93 Responses to “Why It Hurts So Good”

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  5. There are definitely numerous details like that to take into consideration. That may be a great point to deliver up. I supply the thoughts above as basic inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you deliver up where crucial thing can be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged around things like that, but I am positive that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impression of just a moment�s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  6. I love this article. It’s so inspiring. I just did a post today that was the most honest I’ve ever been about motherhood. I was so worried about the negative criticism that might follow. It felt so good to be so real. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  7. Love this. Ultimately you can only control you, not the haters. So hold that head up high and position yourself to smile! This is how I do it:

  8. Thank you! Of course for the laugh, but also for the encouragement. I’m still a roly poly but I’m trying… Reading you makes me feel less alone and I love you for that!

  9. Remember “It’s not the critic who counts.” via Brene Brown (Daring Greatly) via a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 :).

    • love your teddy r!… “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities – all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness.” so profound!

  10. Clearly, I am a Lover who LOVES that ridiculous dog. 😀

  11. I don’t mind criticism. I really don’t. The rejection part of it still sting, but nowhere near as much as it did at one time. I learned these things about criticism (and dealing with it) long ago —

    ‘Don’t mind criticism; if it’s untrue, disregard it; if it’s unfair, keep from irritation; if it’s ignorant, smile; if it’s justified, learn from it.’ — unknown

    ‘Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.’ — Winston Churchill

    I’ve found that the best way to deal with criticism is to make the decision to detach emotionally from it and instead think critically about it.

    Criticism rarely is the enemy; our reactions to it more often are an issue; once we learn better how to deal with ourselves and our emotions and calm and soothe and talk to ourselves (talk ourselves down), then we become much more inwardly peaceful and much better able to deal with criticism.

    If you’re not being criticized, you’re not really living. A person can easily avoid criticism by saying nothing, doing nothing, standing for nothing, being nothing.

    Or as Winston Churchill said, ‘You have enemies (or critics)? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.’

    Here’s a link to an article that might be helpful. — http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-criticism-well-25-reasons-to-embrace-it/

  12. Really? You are an introvert?!?! Thanks for sharing!

  13. If you related to Pema, try reading her book Wisdom of No Escape. She’s one of my favorite teachers.

  14. Way back when my husband and I started dating, my husband used to say — a lot — “You gotta take the good with the bad.” He’s right.

    Lovely post.

  15. My favorite way to explain this is through the Hindu God Ganesh – Ganesh liberates through obstacles, change & upheaval. Love the words “liberate” and “obstacle” in the same sentence.

  16. “When Things Fall Apart” stays in my bedside table drawer, to be reread and reread and reread…a gift from a sermon by my wise Episcopal priest:) Now looking forward to checking out “Quiet”

  17. Somebody did a study with job applicants, where they had one group spend two minutes before their job interview in a “power pose,” and the other group spend two minutes in a “submissive pose.” Then they studied how the interviewers perceived each group of applicants. No surprise that the “power pose” folks scored higher on every positive measure… and more of them got jobs.

    The thing that amazed me, when I was reading this article, was the “power poses” themselves. They were not leaning forward, arms crossed, aggressive stances. Rather, they were positions of vulnerability: Leaning back, chest open, arms wide, legs spread, hands behind head revealing neck, etc. The “submissive” poses included arms crossed, hands over neck (my favorite protective position) or mouth, leaning forward, etc.

    The power poses are not “aggressive stances.” They’re stances of vulnerability. Arms spread open.

    Vulnerability is power. How beautiful is that?

    • My sweet hand holding Heather of the Fire Escape.



    • Heather — That is simply BEAUTIFUL. I was picturing myself in that “power pose,” and I realized I can be feeling one of two things. Either I’m sitting that way because I DO feel confident, or I’m sitting in that position because I want to PROJECT confidence. And if it’s the latter, I feel so very vulnerable. Love this.

    • Love this, Heather :)

    • KATHERINE. I know, right? What’s amazing about that study is that the study volunteers weren’t told to use the pose *during* the interview. It was *before* the interview, before they even met the interviewer. But somehow the interviewers sensed more confidence and competence from the folks who had held the “power” poses before the interview.. Somehow, simply opening up into vulnerability made them *behave* with greater confidence… without even consciously trying.

      Sorta like when we let ourselves feel vulnerable and open… in the end it makes us stronger. It gives us power. Even when it feels really really really really really really scary at the time.

      And by the way, Glennon. You got a new name on Sunday: Mother Superior (you knew that already). And so did I: Heather of the Fire Escape. I will wear it like a badge. It’s my Monkee name. I can’t tell you how much safer I feel in this world having met you. To know that someone like you is for real fer real. I don’t think I really quite believed it until you pulled me tight in like a sister and held me. Thank you.

  18. All refining, innit. Long as we keep trying to work in gold and silver, right?

  19. As always, spot on! Oh love the new shirts!!! Great job on them! cant wait to order the “love wins”! Been doing a bit too much (ok way too much) shopping this early in the pay check so going to hold off until next week, but I will be living in this shirt very soon!

  20. This really speaks to me today, G! I’m a “pastor’s wife” and have been having a very difficult time lately with critical, gossipy people in my husband’s church. I think your post goes well with the verses I read this morning in Psalm 92 (Translation: The Message by Eugene Peterson):
    “But you’ve made me strong as a charging bison,
    you’ve honored me with a festive parade.
    The sight of my critics going down is still fresh,
    the rout of my malicious detractors.
    My ears are filled with the sounds of promise:
    “Good people will prosper like palm trees,
    Grow tall like Lebanon cedars;
    transplanted to God’s courtyard,
    They’ll grow tall in the presence of God,
    lithe and green, virile still in old age.”

  21. Glennon, I have been thinking of you and mulling over your post today. Also, bought the new Josh Groban CD today and was taken immediately with the first track called ‘Brave’. Give it a listen. Prayers to you and yours.

  22. Only you could make me chuckle to myself on a day like today. Thank you.

  23. Beautiful post. It reminded me of what my therapist and I were talking about today in terms of trying new ways of living. He told me to think of how my daughter learned to walk and what that looked like. There was lots of falling down, but she was determined to learn and it was natural to grow and change. I like to imagine that as I open myself up to the world and live more honestly, though there will be times it inevitably bites me in the rear, I will eventually be able to do wonderful new things like running…and who’s to say I won’t even soar?

  24. Damn, I needed this today.

  25. It isn’t a coincidence that this is the precise piece of wisdom that I needed to hear at this exact moment in my world. Love it and love you. xo

  26. G,
    That picture at the end of your post just made my day :-)
    Much love to you today.

  27. you freaking CRACK ME UP!!!! :) love you!

  28. Have you seen what your fellow introvert/writer/blogger friend Rachel Held Evans does? Turns criticism into art… http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/origami-hate-mail. I love this.

  29. Glennon, my mom had a sign in the kitchen that said, “People can only get your goat if you tell them where you left it tied up,” or something like that. The problem is, your goat is right out there in the open. And people can throw stones (or boulders) at you and your goat from their own little perfect glass houses, like Yifat did a few comments above mine. It takes courage to do what you’re doing. And I mean all of it — the blog posts, the public speaking, the grief over the loss of a marriage, the day-to-day joys and trials of being a mom, and the struggle of reconciling your beliefs with the reality of a situation that you could not completely control. And you do it all with a sense of humor and grace that many of your critics do not possess. When my son was little and being teased in school, I told him to use his words. Later I checked in with my husband to make sure he had told him the same thing. He replied, “Yup. I told him to say, ‘f-you, a**hole.’ That’s using his words, right?” I admire you for not saying that. You’re allowed to think it sometimes, though. :)

  30. Yes yes yes. And amen. Immediately reminded me of the Mary Oliver quote,
    “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

  31. I truly believe that “when haters hate” – especially when they’re being judgmental about a decision YOU have made about your life (and your marriage – of which only the two of you REALLY know what happened) – that it’s because those people are projecting their own fears onto you and wish that they could be THAT strong about making tough decisions in their own lives. Thank you for being so real Glennon and for being willing to put it all out there on the table. Sometimes we have to do hard things. Indeed.

  32. Thanks! In the LDS Church we talk about this too; how we have trials to refine us and make us more Christlike. We learn to love each other (and ourselves) more with all our experiences if we keep a long-term perspective and rely on Christ to strengthen us. Phillipians 4:13 says in the KJV that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Carry on, warrior(s)!

  33. I really needed this today. In the last few weeks, I have had a parent who seems to take pleasure in attacking me personally and professionally. There has never been a time that I have put more effort into trying to help a student be successful. The more I do the more she expects but is not satisfied with any effort I make. It’s difficult not to take it all personally and I have spent several nights curled up in tears, trying to figure out how to float above it all. I have finally come to the conclusion, I can only do my best and take care of my end of things. I cannot make her happy or relieve all the issues that she herself has. I need to focus on my student and let the Mom take care of herself. That is my resolve for this week. I hope it works cause the pain and stress of the last few weeks is awful.

    • Can you involve another party from your school? Counselor, Dept. Head or Principal? Some times we can be tempted to bend over backward to help a child/family when they can’t help themselves. You have done the soul searching and there are no more answers in you, so then it may be time to rely on others if the problem persists.

      • We are all working together. She just seems to target me among the teachers. The 504 director and the guidance counselor are on board and keep telling me that I am doing everything I can. I just am not used to all the negativity. Usually, I’m the teacher that some how can reach the kids and help them. Not sure what is happening in this case. Just really hard to swallow that it doesn’t seem to be working this time. He is now off of a multitude of medications and seems to be focusing much better and doing better in class. I just hope the Mama sees it too.

  34. Perfect. Thank you. I loved scrolling down to the pup. He made me smile.

  35. Yes, I know I will thank them. It’s so hard when being wronged. I used to EXPECT everything to be good. All of it. Bad things shouldn’t happen to me. When something wonderful happened, it was marred and tainted if there was something bad that was also in my life. For example, I received a fabulous accolade and business was booming, but then I have a daughter hurting, really bad. It took a bit of the shine off of the good thing. But I have finally come to a place in my life where I KNOW that’s just life. God never said life was easy. He just said that He would be there with me. Walk with me. And I can handle that now. I visualize life as an obstacle course. There are good things and there are bad things. It’s how I deal with them that defines me. I don’t want to be the delicate flower that can’t handle adversity. Glennon, your deep, raw trial, your walking-through-the-fire period that you are going through, all the while experiencing the largest professional “high” that someone can experience has been a life lesson for me and I know many others. Please know that God is working through you, however painful that may be, and you will emerge polished so smooth and so strong. We are all praying with you and for you. Lifting you up. Thanks for your messages.

    • Brenda, excuse me while I fly my geek flag, but there’s a great quote from the BBC show Doctor Who that your comment reminded me of. “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” <3

  36. hmmm. yes. looked around your new design and poof, the man you had your kids with is out of the picture(s). well, you do what you have to do I really hope you’ll be happier

    • I just can’t, for the life of me, figure out what this comment has to do with anything or how it is constructive in the least.

    • Yifat, it’s no secret here on Momastery that Glennon and her husband are going through some rough waters. That being said, G has recently updated her whole page, which means a whole new format. It wasn’t just her family pics that have been taken off the old webpage — the entire page has undergone a make-over. New colors, new categories, new links. Notice no pics of her babies on this page either. It’s not just Craig that is missing.

      Give the woman the benefit of the doubt. Yes, the debut of a new blog format would be the perfect time to put up some new, up-to-date family portraits. That is, if everything on the family front were rosy and there had been time to take any. We know neither has been the case. A season of storms on the family front is probalby not the appropriate time to criticize a woman about her lack of happy family photos.

    • Even if Glennon is making a move to rid HER blog of certain pictures, we need to remember that it is HER blog. We are guests here. She has always opened her arms and loved us like family, but we are still guests and not really owed anything more than she is able to give.

    • She mentioned (a few posts ago?) that he husband and her children (as they grow older) are entitled to a little privacy of their own and an opportunity to share their lives when they wish…..

      • Yifat, I am sorry if you are hurting sister. Sometimes when we have our own judgments and/or our own fears about relationships we accidentally project those onto other people, that have their own journey, separate to ours. It’s hard to access those judgments and fears because sometimes we have to dig deeply – and that can be painful. I admire Glennon (for many reasons) but one recently is her bravery and courage, and “daring greatly”. Glennon is opening her arms wide, not only to criticism from others, but to claiming her own power and shining her own Light. That doesn’t require any family photos – that’s all Glennon. Hugs

    • Yifat, Wow, your message is so hateful. I actually feel sorry for you that you must feel so insecure with yourself to so blindly accuse and judge another woman who I’m am guessing you have never even met in person. That glass house you are living in must be shatterproof. Are you married? Do you have 3 children with the love of your life, the person you have trusted and entrusted your entire life to? And has that man told you something that is so life altering you don’t know how to make sense of your marriage? Im guessing not. I’m guessing you have never been through any of that. What positive contribution are you making toward the goal of thIs blog or promoting women supporting each other through the most difficult times in heir lives? You have passed judgement on a woman who has lived out loud, opened her heart and whole life and has literally saved womens lives by her truth. And NONE of us, following this blog know what Glennon has gone through to lead up to her seperation. She has remained a class act by not outing the issue that is there and, its NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. Until you have walked in those shoes, supported thousands of women, and have 63000 followers of your own, take the hate elsewhere. My mom always taught me to be nice, be nice, be nice until someone you love is being hurt unfairly. And then, you don’t have to be nice. Go back to your own sandbox and stay there. You don’t share nice.

  37. Pema goes right to the heart of things, AND walks the walk. Excellent quote.
    You would probably like Tenzin Palmo too, and be fascinated by the book about her, called Cave in the Snow.

  38. Glennon, this resonated SO strongly with me. I’m an introvert too (something which seems to amaze friends who haven’t known me that long) and I’ve learned to put on a functioning outside face which presents as cheerful and positive and extroverted.

    This last week, I’ve been trying SO hard to be POSITIVE! UPBEAT! YAY ME! with the release of my self published book on Amazon. Up up up! Yay yay yay! Until one night someone left a snarky comment on my blog’s facebook page. I said to my sweetheart that doing this is equivalent to standing naked on a table yelling “like me” when I’m still trying to learn to like myself. A couple of nights ago I lay in bed crying because it’s hard. It’s so, so hard. But I needed to read this today and as ever I’m thankful for your words on a day when I’m struggling. Love to you.

  39. Love you. Love Momastery. xoxoxo

  40. This helps me: “It’s absurd to divide people into good and bad. They’re either amusing or tedious.” -Oscar Wilde

  41. Love this, G! I don’t know a whole lot about Yoga but have recently started practicing it. One of my favorite positions is the back bend. Like you, I also find that I want to curl up and protect myself from the hurts of the world but back bending forces me to open wide and let love, light, and laughter in. It’s nearly IMPOSSIBLE for me to do a back bend without smiling or even laughing. It’s probably out of your comfort zone to open up and expose yourself this way but give it a try!

  42. Love the picture! So true. You are so funny! Thank you so much.

  43. Best Buddhist mantra in my life “may the best outcome prevail”. I say this over and over again when I am struggling with something. May this be the same for all of us!

  44. Smiles.

    When I receive painful feedback, I *try* to ask myself, ‘what part of this is true and do I need to embrace’ vs. ‘what part of this is garbage and I can flush.’ Sometimes people are acting/speaking out of their own pain and I realize it’s their issue. Sometimes I realize there’s something in there that God is trying to get me to look at. That’s why David, in Psalm 139:23 says, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” I like the Psalms because they’re not specifically Christian (so Jews and Muslims don’t feel left out) and even for the non-spiritual, it’s great poetry.

    *try — the operative word. Sometimes I just want to kick something and pout a while.

  45. Very thankful for a safe place to be built back up. Love to you today and thanks to all the monkees. I guess that means I could thank the ones that tear me down like it’s their job but to be honest I can’t. Is it close that I am thankful for where I am, the growth I’ve had and my support system? Love, M

  46. hey girl! so how about this for crazy?! <i know that's a loaded statement for this group 😉

    i attended the service at the church in charlotte before your faith forum there, and the minister's sermon was all about having the posture of a hen, with our chest out, ready for crucifixion, and keeping our heart open for christ's love to come into it. he showed a pic of a hen on the overhead projector and then stood with his arms open just like you! i got goosebumps knowing how you had talked about it friday night at the gathering!

    i was like, "okay God, i'm listening!!!" he can be such a nag 😉

    loved this weekend soooooooooooooo much! i'm a better everything today because of you! xoxo

    • Where’s the “like” button?! I love your comment – “”okay God, i’m listening!!!” he can be such a nag” That is so perfect! I feel that way sometimes too. :)

  47. Word!

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