How to respond to someone judging or attacking you

I think one of the biggest obstacles we face as women stepping into our feminine leadership is the fear of judgment, criticism and getting attacked.

While some of our great-great-great-grandmothers got burned at the stake for being themselves and speaking out, we now have public shaming on social media. Women are pitted against each other in competition and caddiness as a result of a long timeline of mistrust and a patriarchal model of leadership.

As I’ve been making Sistership Circle more public, I have had to face this fear head on as women attacked and spammed my Facebook post, and the latest, a leader called me “deceitful” in an email yesterday.

It stung. It hurt. Even when I look in the mirror and know myself as a woman of integrity, authenticity and vulnerability, it’s still hard to brush off any negative criticism that comes my way.

So I feel it. Fully. And then I respond. Not react.

I’m not going to spiritually bypass by saying “I’m just letting that go because that’s her stuff.” That would be perpetuating the problem. I’m not going to write it off in judgment of being judged. That’s the old model of an eye for an eye, which only leads to blindness.

You may have been in this situation and stayed quiet. You may come across this in the future and wonder what you should do. So I’m going to lay out for you exactly what I did step by step and hope that this will empower you to speak up in the highest truth. To heal and love instead of judge and separate. To stand for something instead of suffer in silence. To be empowered and compassionate instead of disempowered and victimized.

1) Know the truth. Come from the truth.

The illusion is separation, judgment, criticism, disconnection.
The truth is oneness, love and connection.

The safe route is to shrug it off, blame it on the other person as “her problem,” judge her for judging you … all to make yourself feel bigger since you felt shut down.

But the truth is that this is you staying small, pretending to be big.

The bigger thing to do is to speak up and not withhold. The next step is to speak up in a way that is coming from love, compassion and kindness.

2) Get in the other person’s shoes. Look at this judgment as rooted in this person’s values.

Every judgment is the shadow of a value. I asked myself: why is she calling me deceitful?

I got in her shoes. Maybe she got burned in the past. Something happened where she got screwed. Or it wasn’t that intense but she witnessed someone being inauthentic and out of integrity and she decided to take a stand against it.

Her values are integrity and justice. We are on the same team.

3) Get grounded in the higher purpose you are committed to.

If you take the higher road, that road is based on a larger commitment. Mine is healing the sisterhood wound, creating collaboration and connection, and leaning into love. (I’m actually going to pin that on my wall as a reminder.)

This is the context I respond from. I don’t take this personally. I don’t get sucked into drama. I don’t get into an argument. And I definitely don’t make up a victimized story about it, hoping others will commiserate with me. I stand for something, my commitment to truth, love, joy and peace.

4) See her for her greatness. Speak to her greatness. Don’t jab below the belt.

When we are judged, we want to feel better by getting back. Defending. Protecting. Attacking. We feel bad so we want her to feel our pain. Or we ignore and numb out to feel better. But these are not sustainable solutions.

Instead, when we get in our heart space and speak to her highest, we get the most incredible response.

Think about yourself: there are times when you are in your ugly and you react. But that’s not who you really are. Who you really are is a good woman doing the best you can with what you have learned. So is this person attacking or judging you. So if you caught this person on a good day, who would she be? Speak to this beautiful, magnetic woman in her highest.

5) Take inventory and responsibility. Is there something that you can refine?

Get down to the essence of what she is sharing and see if there is some feedback that you can implement. Have her feel heard. Be willing to look at yourself in the mirror. Take ownership if there is anything that will make you better.

6) Be vulnerable. Share your hurt feelings.

This is the scariest part. You don’t want to open our heart to someone and show that it is tender when she just hurt you. But the truth is, she may have no idea that what she said affected you the way it did.

Most women are good women doing the absolute best they can with good intentions. Think about it, are you a good woman? Do you have good intentions?

I would think so. You are reading this article! You are committed to personal growth and women’s empowerment.

So when you share the impact that someone’s words had on you, she will most likely come back to love. That’s what I have found happens every time I vulnerably open my heart to someone.

This is the hardest part. But brings the greatest reward: LOVE.

I’m not going to share the email to protect privacy, but what I will say is that we came back to love and had a beautiful exchange. There is the possibility for future collaboration. And most of all, we walked our walk of feminine leadership in sisterhood.

7) Handling social media.

Social media attacks can be so impersonal. But with my Mastery Facebook post, I had to remember that they can’t see my face, they don’t know who I am. And so I can’t take it personally. All I can do is lovingly and compassionately respond, not trying to put them in their place, but help them understand. I’ve found that this is best done privately to take out the crowd effect.

Please share in the comments == >> Have you been attacked and chosen to be kind and compassionate instead of fighting back or disengaging in apathy? Is there a situation in your life right now where you feel judged by someone and want to respond instead of react?


8 Responses

  1. Tanya, thank you for sharing this story in such an authentic vulnerable way. Judgments and attacts unsettle me sometimes and i usually judge myself for being off of loving spiritual track. I love your perspective and commit to mastering it with people and situations that trigger me. Many blessings to you and your amazing work!

  2. Tanya, such amazing insights! Thank you for sharing. I’ve been learning this lesson–not to judge but to see through the eyes of love for SELF and others. It takes wisdom to to see beyond what a person did or said is happening for you, not to you. Love heals and transforms.

  3. As one who is now 58, this has been my path for decades – why I became a Rev. at Psychic Horizons less than a week before the Earthquake of ’89. Learning how powerful this is prior, via 2 examples I’ll share –
    First was in the 1970’s, walking alone in Central Park – and getting surrounded by 3 large men of a different race… without exuding a trace of fear, I engaged them in friendly conversation, and we had a lovely chat… healing all in this process of not tapping into some level of social fear.
    The 2nd was later around 1990, when my daughter was going to Kindergarten and a big 2nd grader wouldn’t let her on the tire swing and coming home so angry! Letting her – a 5 year old – know to put a big imaginary balloon covered with mirrors around her, and not getting mad back – as getting mad would keep her off that tire swing! Instead, any not-loving energy would just bounce off those mirrors. And 2 days later, she came home having not only been on the tire swing, but receiving an envelope full of groovy stickers given to her by that 2nd grader!!
    And this was pre-learning psychic energy – but having learned this principle from T’ai Chi – another way of teaching this lesson…
    The essence of dominating control is the fear that is hiding beneath it. Including all the woman healers who got burned and drowned, using the plants as their medicines! I could so go on… even Friday the 13th as once the lucky day of Loving Venus on that celebratory day of Moons in the year with women’s yoni cycles. Beyond this being a perfect example of repressed Shadow Energy of the Age of Pisces we have now left behind.
    But the essence, is our need to fully embrace the diversity among us: the bright side of our current evolutionary direction… listening, without fear. Interacting, without judgment… continuing to learn.
    with LOVE to all!! elisabeth

  4. Thank you Tanya, so relevant and so wise and so needed. I had a similar experience and met with the woman when the time felt right for us both. It was a beautiful heart to heart exchange. Thank you for holding the torch. Power of love! Yeah!

  5. Years ago when still a student in Japan, I kept experiencing drunks who approached me on the train or train platform and insulted me, even pushed me. Some even sat in my lap! Imagine that! In those days I was going to night school since the international division of Sophia University where I attended only held classes at night. During the day, the facilities were used by the regular Japanese university students in the Japanese language. Now the university has a separate campus for its international division.

    Finally things got to the point where I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I dreaded going out. I was experiencing a lot of fear and anger. I felt victimized.

    Then one day I got very mad at my situation. I made a decision not to be frightened by the drunks anymore. “I’m tired of being scared by drunks,” I declared. “I will never be afraid of them again.”

    That very day a strange thing happened. At Tokyo station on the platform I was approached by a middle aged woman from the countryside. I could tell she was from the countryside by the pattered blue pantaloons she wore and by the huge bundle on her back.

    She walked straight up to me and said, “I’m lost. Can you show me how to get to Ueno station?”

    I was very surprised since I was a foreigner, and there were very many Japanese around whom she could ask. How did she know I understood Japanese? At any rate, I was most happy to help her, and I even walked with her to the platform where the trains were headed for Ueno Station.

    And from that day on, almost every day I was approached by middle aged or elderly Japanese women from the countryside asking me for directions. One day I was with my Japanese friend, but the lost woman asked me, not my Japanese friend, for directions.

    My Japanese friend was astonished. “Why did she ask you an American?” she exclaimed.

    “Oh,” I responded, “That’s just the way it is. It happens to me every day.”

    Soon afterwards at night I was approached by a rude drunk. He said insulting things to me and came up very close to my face glaring at me.

    “Ok” I told myself. “I am no longer a person who can be intimidated.” And so it was.

    Instead I said to him in Japanese, “I understand that you are drunk, and I don’t blame you. You must work very hard every day working long hours at the company to look after your family. It is quite understandable that you get drunk sometimes.”

    As if by magic, the drunk man sobered up. Immediately he apologized saying, “Oh forgive me. I was drinking too much. I as sorry to have been rude.” Then of all things, he presented me with his business card. Now that was something unexpected!

    After that I set a goal of collecting 100 business cards from drunks who came up to me on trains or on train platforms. By the time I was in my mid twenties and had a small son I had collected my one hundred name cards. By then I was no longer worried at all when a drunk man came up to me on a train. I had become quite professional at the process. I kept collecting past the 100 goal.

    My last card I collected after I had gone to scold a man who had been particularly rude and out of hand when he first approached me on a train. According to his business card, he worked in a tall office building in the Akasakamitsuke area. I called him some days after our first meeting from a coffee shop downstairs. However, when he picked up the phone he said, “Oh thank you, thank you for telephoning. I didn’t think I would ever see you again. I am so honored that a foreign woman thinks enough of me to call me.” When he came down to the coffee shop for a cup of coffee, I hadn’t the heart to chew him out. Instead we chatted about his family and about his work over a cup of coffee. After that I decided I didn’t need to collect the business cards of drunks anymore. But I was never bothered again. Meanwhile as years went by the problem of drunks approaching foreign women on trains rapidly diminished (in Tokyo at least) as new generations of men with different mind sets appeared. On my last trip to Japan a few years ago, the men I met were quite gallant, but then again I myself am no longer a young woman.

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