I was driving when I almost collided with an old lady on a scooter.
I know – my bad.
I slammed my breaks.
We made eye contact, and she shook her head at me.
Honestly, it was burned into my mind for weeks. I felt like a bad person.
But I eventually realized: she didn’t know who I was. She only knew the projection I put into the world. She saw me as a reckless driver and nothing else.
To other people, you’re like a character in a book.
So when you recieve criticism from someone, know that they’re not criticizing you – they’re criticizing what they can see about you.
As Derek Sivers puts it, they’re criticizing the public you:
They’re not talking about me. They’re talking about a cardboard cut-out that looks like me. A little online avatar with the same name as me, but is not me.
What people say about you – positive or negative – is based on their reference point.
It’s not the truth.