For the fourth episode of The Thrive Global Podcast, in partnership with iHeartRadio, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington sat down with a true force of nature. Glennon Doyle Melton’s ability to connect, to create intimacy, and her fearless honesty both about the highs and lows of her own life, her marriage, and her relationships have created a devoted following.
This is why the online community she founded, Momastery, reaches millions of people each week and why her two books, “Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing your Messy, Beautiful Life,” and her 2016 memoir, “Love Warrior,” became huge bestsellers. She’s also an activist, a person of faith, and the founder of Together Rising, a nonprofit that’s raised over $7 million for vulnerable women and children.
Huffington started by asking Melton about the role of women in our country right now. “You’ve written that what the world needs in order to find peace is to watch one woman at the time live her truth,” Huffington said. “Being a woman and being truthful can be both provocative in our political climate right now. What advice do you have for other women who might be feeling discouraged ?”
Melton acknowledged the challenges, but said that it’s imperative that women not go silent. “There’s never been a time when it’s been scarier to live out loud, to speak and use your voice as a woman,” Melton said. “There’s also never been a time when it’s more important for women to use their voices and speak their truths and their hopes and dreams for themselves and their families and their country.”
When a woman speaks up and uses her voice, there will be backlash. There will be criticism. It will be brutal and personal. It will hurt. And it will also be extremely predictable.
Melton compares the backlash to the process of checking your mailbox. A majority will be junk mail and the first category will be about your looks.
“People will tell you that you’re too fat, you’re too ugly, you have too much cellulite, you’re too skinny, you’re too zitty, you’re too whatever,” Melton said. “We can throw all that way. Junk mail. Throw it away.”
The second category is about comparing how we are with other people. Women view success through their relationships.
“People know that’s where they can get it,” Melton said. “You are a crappy mom, you’re a crappy wife, you’re a crappy girlfriend, you’re a crappy sister, you’re just terrible at all of your relationships.”
“The only people we take feedback about our relationships is from is the people with whom we’re in relationships,” Melton said.
The third category will be attacks on your personality.
“You’re too dramatic, you’re too emotional, you’re too cold, you’re too whatever to use your voice,” Melton said. “Irrelevant. People don’t say that to men, right? The criticism to men who use their voice is about what they’re saying. The criticism to women who use their voice is whether or not they have the right to say anything at all.”
And the fourth category is the most important because it’s 20 percent of your mail. It’s the mail that you don’t throw out. “This is the criticism that you take with you and you snuggle up with it,” Melton said.
It’s criticism that pushes you towards the big ideas.
“Twenty percent of it will be directly related to what you’re putting out in the world, Melton said. “You need to be smart enough to get rid of the 80 percent and you need to be strong enough to hold on to that 20 percent.”
This is the stuff you need to pay attention to. “Listen to what other people are saying,” Melton said. “My job is to then be humble, be open, be soft, and when people are talking to me about my ideas, let it sink in. Let it become part of who I am. Allow that to make me a better artist and a better writer and a more informed activist the next time I speak out.”
Melton’s advice to women: Know and expect what’s coming. Know how to get rid 80 percent of that criticism before you even take it in your house, and then courageous enough to really wrestle with the extra 20percent .
Download the podcast here to learn how you can thrive more like Glennon, and be sure to stay tuned for more episodes of The Thrive Global Podcast, featuring business mogul Mark Cuban, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jennifer Aniston.