Lately, I have been on the positivity struggle bus. I bought into a self-managed condo property managed by idiots. I’m stuck with an upstairs neighbor straight from hell. I believe she looks like and shares many similarities with Pam Hupp in that show Renee Zwellegger called The Thing About Pam. This idiot decided to install hardwood floors without using the correct underlayment and soundproofing material. 

So, I’ve literally been listening to her walking, talking, coughing, sneezing, etc., for almost 3 years because this idiot happens to be on the board, and the rest of the board refuses to enforce the bylaws that they created because they are friends with her. By the way, I’ve got audio and video evidence, which is even more frustrating when you’re dealing with folks who subscribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” type of mindset. 

My home literally looks like a hot mess right now because I’m having work done on my ceiling to help I can help reduce some of the noise that I’ve been hearing from the nutjob upstairs while I’m working through the legal system to get a resolution to my situation (check out episode Ep. 207). Trust and believe, I’ve been hosting more pity parties than I care to admit because none of my circumstances currently make any sense to me.

Even though the last thing in the world I feel like is joy, I’m doing my best to be like David and encourage myself. I don’t like feeling like I’m just letting life happen to me. I’ve got to go on offense.  One of the best ways to accomplish this feat is to identify all the ways that people will attempt to steal your sparkle. Having this intel is going to place us in a better position to protect ourselves from internalizing all the negative thoughts that prevent us from recognizing that we are a child of the Most High God. If we fail to see ourselves the way God views us, we run the risk of missing the plans that God has in store for us. 

I definitely don’t want this to happen to either of us, so let’s dig into the top 5 ways that people will try to steal your sparkle:

1. Criticize you for no reason

There is a huge difference between constructive criticism and criticizing without a reason. Constructive criticism is meant to build you up. “Hey, I noticed XYZ, I think if you did ABC, you can and then share the benefits they can expect by doing what you said. Constructive criticism is helpful. It places the recipient of that advice in a position to reduce the time it takes for them to experience success. 

The number of people in this world who know and provide constructive criticism is shockingly low. For one reason or another, there are a lot of people out there who take pleasure in tearing folks down, not building them up. They do this because your success is a reminder of their failure to take action. So it’s a lot easier to nitpick at your efforts to achieve your dream, hoping you will give up your desire to pursue your endeavors. 

Life is way too short. Do not allow their insecurity to rub off on you. One of the ways that you can protect yourself from this happening to you is by protecting your time. Folks who want to steal your sparkle 

2. Don’t like it when you say no 

Time is a scarce resource. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s not coming back. Seeing that there are only 24 hours in a day, I go above and beyond, making sure they are spent with people I enjoy and activities that will aid in my desire to live an extraordinary life. 

If someone shares an “opportunity” that isn’t aligned with my values or goals, regardless of who is asking, the answer is no. Depending on the approach in how I was asked to participate in the opportunity, I may give an explanation as to why, but I don’t feel obligated to do so. No is a complete sentence.  

Often, people will share “opportunities” that only benefit themselves. For example, as a podcaster, I get pitches all the time from folks seeking to promote their product, service, book, etc. On purpose, I don’t do a lot of interviews. I’m fiercely protective of my audience. I’m very selective about the people I bring on this show. I have an image that I want to project, and I’m not about to risk my credibility by bringing on anyone to the show that I don’t feel can provide the value I seek to provide my audience. I find myself saying no almost every day to interview requests for a variety of reasons. 

Sometimes, I’ve already had someone on to discuss that particular topic, and other times, it’s clearly evident that the person pitching to me hasn’t taken the time to research my topics or listened to the show. Now by no means am I saying that I have arrived, but I’ve been fairly successful because I’ve stayed true to my show’s mission, which by the way, is how I end every episode, “ If you’re everything to everyone, then you risk being no one.” 

You cannot be successful by saying yes to every opportunity that is proposed to you. Doing so is going to cause you to look one day look in the mirror and not know who is staring back at you. Will your reflection be the person someone else wants you to be or who God created you to be? 

If you’re going for who God wants you to be when you say no, be prepared that hearing no will trigger some to act passive-aggressive towards you.

3. Passive aggressive 

In case you’re not familiar with the term passive-aggressive, this means that someone is acting upset or distant towards you, but instead of being an adult and telling you, they expect you to come to them to figure it out. 

I’m telling you right now, this approach does NOT work on me. If I know I haven’t done anything to warrant your bad attitude, I’m staying away from you. There isn’t a single person in this world whose friendship is worth me playing guessing games with as to why they may be upset with me. I am an adult. I will let you know if I have an issue–you definitely won’t have to guess! Life is way too short for this type of behavior. I’m NOT about to play Jedi mind games in order to keep a relationship alive. That’s work I’m not willing to do. I’m not on your schedule.  I will not hop when you say hop or jump when you say jump.  I’d rather save that energy for things that really matter in life. I want to focus on accomplishing my goals, but for some reason, certain folks would much rather I allocate my time to bless their mess.

4. Want you to bless their mess

In case you don’t know what I mean by this, it’s when someone comes to you for advice on how to deal with a situation. This person wants to take an action that is flat-out wrong but is truly hoping that you will agree with their decision. You tell them what they should do, and they get upset because your advice doesn’t coincide with what they want to do. 

They get mad at you because you failed to bless their mess. Listen, if you’re going to ask me for advice, I’m going to tell you the truth. I don’t want people making unnecessary mistakes. Not on my watch. I want us all to win. This is why it’s incredibly unfortunate when I come across people who choose not to celebrate my wins.

5. Not celebrating your wins 

It never ceases to amaze me how we can accomplish our goals or see something beautiful, and someone will have something negative to say. If you let this type of person stay in your world, they will bring you down. There are enough people out there willing to tear you down already. Trust me, once you spot a two-faced person, immediately kick them out of your circle. Again, life is too short for this type of nonsense. 

So, why do people act this way? It all boils down to 3 reasons. Insecurity, jealousy, and laziness.

Your success reminds them of their failures. They would much rather place limitations on you instead of encouraging you to go higher. For example, I work a full-time job, I host this podcast, which by the way, is a one-woman show–I do everything, producing, editing, all the things,  I do voice-over work, I teach English on Sunday mornings, and I’m working on two projects I can’t really get into much detail about right now. 

Now, that may sound like a lot to some people. Trust me, it’s not for me. I’ve been juggling multiple jobs and activities since I was a teenager. It’s just second nature to me now. Sometimes, I’ll share my list with folks and there’s always two camps of folks: 

  1. That’s awesome; how do you have time for it all and ask for advice so they can up their game, or the folks that try to act concerned and warn you that you’re going to burnout and shouldn’t do name XYZ…this is really this person attempting to project their limitations on to you. I will not receive that person’s suggestions because I know it’s not coming from the right place. 

It’s coming from jealousy. you’re success reminds them that they aren’t working hard enough towards their goals. Your achievements came from hard work and Instead of working hard they would much rather complain and hope the world will adjust to them instead of putting in the work to remove the obstacles that come their way.

As James 4:14 says, our life is like a vapor, appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Seeing that our time is so finite, if you have someone who you suspect is trying to steal your sparkle, you need to let that person know they are on notice about how their behavior makes you feel. If they change, great; if not, then let them go. 

This advice applies to family members as well. If they aren’t acting like a mom, dad, brother, sister, cousin, or whatever, remove them from your world until they act together. Otherwise, you run the risk of their negativity, causing you to feel less motivated about pursuing your goals.

Don’t dim your ability to shine just so you can keep someone who obviously isn’t meant to be in your world. You need your light at full strength so you can attract the right people in your life.