In a new interview with the Los Angeles TimesBen Affleck opened up about his public perception, specifically how his kids have been impacted by the media’s depiction of him.

Affleck recalled some “really good advice” that a therapist once gave him about how to deal with criticism. 

“This was 2003 or 2004 and I was really struggling,” the two-time Academy Award winner explained. “People were just writing vicious, awful, hateful stuff about me all the time and it really started to affect me.”

Affleck continued, “The therapist said, ‘What I find about criticism is that if you can look at it honestly and take in what resonates with you, then the rest of it you can let go.’ And that was a process that got me into directing and gave me the confidence to start doing that.”

As for how he feels about his kids finding out how the media portrays their father, Affleck said: “I got to a place where [the public perception] was so different from who I am that I just stopped reading and stopped caring. But then, as my kids got older and started seeing the Internet themselves, that’s the difficult part.”

Affleck went on to address the “Sad Affleck” meme, which went viral in 2016 after an interview the actor gave with his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice co-star Henry Cavill.

 “Even the ‘Sad Affleck’ meme – that was funny to me,” he recalled. “I mean, there’s nobody who hasn’t felt that way at a junket. But then my kids see it and I think, ‘Oh, are they going to think their dad is fundamentally sad or they have to worry about me?’ That’s really tough.”

Affleck shares three children – daughters Violet Anne, 16, and Seraphina Rose, 13, and son Samuel Garner, 9 – with ex-wife Jennifer Garner. The couple began dating in 2004 and married a year later. They divorced in 2018.