Some people let criticism slide off their back. I’m not one of them.
It’s taken work and years as a writer to develop a thicker skin, and the ability to tune into what’s actually going on when I’m feeling criticized.
Harmless words can take on a life of its own when it’s rooted in childhood hurts. Critical parents, peers and authority figures can shape the way you perceive your life, forever. Even a small slight can easily domino into criticism of your worth. I know someone haunted by his teacher’s statement that he would never amount to anything in life. He’s still taking it to heart, fifty plus years later.
While it’s still one of my greatest challenges, I’ve learned a few tricks to stop things from developing further. Being curious about where the criticism is coming from and from whom is important. If you can dissect the situation logically, then you’re less likely to build drama around it. It’s quite possible especially with email and texting these days, that you could unnecessarily construe a situation as negative.
It’s also important to ask whether what’s being said is helpful. If the person is honest and trustworthy and what they’re saying sort of rings true to me, I’ll accept it as helpful information. On the other hand, if criticism comes from a person who is consistently critical, intentionally hurtful and what they’re saying sounds wrong to me, I’ll just as easily let their statements go.
Someone might accuse you of being a narcissist, question your decision to go to therapy or go on medication, but regardless of what someone tells you and how judged you feel, remember to never give someone the power to decide your potential or your self-worth.
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