Fear of criticism is very common and can destroy your life. Learn how to disarm it in a holistic way and enjoy a happy life.
What Is Criticism
Criticism is a kind of judgement, mainly of the merits and faults of the actions of an individual or group by another person (i.e., the critic).
To criticize, does not necessarily imply finding fault, but its general meaning implies the simple expression of an objection against prejudice or disapproval.
Moreover, criticism may also mean the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature, social movements, film, arts, and similar objects and events.
It is called "critique" then. The goal of this type of criticism is to understand the work perfectly and thoroughly.
The Most Common Kinds of Criticism
I have to point out that the kinds of criticism do not exhaust the list. Some kinds of criticism are very common and hence, I added more explanations to them.
It is an objection raised about an idea, argument, action or situation on the ground that it does not make rational sense. For example, someone can say that your decision of moving out has not been based on logical assumptions.
This kind of criticism is an objection or appraisal of the type, that something "does or does not work" in practical reality, due to some reason or cause. For example, it may concern your method of upbringing your children.
It is an objection raised about an idea, argument, action or situation on the ground that there is something wrong with the evidence of the known experience relevant to it. Often used during trials at courts.
It draws attention to a good or positive aspect of something which is being ignored, disregarded or overlooked. It is used in the sandwich technique of feedback in corporations.
It voices an objection to something only with the purpose of showing which can be simply wrong, false, mistaken, nonsensical, objectionable, or disreputable. Often used by unaware parents or teachers.
Its goal is to show that the purpose of something is better served by an alternative approach. In this case, criticising does not necessarily deem wrong, and its purpose is respected. Rather, it is claimed that the same aim could be better achieved via a different route.
It aims at destruction - by humiliation or embarrassment (at work or school, family). It destroys self-confidence, giving no information on how to improve the situation.
It is defined as the tendency to engage in negative self-evaluation that results in feelings of worthlessness, failure, and guilt when expectations are not met.
The Less-Known Kinds of Criticism
Public and private criticism
Fear Of Criticism
Fear of criticism simply means "being afraid of any kind of criticism (Hence, it induces several psychological challenges. I have described them below. Moreover, fear of criticism can become a phobia in the case of people with a social anxiety disorder (SAD).
How Does the Fear Of Criticism Manifest In Life
Here are some most common kinds of how the fear of criticism manifests in an average individual's life:
Absence of poise. Feeling good about himself/herself, they will stand and maintain a posture of relaxed gracefulness. However, if they have received much criticism, then nervousness in voice tone, body control, and posture will appear, especially in the presence of others.
Shyness. Timidity in expressing themselves becomes second nature. Why? Well, who wants to show themselves, thereby exposing himself/herself to anticipated criticism? "If I stay hidden, then I will do or say nothing which can be criticized," is the unexpressed belief."
Belief in one's general inferiority. In other words, "inferiority complex." If someone's words, habits, actions, feelings or thoughts had been criticized in the past, these individuals believe in being more unworthy than other people. Unfavourable comparison to others is a subtle form of criticism. It is done by saying "Why can't you behave like your _______?"
Lack of ambition and initiative. "Why try anything if it is just going to be criticized," becomes the attitude developed by people who have experienced lots of criticism. They do not assert their own ideas, desires or preferences, or needs, but wait for others to "make the first move".
Panic attacks. Sometimes the fear of criticism becomes a phobia because of feeling like being under attack and being killed by someone. Individuals with social anxiety would like to avoid all situations where there is even a small likelihood of being criticized.
Fear of Criticism - Holistic Approach
Fear of criticism is mostly considered an emotion or attitude. These are two of the four aspects which define holistic wholeness only. Very few people perceive this fear as broader.
For example, being afraid of criticism can be imprinted in your DNA and by cellular memory, you can experience your ancestors' fears. On the spiritual level, your soul, having gone through many incarnations, learns some traumatic lessons and now knows what kind of criticism can endanger his/her current life.
The Reasons for Fear of Criticism
Most people fear criticism. This fear originates in childhood if parents, teachers, and other important adults were overly critical. As children, individuals believe in what they hear and imitate what they observe.
A child's brain is in a state of constant hypnosis (theta waves) by the age of six or seven. If what he/she hears about himself/herself is critical, this individual believes the criticism to be true.
pain - of being rejected
personal or public humiliation or even mortification
questions your self-esteem and self-confidence
All these negative consequences of criticism mean that you may feel like a social outcast, unwanted and unworthy. It is a big trauma because the need for relations is one of the three major needs, being alienated.
Why The Fear of Criticism Is Toxic
Fear of criticism is so common that many people have accustomed to it and do not notice how toxic it is to dread criticism. Avoidance for the sake of not being criticised becomes second nature.
It may work in the short run. But ultimately, negative consequences of avoidance will take their tall:
1. It stops you from growing and evolution
Avoidance because of the fear of criticism limits your choices and opportunities to grow. For example, you cannot learn the lesson of forgiveness not being hurt by caustic critical remarks about your work, family, or personal issues.
Being afraid of criticism will not teach you assertiveness, either. Your inner strength will not manifest in your current life so your soul contract may be more difficult. Because of evolution, it is inevitable to face criticism, in this or some next lives.
2. You do not live fully
As aforementioned, avoidance limits your choices and opportunities. You also do not fulfil all your dreams or talk about them to your friends who might have helped you with realisation.
At the end of your life, regret and bitterness of lost opportunities will become very common. Is it worth the trouble to resign from a fully happy life just because someone criticises e.g. your hairstyle?
3. It robs you of high self-esteem
Avoidance because of the fear of criticism depletes you from high self-esteem. You avoid something because of having low self-confidence and believing in the criticism faced before. Standing up for yourself and realising self-esteem is the remedy for the robbers.
4. Fear of criticism minimizes your personal initiative
Avoidance means that you will be afraid to show your brilliant ideas to a group of co-workers or business partners. It will also inhibit your family life as, e.g., you might not show your preferences for going on holiday or the colour of paint on the walls during renovation.
How To Handle Criticism
Once you know why the fear of criticism is so harmful, let's handle it. There are two stages of the process to follow checking the facts and taking action. The second step of the process includes some techniques. You can use one of them or combine more tools.
1. Check the Facts
As I wrote above, criticism may not be destructive and also the probability of it varies in each case. It is also beneficial to learn more about your fear.
1.1. Define Who Criticises You
Let's look at these facts: you approach your family member in the morning and later and your boss. What do you think: do they criticise you in the same way? Probably not.
Each of them pushes different buttons and the consequences also vary. This analysis may take some time at first but once you learn more about your fear and the criticism itself, all the next cases will be easier to tackle.
1.2. Decide What Kind of Criticism They Use
Answer some questions and do it in writing, using your holistic journal or diary.
Is the criticism constructive or destructive?
Does the critic give you a solution for the issue that is considered "wrong"?
Does the criticism concern your professional skills or the chores at home?
How professional is the critic in these fields?
How serious is this criticism?
1.3. Learn More about Your Fear
Now, look at your fear. Use your diary again and write the answers to another set of questions:
What is the worst thing that would happen if someone criticised you?
Will you really die of it?
What memory from the past has instilled in you the fear of criticism?
In which cases do you dread criticism the most and why?
Now, when you have met your fear more, you can take action to tame it efficiently.
2.1. Avoid Avoidance
Firstly, decide that you are strong enough to face any kind of criticism and avoidance is not an option.
A strategy of avoiding criticism is more damaging than you think, and the benefits of avoidance will not be greater than the pain. Rather, it will make you weaker, not the criticism itself, and you are losing opportunities to learn life lessons.
2.2. Seek Improvement - in All areas of Life
Secondly, focus on your growth. If you take action and start working on your flaws yourself, the fear of criticism will become invalid.
You may still make mistakes but after deciding to learn the lesson they are just temporary falls while you master the skill.
Improvement and willingness to work on your flaws have to concern each area of life: relationships (family, co-workers, neighbours etc.), health (physical, emotional and mental), career, and creation. Do not forget about your spiritual growth.
2.3. Control the Swelling
You will never avoid the sting totally. However, it is your job to minimise the swelling. Here are some ways in which the swelling can be less venomous and painful:
Disarm Inner Critic - use some probing questions (e.g. "How probable is this criticism?") and snippets, e.g. "Stop it!" "To the stove!"
Pacify Your Negative Thoughts - try using snippets, substitute the fearful thought with another one, e.g. about your strength (e.g. "There is no evil stronger than my light. Whatever happens, I will handle it." stop dwelling on your past swellings, rather treat them as immunisation to future criticism.
Tame Your Emotions and Body Reactions - Use your body to vent your fear (breathing, exercises, dancing, singing), mindfulness or meditation).
2.4. Strengthen and Protect Your Aura
A strong aura is a must to face the fear of criticism which does not infect you so much then. Here are some tools that you can use:
Take a bath in sea salt.
Smudge your house with white sage.
Walk in the rain.
Chant mantras and write affirmations.
Expose to the sun and visualise Divine Light cleansing your aura
Wash your hands before any work with aura. Sit or lie down in a peaceful, undisturbed place. Close your eyes.
Imagine your hands combing each subtle body, starting from the physical one and massaging your aura. them let Divine Light fill in the clean space.
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2.5 Practise Skills
You will not avoid criticism but developing some skills will help you to control the swelling (e.g. being more effective with disarming the fear and criticism itself). What to work on?
setting boundaries in a relationship
learning some questions disarming the critic
taming the fear (thoughts, emotions, behaviour)
In a Nutshell
Today I have shown you how to handle the fear of criticism. You have met the enemy and have a couple of ways of taking action to tame this fear. Good luck with using them and enjoying anxiety-free life. Lots of love and light,
Vicky is an experienced holistic writer and coach that inspires, motivates, and encourages everyone to become the best version of themselves - physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The content of Awaken Happy Life is published for educational and informative purposes only. It does not substitute medical or any other professional advice. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition. The author of Awaken Happy Life is not liable for any consequences of applying any piece of advice published on this website by the reader.