Blog Festival | Criticism: Let’s not focus on the negative | by Chantel Netimah

Criticism is an essence form of feedback that isn’t necessarily ‘bad’ as we may think but that also isn’t necessarily the truth either, but is something that most of us struggle with in some way. We all have our sore points which we may not be aware of until someone says something that no matter how evolved and confident we think we are, we temporarily get reduced to feeling like a child, or feel embarrassed, or feel like we’re not good enough.

Criticism speaks to a part of us where we’re already self-criticised, may have insecurities, fears and concerns lurking about. Even if we’re not exactly critiquing ourselves on the specific issue that a critic brings up, the occurrence of the criticism may chime with this idea that we’re inadequate and that there’s Another Thing for people (or us) to find fault with.

Criticism can actually be a very useful form of feedback because true, partly accurate, or false, it’s either going to give us an insight and even a lesson on ourselves. I’ve had someone make a comment at me, that for a few minutes or so until I pulled myself out of my wounded trace, I felt embarrassed and even ashamed.

Guilt, embarrassment, shame, and inadequacy are what criticism often triggers especially if as a child you had more criticism than hot dinners, reassurance and encouragement. You get used to criticism and feeling bad. As the years have gone by, I’ve learnt how to deal with, bounce back and grow out of criticism because seeing all criticism as bad or true, meant I wasn’t sorting the wheat from the chaff and able to actually hear, receive, and give feedback. There is something we forget; when we’re criticised, we often focus on the negative feelings and we get all sucked into that ‘I’m not good enough’ vortex of thinking. We assume that the existence of these feelings equals that the person is correct.

Not every thought is fact; so not only does it mean that not every self-judgment is fact but you also shouldn’t be quick to assume that everything that comes out of the mouth of others is fact either.

You also need to be careful not to take too much criticism on board as well as perceiving people not agreeing with you or doing what you want or expect as rejection, plus if you have people-pleasing inclinations, you already have a negative bias so are primed to let in information that chimes with your outlook while ignoring evidence and information that doesn’t matter.

Sometimes, someone may be so caught up in their own perspective that they don’t truly see you so they may actually be criticising themselves. Some people are just shady critics – they get a kick out from trying to make others feel small about themselves. Don’t give them their kicks.

Criticism is just one person’s perspective, not a court order. So never let it bother you. Take what you need, learn from it, discard the rest and live happy.

About Chantel Netimah
HR Personnel, Makeup artist, Writer and Enterpreneur. Optimist and Food lover! Connect on Instagram @chantelmartha and beauty page
Twitter: @mchantel

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