3 Reasons why criticism affects you badly

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why criticism hurts

Ever wondered why criticism is so hard to take?

Ever wondered why can a negative comment affect you badly but never affects a friend of yours?

A friend of mine asked me once how to get over emotional sensitivity, I told her: Once you know how to handle criticism, negative comments won't affect you even if you are emotionally sensitive.

In this article I will tell you why criticism hurts and let you know how to prevent critical comments from hurting you.

3 Reasons why criticism affects you badly

Here is why criticism hurts:

  • 1) You mistakenly connected the negative comment to a wound: We humans are always biased towards our beliefs even when they are incorrect, as a result; whenever we get criticized we quickly try to connect the negative comment we got with one of our wounds. If three people were rejected in a job interview then the one who doesn't like his looks will believe he wasn't accepted because he is not good looking, the one who doesn't believe that he is smart will believe that he was rejected because of his low IQ while the one who thinks that he is boring will believe that he was rejected for that same reason. In fact all three could have been rejected for completely different reasons than the ones that came to their minds but because we humans are biased towards our beliefs we usually interpret rejection and criticism incorrectly
  • 2) You never took the human nature into consideration: One of the site's readers contacted me and told me that she feels so bad because a friend told her that she is not pretty. After further investigation we found that her friend was jealous and she just wanted to put her down. In other words, people who say negative things about you aren't always right but they sometimes try to put you down out of jealousy or even hatred (see also Why a negative friend might find you unattractive)
  • 3) You gave a different meaning to the words you heard: If someone told you that you are incompetent because you didn't do a certain task well then this doesn't mean that you are incompetent in general but it might mean that they wanted to tell you that you could have done better. Criticism hurts because we give different meanings to the words we hear and the situations we go through. I know a friend who used to believe that a person who moves their eyebrow while talking to him is a person that dislikes him! When we examined that false belief together we discovered that he had been interpreting words and messages incorrectly throughout his life and that's why he always felt rejected

See the real world

If you want to prevent criticism from hurting you then you must see the real world. If you have been looking at life through your wounds lens, then it's time to drop that lens and see reality. (see also How your wounds affect your perception)

Learn how to understand the intentions of the people you deal with; know how to interpret their words correctly and criticism won't affect you the same way it used to.

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Want to know more?

Why do some people criticize others?

How to deal with people who criticize you

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