Criticism is something that everyone will encounter at times in our lives. Generally, we have been raised and taught that this is a bad thing, it is something that happens when we are doing something wrong or bad and, though that is a truth, it carries a stigma of shame for many of us. We do everything that we can in order to avoid criticism in our lives, including avoiding difficult or challenging things in our lives just to avoid criticism in our lives. The real problem here is not in receiving the criticism, but how we internalize and deal with it and that is something that we can change.

    The basis of criticism is a method to point out the faults in our actions and behaviors in order to allow us to realize and have the ability to change them. This is a positive thing when you actually think about it. All the internal work we have been doing has been aimed at finding those perceptions, filters, and mindsets that we have that are getting in the way of us achieving our dreams. Criticism is just an external version of that and can be just as beneficial to our journey as the internal work that we are doing. Seeking out criticism from those that we respect and admire is a wonderful way to learn where we might be wasting effort or going about things in a non-productive way. It allows us to analyze those behaviors and choose if we want to change them. If we don’t know about them, then we don’t have the ability to change them and since we have our own perception filters in place, they might be something that we just don’t see. Therefore an outside perspective is immensely valuable.

    The problem that we have to face is that we have been taught to catatrophize when we hear criticism. Catatrophizing is a behavior that can be seen in people who have PTSD in all its forms and is a state of mind where we take in stimuli and can only think about the absolute worst case scenario that could come out of it. For example, many people catatrophize every time they go to a public bathroom, fear of getting some life threatening disease causing them to use paper towels to open doors and doing whatever they can to not touch anything. This is a massive amount of effort to avoid an outcome that might occur once in a billion or more situation.  Life rarely if ever gives us the worst case results of anything in life. Results can range a spectrum, but we are trained to catatrophize whenever we hear criticism. If we are criticized for our work by our boss, we immediately jump to thoughts indicating we are losing our jobs. If we maintain these thoughts of it being the worst case scenario, we can actually make sure that it happens as we spend our time focusing on that outcome and what we focus on we realize in our lives.

    Instead, we need to learn how to take criticism and make it work for us. We need to change the way that we think about it and use it as the tool for our own betterment that it is intended for. This, as with our other changes to our perception, is going to take active analysis and self critic to accomplish, but it will means that we live in a space of self improvement instead of one in constant fear. This also means that we need to learn how to give criticism is ways that are actually productive and uplifting instead of degrading. More self growth and active self analysis there as well, but well worth is again as we can change the world around us by concentrating on changing those things in our sphere of influence and our behaviors and outlooks are solely within our personal spheres.

    It is time to go to those we respect and trust and ask for criticism in order to effect the self growth that we strive for every day.