How to Stop Being Over-Sensitive to Criticism
Being oversensitive to criticism is painful, and it often happens when you have low self-esteem. Whether the criticism is justified or not, your negative view of yourself distorts the criticism in a way that either maintains the low self-esteem or exacerbates it. You may not be able to avoid other people’s criticisms of you, but you can choose how you respond to those criticisms. Indeed, it is imperative to desensitize yourself so that you can separate reality from fiction and can feel confident about your self-worth, regardless of what anyone has to say.
Four Ways to Stop Being Oversensitive to Criticism
Pay Close Attention to What’s Being Said
If you are oversensitive to criticism, it's important to really listen to what people are saying about you. Then you can evaluate whether their comments are founded in reality or not. Perhaps their comments are not critical in any way but you are interpreting them as such. It may also be the case that their criticism of you is based on their own insecurities. In addition, their statements about you could partly be based on how things really are and include exaggeration or something that is untrue as well. So be mindful of nuance. Taking the time to think about peoples' comments about you, instead of reacting with anger towards yourself, helps prevent criticism from crushing you.
Stand Up for Yourself
If you feel that someone’s criticism of you is unfair, don’t be afraid to say so (The Meaning of Courage, Anxiety and You). When you struggle with low self-esteem, it’s easy to get into the habit of just blindly accepting negative statements about you. But no one – absolutely no one – should automatically be trusted as an authority on the exact kind of person you are, this includes your closest friends and family members. Of course, you don’t want to get on the defensive and immediately deny every criticism about you in an effort to protect your self-esteem and pride. Developing healthy self-esteem is about establishing what is true about you and having the confidence to express that truth.
Be Proactive About the Criticism
Sometimes, being oversensitive to criticism hurts your ability to change. Paying attention to some criticism from others about you can often be a wake-up call. There may be some important truth in what they’re saying that you need to accept. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Okay, you have some blind spots, some faults, and some weaknesses. No one is perfect. You’re not an awful person destined for failure just because you mess up sometimes or could do things better.
A lot of criticism is intended to be constructive, so use it as such. Take the comments on board and take action in order to improve yourself. As a writer, I know how important it is to calmly accept the mistakes I’ve made. If I let every slip-up or fault convince me I was a terrible writer with no potential to grow, then I would never be able to follow my passion.
Let the Criticism Go
Whenever my self-esteem has been particularly low, I find myself getting caught up in this ridiculous and unhealthy pattern of replaying what people have said about me. I end up feeling anger and irritation towards both myself and whoever the person is who criticised me. Ruminating on comments that have upset you only leads to more upset. It makes you feel worse about yourself. There really is no point in revisiting the criticism over and over again, even if your mind tricks you into believing that this deserves all of your attention. You can’t change what someone has said about you. You can’t go back and deliver that perfect counter-argument you’ve devised in your head. The best thing you can do is let the criticism go. It’s in the past. You have to be able to move on quickly from criticism. By doing so, you can handle your faults with grace and your virtues with sincerity.
Woolfe, S. (2018, June 13). How to Stop Being Over-Sensitive to Criticism, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2018/6/how-to-stop-being-over-sensitive-to-criticism
Author: Sam Woolfe
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