Who likes to be criticized? Being the highly sensitive person that I am, the scary feeling of being judged is intensified. The pain of being humiliated come to mind.
I had a grammar school teacher criticize me in front of the class. It had a long lasting affect about the way I felt about school. I was afraid to go to class and was never a good student. I wrote about this experience in my book, Making Sense of Your High Sensitivity.
I can still feel the “sting” of being criticized, but I’ve learned to work with it. I’ve done this through studying self-help information, going to seminars, and learning from life experience.
The fear of criticism hurt me in many ways. I had a lack of self-esteem, it hurt my creativity (a highly sensitive person strength), it stifled my ability to take initiative, and it discouraged me from taking risks.
The most important lessons that I have learned include:
(1) To question whether the person making the criticism is qualified to make the criticism.
(2) What is their motive? Do they want to help or hurt you?
(3) Is the criticism true? If it’s true and the person has your best interest at heart, what can you learn from this experience?
(4) People who wrongly criticize others build themselves up by tearing other people down. Nobody has the right to do this! It’s our responsibility to not let this happen.
Through a better understand of myself and others, I’ve increased my self-esteem, I’ve been able to channel my creativity as a writer, I’ve taken the initiative and risk of starting my own business, and have written a book about my life as a highly sensitive person and the lessons that I’ve learned.
How has criticism affected your life? What have you learned from the experience? How have you benefited from this? What do you still need to learn?