4 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Criticism

Recently visited with a childhood friend. He’s working two full-time jobs and looked exhausted and unhealthy. He’s stressed and falling into depression about his circumstances. He talked about not having time to spend with his family and friends. He doesn’t have the time or energy to workout, so he’s gained a lot of weight. When I inquired about why he was working so much, he said it was to be able to afford his mortgage. I then asked if he had to work two jobs to afford a house, would he consider selling it and moving into smaller house or an apartment. That way, he could downsize to one job and then have ample time to workout and spend time with his family and friends. He stated, “I don’t want to look like a failure and make people think I couldn’t afford my house.” O_O

Last year, I met a 70 year old lady that had a part-time job at a booth in the mall. She retired a few years ago, but then bought an expensive car. When the payments became too much for her pension, she had to get a job in order to make the payments. She was stressed and overwhelmed because she never thought she would be working at her age. When I asked, “Why not just downgrade to a cheaper car and not have a job?” She said, “I don’t want my children to know I bought a car I couldn’t afford.” O_O

It takes COURAGE to live the life that you want to live regardless of public opinion and perception. If you make a mistake, it takes COURAGE to change the direction and correct that decision, regardless of how many people will say I told you so. However, some people are willing to live in the mess they created, and would rather suffer the consequences for their decisions (which can be reversed) than suffer the pain of being criticized.

When we are scorn and hurt by criticism, I equate it to carrying a wheelbarrow full of bricks. When someone throws a brick (criticism/opinion), it strikes us in the face or stomach and falls in the wheelbarrow. This happens again and again and not only are we in physical pain and bleeding (emotionally), but we also have scars that haven’t been healed, so there is a stinging pain of residual past hurts; all while carrying the heavy wheelbarrow. *If you feel heavy or find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, you may be carrying a wheelbarrow.*

Worry comes when we want to avoid a brick. In an effort to avoid incoming pain from fresh bricks (criticism), we just reside in our current pain, scarred and damaged, while carrying endless weight that causes unhappiness, stress, anxiety and depression. Some people are so heavy and bogged down with bricks, that they start self-medicating with alcohol, prescription and/or illicit drugs to numb themselves of something that can be remedied with a DECISION.

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote a chapter on the “6 Ghosts of Fear.” He stated “Worry is a state of mind based upon fear. It works slowly, but persistently. It is insidious and subtle. Step by step it ‘digs itself in’ until it paralyzes one’s reasoning faculty, destroys self-confidence and initiative.”

**This is the magical part, please pay attention**

“Relieve yourself, forever of the fear of death, by reaching a decision to accept death as an inescapable event. Whip the fear of poverty by reaching a decision to get along with whatever wealth you can accumulate without worry. Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say. Eliminate the fear of old age by reaching a decision to accept it, not as a handicap, but as a great blessing which carries with it wisdom, self-control, and understanding not known to youth. Acquit yourself of the fear of ill health by the decision to forget symptoms. Master the fear of the loss of love by reaching a decision to get along without love, if that is necessary…. Kill the habit of worry, in all its forms, by reaching a general, blanket decision that nothing which life has to offer is worth the price of worry. With this decision will come poise, peace of mind, and calmness of thought which will bring happiness.”

I read this paragraph every night for months until the concepts were understood, practiced and became the norm. It takes time to change habits and create new neuro-pathways in the brain, so repetitious information is the key to lasting change.

When I finally mastered the criticism part – I dropped the wheelbarrow, put on some Neosporin and ran for my life!!! IT WAS THE GREATEST GIFT I EVER GAVE MYSELF and my wish is to share it with you.

I have also accepted that we all have our own crap. Sometimes people are criticizing you from their position of strength in a certain area, but also have a vast number of weaknesses in other areas that may be considered your strength. A person may offer criticism on how a healthy person should manage their money, but will turn around and eat a large pizza and half of a cheesecake at one sitting. Hmmmm….

In an effort to analyze where you are, the following questions are offered from Napoleon Hill :

  1. Can you name three of your most damaging weaknesses? What are you doing to correct them? Do you encourage other people to bring their worries to you for sympathy?
  2. What is your greatest worry? Why do you tolerate it?
  3. When others offer you free, unsolicited advice, do you accept it without question or analyze their motives?
  4. Who among your acquaintances
    a. encourages you most
    b. cautions you most
    c. discourages you most
    d. helps you most in other ways

Make a list and then if you choose to, work on amending some things and people in your life to create the change you desire. We can’t make it out of this life alive, so why not give it all you have today to make the most of it while you are here?

Are you carrying a wheelbarrow? Does the fear of criticism affect your decisions? What are some things you can change today (regardless of criticism) to make your life better?

Christy Rutherford, an Executive Leadership Strategist, trains leaders on long-standing leadership principles to assist them with realizing their full potential and increase productivity. She also coaches Type A leaders who are suffering from burnout, which impacts their performance at work and home.

Download your free workbook: “Success Roadmap – 7 Powerful Ways To Get Clear On The Results You Desire” at www.christyrutherford.com 

Check out the programs designed for you to manage your stress, reduce anxiety and significantly improve your life while you work to make a living. www.christyrutherford.com/programs

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