Do You Feel Threatened When You’re Criticised?


  • Author Elaine Sihera
  • Published August 19, 2022
  • Word count 298

Personally, I don’t, because I’m a very confident person. I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, and often that opinion is based on just fear being projected outwards to other people to justify those personal anxieties. Additionally, criticism tends to become threatening only when it is perceived as a form of rejection or put down.

In a family or work situation, it is perfectly natural to feel uncomfortable with criticism, because any kind of criticism, no matter how innocuous and friendly, suggests rejection, not approval, and everyone seeks to be accepted, validated by their actions and to belong. If the criticism is harsh or lacking in empathy, it becomes doubly hard to bear, especially for someone with low self-esteem, less confidence and little self-belief; one who might believe they have given of their best in the process which is still found to be faulty.

Some people also believe that we learn something from being criticised, regardless, whether it is constructive or not. But we don’t. Once the criticism is not constructive, many people stop listening to protect their ego and self-esteem. This is why they continue to repeat the same patterns of behaviour, or aspects of it, regardless of how much they might be criticised about it, often as a form of defiance, or an unwillingness to accept the criticism.

If you feel threatened by being criticised, learn to distinguish between constructive and destructive criticism. There is nothing to fear from constructive criticism that has your interest at heart; one that seeks to develop and expand your potential even more. But destructive criticism does nothing for you - the type that simply finds fault with whatever you do. Try to avoid it where possible, and not let it influence how you think of yourself.

Elaine's articles and podcasts provide bitesize answers to the nagging questions you might have been afraid to ask! She places emphasis on personal confidence and empowerment gained through knowledge, and achieving cherished dreams.

Elaine Sihera, speaker and author, is a graduate and doctor of the Open University with a Postgraduate in Education from Cambridge University

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