Criticism comes in two forms. Constructive, which helps you grow. Destructive, which tears you down. Sad to say, but some people just don’t have your best interests at heart. They’ll throw barbs/knives/spears in your direction, usually to make themselves feel less inadequate in their own lives. But some people you love may also hurl destructive criticism at you, and that you may find hard to ignore. Just know this: you always have a choice when it comes to any destructive criticism.
If you believe the critics and the criticism, it has power over you.
Like anything in life, it’s up to you how much power you give people over you. You always, always, always live out what you believe. You need to be discerning about the kind of criticism you’re believing. If you aren’t, you’ll end up living your life by the words, fears, and/or limits of others. Choose not to believe in their power and they hold no sway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever: the only way to get your power back is to take it. So take it back.
If you buy into the criticism, it’ll slow you down.
If you take those words into your heart and mind, let them hang around and fester, they will start creating little seeds of doubt. You’ll start second-guessing your choices, your work, your own wants/needs, the direction your life is going, and on the list goes. You may even start to wonder if you know what you want and/or what’s best for you at all. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that self-trust is the first secret of success. I’d argue that self-doubt is the first step on the basement stairs to failure.
If you let the criticism wound you, it’ll stop you in your tracks.
Those others voices will drown out your own voice. You’ll stop listening to your own intuition. And then you’ll really be in trouble because you know yourself best. You’ve been living with yourself all these years. You are the closest and best friend you’ll ever have. Self-doubt plus an inability to hear your own voice guiding you will stick you fast and keep you stuck for as long as you refuse to believe in and listen to yourself.
If you choose to believe the criticism, you’ll never heal yourself.
The only way to get unstuck in your life is to start trusting yourself and listening to your own intuition. Your intuition is that little voice/feeling inside you that knows in which direction you want to be headed. It also knows how to get you there and will steer you toward what you most need to reach your goals. Your intuition will never berate you or tear you down; instead, it’ll always encourage you and help you grow. Thing is, your intuition can’t work at all if you can’t hear it and/or won’t listen to it. You heal yourself by listening for your own intuition again and doing what it says (and not what the voice(s) criticizing you says).
If you choose to reject the criticism, you’ll grow your self-trust.
You have permission (right now and always) to choose what you believe. You give that permission to yourself. Just like you get to reject any thought that comes into your head, you get to reject any criticism that doesn’t help you grow and move forward. Do yourself a kindness and make yourself the authority in your own life. You already are, by the way, now you just need to acknowledge it by being the one telling yourself all the good things you believe about your own self, your own work, your own chances, your own anything. You encourage yourself and speak strength to yourself and tell yourself what you most need to hear at any given time. You let your own voice be the one to drown out all the others in your life, which is how it ought to be.
And always remember what Theodore Roosevelt said in 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So will you take your power back and let go of destructive criticism today?