The Fear Of Criticism

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The Fear Of Criticism



Why Do We Fear Criticism?

Criticism is the second face of Old Man Fear. This is a question that has almost as many answers as there are people to ask it of.  Everyone has a slightly different reason or a different person that they fear the criticism from. In some cases it is a family member or it can be a peer group and with some it is their competition. This fear manifests itself in different ways and is often disguised by what we refer to as ‘syndromes’. The ‘I Have To Be Right’, ‘I Have To Look Good’, and ‘The Little Man’s syndromes’ are all  examples of different aspects of the fear of Criticism.


We Fear Criticism Early and Often

We begin our fear of criticism early on in life, often as a result of comments that our parents make. It is easy to criticize a child and all too often, well intentioned people do just that. The criticism will range from regarding the child’s words or actions as humourous to making dispiriting and denigrating comments tied to the child. They will laugh at the child’s attempt to do grown-up activities or scold them for being stupid. Many people, including parents, don’t understand that criticism has a profound and undesirable effect on all individuals but especially on children.


How People Respond To Criticism

Criticism cannot build love and it cannot cause people to improve or change any more than a club can be effectively used to rule a group of individuals. All criticism can produce is fear and resentment. It is this fear that drives individuals away from the source of the pain. Spouses will avoid one other and children won’t want to spend time in an environment that is poisoned by criticism. People in your employ will be evasive and always ‘look busy’ whenever you are nearby. Given the chance they will find something to do somewhere else.


If I Don’t Have It, I Will Die

Fear of criticism is used extensively by marketers and advertisers to continually sell the ‘latest and greatest’ even though in reality the new model may be at best a marginal upgrade over the one that we already possess. It is really only in the last few years that anti-consumerism has gotten any traction,  and the result has spawned a whole new industry of providers of ‘green’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘additive free’, and ‘recyclable’ items that we must have because well, the Jones’s have one. God help us if we don’t have one.


Criticism Causes Bizarre Reactions

Because our fear of criticism is so strong we will do all sorts of strange and odd things to avoid experiencing it at all costs. I have seen perfectly rational individuals in all other respects do some really bizarre things to ward off criticism. Some people freeze up and would rather be paralyzed than to be seen doing the wrong thing. Others turn into the most detail oriented perfectionists and produce at a snails’ pace but everything is made to rocket science precision even when it clearly isn’t required.


It Is All About Me

Some people will generate fanciful tales in which they have done great things just to not appear to be found wanting in any respect. We all know of people, some of us have seen them in the mirror, that will spend well beyond their means just to put out a certain appearance. People in certain professions feel that they have to look a certain way or they won’t be taken seriously at their jobs. Clearly, the ‘need to look a certain way’ that drives people to copy a genre of clothing or style is nothing less than fear of criticism. We all want to fit in and society has created many terms for those that stand out. Oddball, off the wall, way out there, fringe person and outlier are all terms used to describe those that don’t subscribe to the code of no white shoes after Labour Day.


Dare To Be Different

In reality they have a huge leg up on the rest of us. For whatever reason,  they have chosen to ignore or have learned to dim their fear of criticism. Think of the benefits that gives. No mad scramble to do what everyone else is doing. You don’t need a tat, piercings, smartphone, hybrid car, teeth whiteners or a certain detergent to clean your clothes to be able to live. What a relief. Think of the value there. What if we could talk to anyone anywhere about anything? Without fear of what they thought? No danger of feeling snubbed, rejected or sneered at ?


Set Yourself Free From The Fear Of Criticism

It’s all very possible. And it is really pretty easy to do. We all know people who don’t care about the vehicle they drive, the place they live in, the clothes they wear. They seem to possess an inner confidence that allows them to carry off the impossible. They have poise and it is hard not to feel just a tad jealous about how much simpler and easier their life seems. For us,  it is really a matter of deciding that we won’t allow our fear of criticism to rule our lives. Pick something small to start with. Delay buying the latest thing everyone else has and you might find that the desire to have it goes away. Don’t be conned into buying a new car for another year and quit stressing if every corner of your yard doesn’t look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens.  If someone asks tell them exactly what you are doing. Take back your life and put the boots to Old Man Fear and his nasty Fear Of Criticism.


Till Next Time….

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Sigrid McNab

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About Sigrid McNab

Sigrid McNab is the author of #1 Amazon Best Seller, speaker and the CEO and Founder of Sigrid specializes in blogging, attraction marketing, and generating highly qualified leads. Sigrid teaches people how to build a successful online business.

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4 Responses to “The Fear Of Criticism”

  1. Will Mitchell Says:

    Looking back at how much I used to fear criticism, it is easy to see how much it can destroy your potential. I heard a great quote once that 80% of business is exposure, and a fear of criticism is poison to comfort with exposure.

    Awesome post!
    Will Mitchell recently posted…3 Steps to Validate Your Business Idea For FreeMy Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    Hey Will, Thanks so much for your comment. Labelling fear of criticism as poison is an apt description.



  2. Michelle DeMarco Says:

    Great stuff here. One of the biggest things we need to learn in life is humility so we can actually HEAR the criticism sent our way. Sometimes it is unwarranted, but at other times, we can learn and grow in valuable ways. Even something that seems trivial – we have to realize that how others perceive us whether true or not can mean we need to take a look inside and see what needs to change.
    Michelle DeMarco recently posted…Are You Nuts?My Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    That is so true Michelle. Sometimes we are so busy avoiding criticism, that we are not open to open, honest feedback. Or that darn ego gets in the way!



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