Fear, My Dear Friend
You have to fight your fear, you have to play with fear and you have to make it a friend – because the next time you find yourself identifying with a fear – you know it’s challenging you. A friend who is calling you to play, and to go past your boundaries you’ve created, but only to break. A friend who is asking you to win.
Do you like to be criticized? I bet no one does. In an ideal world, you might thank the critic and use the remark for your own good - positive outlooks and wonderful relations. But do we live in an ideal world? I’m pretty sure we don’t.
Criticisms hurt. No matter if it’s coming from your closest friend or a complete stranger.
Criticisms that hurt the most are the ones we are either not aware of, or the ones we know, but we never accepted it. Let’s go back in time. Did someone tell you that you’re stupid? Dumb? Rude? Loud? Quiet? The loudest person would have felt as attacked by being termed loud, as the quietest person by being termed quiet. Because, it’s never the nature of the feedback that hurts us the most, it’s the dagger of criticism that has the capability to cut through and expose us – that people know. Well, at least, someone knows. It’s the fact that your closely guarded secret is out, or the fact that someone had a mirror to show you the scar on your face that you had ignored. Or worse, you believed that you never had!
And well, most of the times, we would just hit back at the person saying “you’re so negative/toxic/demotivating” and so on. Or go ahead believing, or pretending, that we don’t care what they say, after all it’s just one person. Or after all, I’m designed differently. And worse, some of us would get into a self-doubt downward spiral, which could end very badly into a full-blown depression and complete loss of self-confidence!
Next time someone criticizes you, notice how you respond.
Essentially, there are three phases of criticism – reaction, introspection & action.
Reaction is the immediate response to the criticism – where most of us get our walls up. Either through denial or anger. Through a full-blown argument or a cold treatment. The egos are bruised and relationships hurt.
The next stage in introspection. Though not all of us would do this, definitely not for all the criticism – but did the critic make sense? Is it true? However difficult it may seem, if we look back at instances from our life, am I this person that I’m being accused of being? Even though we like to live in denial of our negative traits, arguing that we’re always genuine or right or innocent – let’s try to look at how we affected others. Did you affect them positively or negatively – that’s how you’ll know the exactness of the situation.
If no, move on.
If yes, you know what you have to do.
The last stage: Action. If your answer was a yes, how can you improve and be better? It’s one thing to accept your flaws, it’s another to work on it. It takes patience – even when you have another critic saying the same thing to you one week later. And the best part is – you’ll be thankful for the critic, whom you had decided to wage a war against.
Going back a few minutes, don’t you think it will be a good idea to have a blanket “Thank you, it’s good that you pointed this out” for every criticism? Do you think there could be different ways to handle criticism and not ruin our relations and our mental well-being?
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Fear, My Dear Friend
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