I hate that I'm easily hurt by criticism. I don't want to care about everything everyone says, so how do I know when to care? Thanks (isfp)
It’s not pleasant to be criticized and it’s hard to go through life without having to hear some criticism, therefore, it
is indeed important to be able to know when criticism is constructive. First,
your attitude towards criticism should be one of taking an opportunity
to learn something about yourself. Second, and this
might be a bit harder, you have to know what the person’s intentions
really are. For example:
- Some people criticize because they genuinely
care about you and have your best interests at heart. Perhaps they see
you going down the wrong road and they really want to help. This doesn’t
necessarily mean they are right but it does mean that you should hear
them out, then reflect and be honest with yourself about whether they
are making a good point or not. If they are, then listen and adjust.
This is a great way to grow as a person when you have trouble seeing yourself objectively.
- Some people criticize because they are trying to
manipulate your perception/feelings for their own selfish (hidden) agenda.
Obviously, you should be wary of these people as they might be trying to
gaslight you in order to gain more control over your decision making
process. Emotional abusers tend to do this because creating a state of constant self-doubt in you will slowly erode your self-esteem, which will give them a chance to take more control over you.
- Some people criticize because they have an axe to grind. Perhaps they have some weird personal investment/vendetta/obsession in wanting to influence you, dominate you, or undermine you, or to avenge some perceived “wrong” they feel. Perhaps they are (subconsciously) acting out of envy or jealousy, which might only serve to bring you down to their level if you engage (thus proving their point in believing you’re not all that great and deserve criticism). You should be wary because they’re not thinking about your best interests, rather, they’re misdirecting/displacing their negative emotions and you just happen to be the unlucky dumping ground.
- Some people criticize because they project their flaws/issues onto you and it’s easier/safer to criticize you rather than face themselves, especially if they view you as being inferior and an easy target (for example, some cases of homophobia). These people are rather pitiful and it’s a good idea to ignore them until they go away and bug someone else. Engaging with them is usually a bad idea because they will not be open to hearing what you say. Even if you speak the truth, they will see everything you say/do as an “excuse”/“defense”, which might only energize them to criticize/attack harder.
someone you dislike criticizes you and you might be tempted to ignore
them just based on your feelings about them. In such a case, you have to
differentiate between “who” is saying it and the “content” of what is
being said. Just look at the facts of what was said or imagine that it was someone you like saying it, then you can
evaluate the criticism more objectively. This is a good idea
during sensitive discussions about politics or religion. Remember that
moral issues are rarely black and white, so someone can criticize you
from a place of having conviction in their values and principles and it
doesn’t necessarily make them a “bad” person though you disagree with
them. Criticisms can be discussed openly and calmly if both people are emotionally mature enough.
There are other reasons why people criticize
but I think you get the idea. Pay attention to HOW people criticize, whether they focus on an idea, a particular behavior/action/decision of yours, a correction of a mistake, etc OR whether they’re making an unwarranted and excessively personal attack to influence your emotions/self-esteem (the equivalent of childish name-calling or button-pushing) - if it’s an unwarranted personal attack, then it’s probably their issue, not yours. Be honest with yourself and you will know whether the criticism is valid or not. If it’s not valid
and their intention is not to help or care for you (or, worse, their
intention is to control or harm you), then you would be right to ignore or
resist as necessary. However, if there’s something negative/unpleasant about
yourself you don’t want to see and that’s the real reason you’re
reacting against the criticism, then ignoring it would be detrimental to your personal growth.