How to protect yourself from criticism

Do you feel sensitive to criticism? Do you sometimes find yourself needing to justify and defend against someone’s unfair criticism?

Some people seem to like making critical judgements of others, often with no grounds to do so. Perhaps it makes them feel better about themselves or maybe they get some sort of pleasure from it.

Whatever the reason for the criticism, how YOU process it can make the difference between it being destructive to your self-worth or not.

Hearing what isn’t being said in the criticism and reflecting back to the critical ‘friend’ can help you to keep the interaction ‘in the moment’ and the focus away from you -eliminating any need to justify yourself or internalise it.

For example;

You turn up to a friend’s barbeque, obviously making the most of a sunny British weekend, and the host offers you a drink.

‘A soft drink for me please as I’m driving’, You say.

‘Oh, don’t be so boring, get a few drinks down you, leave your car, get the bus home. You’re getting really dull’, comes the reply.

At this point, you possibly feel pressured to justify your decision. ’I’ve got an early start tomorrow’ or ‘I’ve overdone it recently so I want a healthier day’, or, ‘I’m training for a charity run on Tuesday’, or whatever you think will enable the critical source to accept your decision.

(which, quite frankly, is none of their business, you are entitled to make your own decisions and be responsible for them.)

This interaction gives power to the critic who may decide to press or criticise you further. It can leave the person on the receiving end of the criticism feeling dejected

A different approach is to hear what isn’t being said and reflect this back to the critic with something like:

‘Gosh, I’m surprised that you feel the need to be so critical’

This response builds a silent barrier that keeps the interaction ‘in the moment’ and protects you from feeling a need to justify your decision. However they respond, you can continue to reflect back the ‘what isn’t being said’ element.

If the criticism is being received from someone who often interacts with you with judgement, and with whom your usual response is to try and justify yourself, then this will be unexpected and feel a little unsafe to the critic.temp closed Taking a new ‘role’ and having a different response can cause the critic to have a rethink and change how they interact with you because you no longer respond how they want you too. If you feel that working with a Life Coach may be beneficial to you then give me a call on 07708238929 for an informal initial chat and more information, or visit my website

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