How to Stop the fear of criticism from holding you back in life - person walking down the middle of the road between wooded areas.

How to Stop the Fear of Criticism From Holding You Back in Life

Are you afraid of criticism? Most people do not like to be criticized, yet others learn to brush off criticism and keep plugging away to reach their goals. Criticism from others can hinder us immensely and stop us in our tracks. This post will outline what the fear of criticism is and how to stop the fear of criticism from holding you back in life.

What is the Fear of Criticism?

Fear of criticism is defined as an irrational fear that people will judge, reject, or criticize a person. A person who suffers from this may avoid doing things that could result in criticism.

As we all know, criticism is a normal part of life that everyone has to deal with at some point.

There are three main categories of criticism:

#1 Constructive criticism

This type of criticism is given in order to improve. Often, people give constructive criticism because they truly care and want to see you succeed. At times, we do not see the entire picture or direction we need to follow in order to be our best selves. Having a coach or a mentor can help us improve and usually can do this without feeling bad. Yet, if you have a fear of criticism you may still take this type of criticism as negative.

#2 Evaluation feedback

This type of criticism is used to pass judgment on something, good or bad, and can be used in a job evaluation or report card. It can affect one that has a fear of criticism at work since all criticism is seen as negative. Yet, this type of criticism, at times, can be helpful, depending on your work situation.

#3 Destructive criticism

This type of criticism is used to make the recipient feel bad about themselves. Unfortunately, this can be abusive and cause lasting damage. Many times, when a child receives this type of criticism, they can develop a negative attitude about themselves.

According to psychology today, children that are criticized often, lead to anger and withdrawal, which can often set off a pattern of more criticism and punishment. This can create a cycle that leaves the child feeling bad about themselves and can carry over into adulthood.

Yet, people will take criticism to heart. At times it can cause one to change. However, others are afraid of any type of criticism, as it has a negative effect on the person and they cannot let it go. They let the criticism consume them and can’t move forward.

It’s easy for anyone’s fear of criticism to become overwhelming if they are faced with too much negative feedback. However, it’s important for us not to let our fear hold us back from taking risks and accomplishing our dreams. Therefore, it is best to learn how to stop the fear of criticism from holding you back in life.

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Do you have a “Fear of Criticism” Phobia?

The fear of criticism is an exceptionally common form of anxiety. The fear of criticism is often ingrained within us from a young age. It may be easy to take a joke as a child, but as we grow older and wiser, the thought of someone criticizing us seems to be more and more terrifying.

Letting these thoughts control one’s life, can lead to the development of a phobia of criticism.

Nonetheless, if a child is often criticized, they can become withdrawn. This can leave the child feeling unworthy or less than what you are.

Subconsciously you can start to sabotage your own goals, because of this fear.

It is hard to put yourself out there if you are afraid of what others think. If you let this fear control your thoughts, you will hinder yourself from being the best version of yourself.

Examples of “Fear of Criticism”

If you have a fear of criticism and you are here reading this, you probably understand the sinking “gut” feeling you have when you hear something negative about yourself. Often this feeling leads you to withdrawal even further and question your every move. It really can be quite crippling.

The fear of criticism is an issue that affects many people. It can be paralyzing and prevent us from taking creative risks in our lives. It’s important to remember that rejection can be a good thing because it forces you to get better.

  1. Won’t post your true feelings on social media.
  2. Decide not to try out for a team, because you don’t think you are good enough.
  3. Miss out on an opportunity since you are afraid of what others might say.
  4. Choose to “play it safe” instead of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
  5. Change your outfit five times, because you are afraid of what others will say.
  6. Worry about little things people have said that may or may not have been positive.
  7. Avoid social situations because it is to hard to talk to others because you may say the wrong thing.
  8. You got to type something on social media and you erase it and then think over carefully about what you wrote. Next, you write it again. Finally, you decide you don’t want any backlash and you delete your comment.
  9. Another example could be when you want to send an email to a group of people. Instead of this taking you a few minutes like most, it takes you two hours. You become a perfectionist about everything since you are afraid of what others will say or think if you make an error. This fear often wastes time due to perfectionism.
  10. You want to run for a position on a board at work or at your child’s school, but you are afraid others will disagree with you and it will lead to more criticism. You don’t even put your name in the running.

If you have a fear of criticism, you may have experienced one or more of the following:

These are a few examples of the fear of criticism and how it can affect your life. Of course, there are many more examples, and I am sure you can draw some of your own if you are reading this post.

What does the fear of criticism feel like?

The fear of criticism feels like a tight fist. Your body tenses up and you feel anger or anxiety about the critique. You may even feel embarrassed by the criticism.

If you have a fear of criticism, chances are you feel any of the above feelings when you are given criticism, whether it be positive or negative in nature. It is important to overcome this fear so the fear of criticism doesn’t hold you back in life.

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Fear of Rejection

Having a fear of rejection could be fueling your fear of criticism. As humans, we are naturally social. However, if you have to change to fit in, you may be worried too much about what others think.

When we are criticized, we feel others are rejecting us and we all have a need to fit in.

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Fear of Criticism Quotes

Use these quotes from the “big guys” to help you overcome your fear of criticism. Remember, no matter what you do in life you are going to find resistance, whether it be within yourself, or from others. Try to keep a positive mindset and push through your fears to achieve your dream life.

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” –Napoleon Hill

1. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

2. “Most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.” –Seth Godin

3. “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” –attributed to Aristotle

5. “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.” –Plato

5. “The individual must not merely wait and criticize, he must defend the cause the best he can. The fate of the world will be such as the world deserves.”  –Albert Einstein

6. “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. “If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.” –Mark Twain

8.“Blame is safer than praise.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

9. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

10. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” –Napoleon Hill

As you can see, many famous people throughout history have recognized the fear of criticism can hold one back from reaching their full potential. Use these quotes to help you overcome your fear of criticism.

#1 Use Criticism as a Learning Opportunity

If you are often sensitive to criticism, you can try asking yourself the following:

  • Do you value the opinion of the person criticizing you?
  • Is the criticism constructive?
  • What is the perspective of the other person?
  • Are you becoming defensive?

#2 Ask Yourself Why You Feel This Way

If you continually feel anger or nervous, allow yourself to feel your feelings. Then process your feelings and lastly ask yourself why you feel this way. Remember all feelings are allowed, but what you do with these feelings will make or break you.

If you can figure out the “why” of your fears, you can begin to push yourself through the fear.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes and to error is human. So do not be critical of yourself, and do not worry if others criticize you. To get over this fear, try telling yourself, these criticizers are not y our people.

#3 Keep Moving Forward

It is best to develop a method for dealing with criticism. If you can come up with a way to express your feelings with honesty instead of anger, you are on the path to healing.

You can start by using positive affirmations to change your mindset about yourself.

How to Stop the Fear of Criticism From Holding You Back in Life - person walking down a road in the middle of wooded area - Learn how to stop your fears from holding you back.

How to Stop the Fear of Criticism From Holding You Back in Life Final Thoughts

If you have a few criticisms, it is best to find strategies to cope with your fears or anxieties. If you have been conditioned to feel bad about yourself since childhood, this can be a difficult task. You can try the tips listed above, but if you are struggling, therapy is always an option. Do not let your fear of being criticized hold you back from reaching your goals. You are worthy and you deserve to be your best self.

How to Stop the Fear of Criticism From Holding You Back

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