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Why Do People Criticize Me? How to Stop Letting It Hurt You

Have you ever felt hurt by what people say about you, even if you try your best to be kind and genuine? It’s a common problem many people face. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 60% of people say they have been affected by criticism at some point in their lives. As social beings, we often seek acceptance and validation from others. However, no matter what you do, some people will always criticize you. As a popular saying goes, "You can’t please everyone." This blog will explore why people criticize and how you can stop letting it hurt you.

The Invisible Chains: Why Criticism Hurts So Much

Imagine Emily, a high school student who loves to draw. She often shares her artwork online, but sometimes, people leave negative comments. “Your art is terrible,” one comment says. Emily feels crushed and starts to doubt her talent.

Or think about John, who works hard at his job but overhears a coworker saying, “John is so lazy.” John feels angry and frustrated, wondering why his hard work isn’t recognized.

Both Emily and John are deeply affected by criticism because they care about what others think of them. This is natural, but it can also be limiting. As the famous author Brené Brown says, "If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback." This means that those who are not actively contributing or creating often criticize others to feel better about themselves.

Recognizing the Roadblocks: Why We Let Criticism Hold Us Back

One reason criticism hurts so much is that we tie our self-worth to what others think of us. When someone criticizes us, it feels like a personal attack on our character and abilities. This can lead to self-doubt and fear of expressing ourselves.

Consider Anna, who loves to sing but never auditions for the school play because she’s afraid of being judged. “What if they think I’m not good enough?” she wonders. This fear of criticism holds her back from pursuing her passion.

Similarly, Mark, a writer, hesitates to share his stories with friends because he worries they won’t like them. “What if they think my writing is boring?” he asks himself. This fear of negative feedback prevents him from growing as a writer.

These scenarios show how the fear of criticism can stop us from doing what we love and being our true selves.

Unveiling the Path: Understanding the Power of Self-Acceptance

The first step to overcoming the fear of criticism is understanding that it’s impossible to please everyone. No matter how good or kind you are, there will always be people who don’t like you or your work. As the comedian Ricky Gervais says, “The best way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher in self-compassion, emphasizes the importance of being kind to ourselves. She says, “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.” This means accepting ourselves as we are and not letting others’ opinions define our worth.

Taking the Steps: Practical Guide to Handling Criticism

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you handle criticism without letting it hurt you:

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s okay to feel hurt or upset when someone criticizes you. Acknowledge these feelings without judging yourself for having them.

  2. Consider the Source: Not all criticism is equal. Consider who is giving the feedback. Is it someone whose opinion you value and respect? If not, it may not be worth your time.

  3. Look for Constructive Feedback: Sometimes, criticism can be helpful. Look for any constructive elements that can help you improve.

  4. Set Boundaries: If someone is consistently negative or hurtful, it’s okay to set boundaries and limit your exposure to their criticism.

  5. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness. Remind yourself of your strengths and achievements.

  6. Focus on Your Goals: Keep your goals and passions in mind. Don’t let criticism derail you from pursuing what you love.

  7. Surround Yourself with Support: Spend time with people who support and encourage you. Their positive feedback can help balance out any negative comments.

Inspiring Change: Cultivating Confidence and Resilience

Building confidence and resilience can help you handle criticism more effectively. Here are some ways to cultivate these qualities:

  • Celebrate Your Successes: Take time to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This builds confidence and reminds you of your capabilities.

  • Learn from Challenges: View criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow. Each challenge can make you stronger.

  • Stay True to Yourself: Focus on being authentic and true to your values. When you know who you are, others’ opinions matter less.

  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you stay grounded and present, reducing the impact of negative thoughts and feelings.

Consider the story of Jessica, who was afraid of public speaking. She received negative feedback after her first presentation, but instead of giving up, she decided to learn from it. She took a public speaking course and practiced regularly. Over time, her confidence grew, and she became an inspiring speaker. Jessica’s story shows that resilience and a growth mindset can help you overcome criticism and achieve your goals.

Expert Insights: Wisdom from Dr. Peter Gagliardo

Dr. Peter Gagliardo from Worcester Holistic Health & Wellness offers valuable insights into handling criticism and building self-worth. With over 20 years of experience in holistic health, Dr. Gagliardo has helped many individuals develop resilience and confidence.

"Criticism can be a powerful tool for growth if we learn to manage it properly. It’s important to differentiate between constructive feedback and negative comments meant to hurt. Embrace the former and let go of the latter. Your self-worth should come from within, not from others’ opinions," says Dr. Gagliardo. His holistic approach emphasizes the importance of mental, physical, and emotional well-being in achieving overall success.

Ready to Build Resilience? Take the First Step

Are you ready to stop letting criticism hurt you and start building your confidence? Don’t wait any longer. Schedule a free discovery session with Dr. Peter Gagliardo at Worcester Holistic Health & Wellness. Visit to book your session today. Embrace the power of self-compassion and resilience to take control of your life.

Criticism is an inevitable part of life, but it doesn’t have to define you. By understanding why criticism hurts, practicing self-compassion, and focusing on your goals, you can overcome the fear of negative feedback and live a more fulfilling life. Remember, the journey to self-acceptance and resilience is ongoing. With persistence, support, and the right mindset, you can achieve your full potential and handle criticism with grace.

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