Ep 53: Fear of Criticism & Why We Are Triggered

Hi beautiful souls, welcome to episode 53 of the Jasmine Lipska podcast!

In today’s episode, I am sharing with you where the fear of criticism may come from, and how to deal with it so that you don’t hold back from your happiness, success and dreams.

You will learn about:

  • The two reasons for fear of criticism
  • How to practice self-acceptance
  • Acknowledging our shadows
  • Where perfectionism comes from
  • Inner child wounds and healing
  • Overcoming perfectionism
  • A powerful mantra
  • The difference between constructive criticism and hateful criticism
  • Being open to feedback from the right people
  • My self-love journey
  • and so much more!

Dealing with criticism is something I’ve had to learn for myself as an empath and highly sensitive person. Although I prefer to not label myself with these words, I can’t deny that I am sensitive, so for most of my life I have feared criticism, and it was recently that I truly found out and discovered why.

Now with my new awareness, I’m able to respond to criticism in a much more conscious and better way instead of running on autopilot. 

In the past, if I was criticized or received a negative judgment, automatically, my response was to shut down and let the inner critic take centre stage. But now I have so much more awareness, I am much better able to deal with this. 

So I want to share with you what I learned and some things that can help you deal and manage the fear of criticism, so you can stop letting it stand in the way of your happiness. 

Why do we fear criticism? Where does this come from? I found two main reasons. 

The first reason is that we are triggered by criticism when we haven’t yet accepted that part of ourselves. 

When we live in our shadows, we are afraid to be told something that we don’t want to hear. And this means that we aren’t willing to look within and accept something about ourselves. It often happens if you feel that you have to be a certain way to be loved. 

In my life, for the longest time I was so afraid of being told “you’re selfish”. I did everything I could to please everyone so that no one could say I’m selfish, because I equated being selfish as unloved and not accepted. If I heard it, I was so triggered.

This all shifted recently. After some inner work, I realised that being selfish doesn’t necessarily mean you are living from ego or being self-centred. Being “selfish” has a negative connotation to it, but we can reframe it and remember that as humans, we all have to think about ourselves and put our needs first at times, and it’s not a bad thing. We are wired to think about ourselves, to literally survive.

Since I rewrote my story around the word “selfish”, and came to accept that a part of me that does need to put myself first sometimes, I am now less triggered by this kind of criticism. And best of all, it helped with letting go of people pleasing.

So when we are triggered by what someone tells us, it is often because a part of us believes it is true but we haven’t yet accepted it. This awareness will radically transform your life, as you can then stop responding to criticism on autopilot (such as shutting down) and be more at inner peace. When we can accept more of ourselves, including our shadows and allow ourselves to be “imperfect”, we will be less triggered by what someone else says about us.

Here is a practice for you to deal with this fear:

For example, someone calls you selfish, and you are triggered.

  • First, feel into it. Acknowledge that you are triggered and a wound is coming up as an invitation to heal.
  • Then place your hands on your heart or take a few deep breaths, and speak to yourself, saying “it’s okay for me to be selfish. I wholeheartedly accept myself. I am always loved and good enough, no matter my strengths and weaknesses. I love and accept myself.”
  • Repeat this affirmation when the trigger comes up, and I promise it’s going to be very helpful. It will be very grounding and allow you to stop taking the criticism personally, but rather look within and invite yourself to fully wholeheartedly accept you for who you are.

When we can accept more of ourselves, including our shadows and allow ourselves to be "imperfect", we will be less triggered by what someone else says about us.

The second reason that you may be triggered by criticism, is because you are a perfectionist. 

Perfectionism comes from a place of not feeling good enough deep down inside, and the wounded in a child who wasn’t seen or acknowledged unless they achieved something.

Perfectionist behaviors such as overachieving stem from striving to prove that you are good enough and to fill that void, or similarly, perfectionism can also be a result of wanting to avoid not being good enough through things like procrastination. 

I’ve talked more about it in previous podcast episodes, that when you are a perfectionist, and someone criticizes you, it’s going to trigger that feeling of not being good enough. That’s why you may fear criticism, because a part of you believes that you aren’t good enough and you use perfectionism as a coping mechanism.

You aren’t accepting yourself fully and that’s why you think you aren’t good enough. Then that leads to perfectionism to try to prove somehow that you are good enough, but perfectionism is a spiral – you try to do something, but you still don’t think it’s good enough, and then you may procrastinate or continue overachieving – and it’s just a cycle. 

So here’s another practice for you today:

I want you to use the affirmation, “I am enough”. It sounds simple, but it is what your inner child needs to hear.

When you were a child, and you weren’t seen or acknowledged for your authentic self – maybe you were only praised when you achieved something at school, or your parents never authentically saw you for who you are – by telling yourself, “I am enough”, you are re-parenting yourself. You’re now meeting your inner child’s need to feel good enough for their authentic self. So this is your new language. This is your new story. “I am enough”. 

You can let go of not only perfectionism but so many other self-sabotaging behaviours. A lot of self-sabotaging behaviours stem from the fact that you believe you’re not good enough. The next time you are behaving from a place of perfectionism, I want you to tell yourself, “I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. I love you. And I see you” and repeat. This is a really powerful mantra, especially for inner child healing.

A lot of self-sabotaging behaviours stem from the fact that you believe you're not good enough.

We’ve got to remember, that criticism is inevitable. However, there is a difference between constructive criticism and pure hateful criticism.

I encourage you to be open to constructive feedback, and most of all, be open to feedback from those who have done what you want to do. I would be more mindful of criticism from someone who hasn’t done what you want to do. For example, if you want to become a tennis player, definitely be open to feedback from a tennis coach. But you don’t have to take feedback from a soccer coach.

If you receive pure hateful criticism, use the awareness and practices I shared with you today to learn how to deal with the fear of criticism, and respond in a different way. Each time you are triggered, and do the practices, you will experience it less and less and one day it won’t bother you anymore. You’ll stop taking it personally, because judgement isn’t about you.

No one is ‘perfect’, and we all live in our shadows sometimes. Self-love is a journey after all, so allow yourself to grow and evolve one step at a time.

Accept more of yourself, to stop fearing criticism and let it stand in the way of your success and dreams. Remember, you are always loved. Start seeing yourself, to heal the wound of not being seen. Start accepting yourself, to live more at peace and on your own terms, than live based on the opinions of others.

Listen to episode 53 here:

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