Criticism Will Only Affect Me As Much As I Let It

· April 22, 2016

Criticism will only affect me as much as I let it. I have spent half my life thinking too much about the opinions of others, their painful comments, and advice from people who acted like they knew me.

Life is too short to focus our attention on minds that are not our own, and even more so on perspectives that are not useful and which do not promote our personal growth in any way.

It is hard not to pay attention to the criticism. It is hard to ignore it without it. That said, never forget that you are basically what you think throughout the day, so do not lose time on regrets, doubts, and negative criticism.

Anyone who tells you, “criticism doesn’t affect me in the least,” is absolutely lying. It impacts all of us in some way. All criticism is a direct confrontation to who we are, to our way of behaving.

If the criticism is constructive and we accept it, integrate it, and learn from it, it can be helpful in our process of inner growth. And that is always a good sign.

But what do we do in those situations when negative criticism comes from people who are meaningful in our lives? A painful comment from our family, friend, or partner always ends up damaging our self-esteem in some way. We have to know how to stand up to it, know how to process it.

Criticism that hurts our self-esteem

Shadow Chasing Person

There should always come a moment in our lives when we have to be invulnerable to the negative criticism, to those toxic, hurtful comments. We are sure that many of our readers have already managed to do this. On the other hand, there are some who are right in the middle of that process.


The most harmful comments are those that we receive during our childhood. Criticism from our parents about how we are behaving, our mistakes, or even our physical appearance are clear attacks on our self-esteem.

We each have experienced negative comments that are particularly impactful. Whether someone told us, “you’re hopeless, you don’t know how to do anything,” during our childhood or maybe it came later from one of our partners, there is no doubt that this represents a clear attack on our self-esteem, the self-esteem that we make a great effort to cultivate, to strengthen day by day.

It is important to keep in mind the ways that these less-than-constructive personal attacks can end up changing us, and we need to know how to reorient ourselves for our protection. To raise our shields against the harmful, unloving criticism that comes from the mouths of people who supposedly “love us.”

A personal, harmful, and useless criticism has a direct impact on our emotions. An emotion has its direct echo in our thoughts. I feel bad… Why? “Because my partner told me that I don’t know how to do anything, that without them I couldn’t do anything in this world.”  

If we lend importance to this criticism, it will affect our ways of thinking and our responsibilities: Could I really be a useless person? All of this will end up leaving our self-esteem fragmented and broken like a jigsaw puzzle.

Girl with Jar of Hearts

Criticism must only affect you as much as you let it

It took you a lot to get to where you are today. You count on your past experiences of overcoming challenges, on battles that only you know you won and that define the great person that you are today. Don’t allow that venomous criticism to negate those achievements. Negative comments are not worth your attention; it is a step backwards, a regression.

You are your thoughts; they build your reality and serve as the oxygen that feeds your self-esteem. Do not let them become primarily empty words of criticism coming from minds that lack empathy and that do not even have the privilege of authentically knowing you.

Those who love you will not hurt you, much less bombard you with useless and harmful criticism. Next time you receive a negative comment, try this strategy:

Visualize a golden chest. When you receive criticism, the first thing you have to do is guard your self-esteem in this chest: well protected under lock and key.

Now, analyze the comment with logic and levelheadedness. Be honest with yourself: Is that criticism constructive? Is there any truth to it? If yes, analyze it, integrate it, learn from it, and grow so that you can also feed your self-esteem with it.

Is that criticism useless and unrealistic? Does it have nothing to do with who you are, what you have, and what defines you? Then shut it down. Do not pay it any mind, because by doing that, by permitting anger to get to you, you will remain chained to that negative emotion, and what’s more, that person who gave it to you.

Recall once again the famous words of Buddha: “He who angers you controls you.” It is not worth it. It will always be better to think of that criticism as a dry leaf carried away by the wind. It is nothing, just noise, just a cold breeze that is not worth your attention or warmth. It will pass by and disappear.

You are your own best friend, so do not let useless criticism dwell in your head, because then you will change into your own enemy. It is not worth it.

Woman in Bathtub

Images courtesy of Mary Chem, Art Mediaphic, Alec Jim