From time to time we have all received ‘criticism’…which usually takes the form of a judgment about something we have said or done. Rarely we may also receive a very painful form of criticism that judges who we are as a person. Both forms tend to sting a bit, even if we know the criticism to be inaccurate or the critic to be biased.

Criticism is painful not because of its truth but because of our own insecurities. If we believed completely in ourselves and loved ourselves unconditionally, then criticism would merely be ‘interesting information’. We feel pain only because something about that information hits a nerve…it triggers an insecurity or unresolved issue.

When receiving criticism there are generally two choices. One, you can use it to confirm a negative view of yourself and keep yourself ‘small’. This choice is what I would call the ‘resistant’ choice because it plays into our fears and gives us an excuse not to be big in the world. If we want to write and someone criticizes our work we take that criticism as a reason not to continue. Our resistance and fear uses the criticism to bolster the ‘I should not try’ argument. The result is inaction and depression.

The second choice is to use the criticism as fodder for further expansion. When someone criticizes us they are interested…and this is inherently confirming. Criticism is much better than indifference! We can use this interest to learn. Again, if we are learning to write we can use the critic to affirm that 1) we at least have an audience (!) 2) someone has thought enough about our work to offer suggestions, and 3) we can learn something from every reader.

Each time we hear criticism we can choose to learn and expand, rather than shut down and shrink.

Intense reaction to criticism is simply a sign of your own resistance to a ‘bigger you’. Notice when this happens and ask yourself ‘what am I afraid of?’ The critic is not the enemy…your FEAR is the energy that is holding you back! Look your fear in the eye and intend a larger you! Move into the world with the confidence that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Criticism is not only an opportunity to learn, but to reaffirm all that you love about yourself and your gifts.

Everything and everyone can be a vehicle for your success! Go forward!

-KC Hildreth