“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” – Frank A. Clark
Your heart beat is intensifying by the minute, beating so fast the reverberations can be felt in the pit of your stomach, overpowering you with each pulse. An irresistible need to flee your body takes hold. Anxiety has a vice-like grip on you, as you contemplate the criticism levelled against you – it seems to have come out of nowhere. What did you do to deserve this you ask?
While struggling to assimilate the events moments earlier, your body is caught in a fight or flight response. Your mind is racing with thoughts fluctuating in intensity from torment to anger, all occurring within seconds – “What does this all mean?” “Am I really a bad person?” “How dare they” “What would they know.” The thoughts are now thinking you.
Criticism strikes at the heart of your self-esteem like a wrecking ball. It can be insidious and demoralising in the moments afterwards as you come to terms with the situation at hand.
Known as amygdala hijack, which was coined by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence, this is the area of the brain activated when there is a perceived emotional threat to our sense of wellbeing.
The resultant effect is a shutting down of the higher thinking brain, the neocortex which causes a flood of destructive emotions to permeate your body.
Regrettably, as highly developed as your brain might be, the mind is unable to distinguish between a genuine threat to your life and an apparent threat. Criticism is identified by the brain as a perceived threat, hence the ensuing cocktail of toxic emotions which accompany this state.
The following points are intended to assist you deal with criticism in a healthy manner, without the proceeding reactions which follow.
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Do you get criticism often? What do you do to stop it from getting to you? Do you criticise others? Tell us your thoughts below.