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Dealing with Criticism and Negativity from Others

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In my last blog post, I wrote about our Inner Critic, a part of our mind which is constantly sending us a variety of extremely judgmental messages which are very critical of who we are, what we think, what we say and what we do.

Over time, repeatedly hearing these messages which put ourselves down, we develop a consistently negative, cynical, and pessimistic attitude about ourselves which gets translated into self-destructive, self-sabotaging behaviors which generate setbacks, rejections, and failures in our lives.

Although neutralizing our Inner Critic is of paramount importance, it is also important that we neutralize the Inner Critic of others, which directs negative, judgmental messages to us about ourselves as well.

The Inner Critic of others, which tends to be bitter, jealous, resentful and judgmental, sends us a variety of negative messages in the form of disapproving facial expressions and body language, outright verbal assaults, sarcastic, snide, demeaning comments, passive-aggressive comments, and pessimistic comments in regard to our efforts and aspirations, all of which can have an extremely negative, destructive impact on us if we are either unaware of them or are aware of them but do nothing to neutralize them.

Just as we cannot afford to let our own Inner Critic go unchecked, it is extremely important for our success and well-being that we recognize and counter the negative messages from the Inner Critics of others.

To do this we must be vigilant over the thoughts and actions of others, paying close attention to what they are saying and doing to us.

There are two approaches that are important to consider:

(1) When we recognize criticism and negativity directed to us from others, we must examine the content. If, by some chance, the criticism is legitimate, it behooves us to learn from it and make changes in our lives. This will help us succeed.

If the criticism is baseless, a function of the negativity of others, we must make sure to correct it in our mind, telling ourselves that it is not true and that we need give it no power.

(2) It might be to our benefit to say something to the other person, pointing out the judgmental negativity and/or pessimism directed towards us, and asking them to please avoid repeating such behavior in the future.

Keep in mind, however, that sometimes it’s not necessarily in our best interest to say something to the person, insofar as it could generate denial, defensiveness, anger, and aggression of an extremely abusive nature which could generate more antagonistic, destructive behaviors and possibly severe consequences that we are not prepared to deal with.

Certainly, if we say nothing, it’s not going to be fun to continue to be the recipient of negativity directed at us from others, but if we follow approach number one above and disempower the negativity of others with positive self-talk from our Inner Colleague, it is unlikely that the negativity will reinforce our potential for self-sabotage.

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