Many times, people hear criticism and hold onto it for years allowing it to foster shame. It is important to remember that the people who made the comments might be « talking out of their hat » as the expression goes, before allowing their words to be damaging. Make sure that you do not allow the criticism to facilitate low self-esteem or paralyze you when it comes to moving forward your goals.

Before you take another person’s comments to heart, consider the following reasons why they were given:

  1. Intent – What is the reason that the words were spoken. Did the other person really care about you or were they jealous, mean-spirited or wanting to see you fail? Understanding motivation can help you decipher whether to latch on or not.
  2. Anonymity – Don’t ever take criticism seriously if it is done by someone who does not reveal their identity. Individuals who are passive-aggressive tend to write unsigned letters or act as snipers who sow rumors and gossip while hiding in the shadows.
  3. Impulsivity – Unfortunately, many people do not put a lot of thought into what they say. They just let words spill out of their mouths without ensuring that they are true or even communicating their message accurately.
  4. Credibility – Does the person who is offering their opinion experienced or reputable? I never take financial advice from someone who is poor or parenting tips from people who have never parented. Good advice usually comes from people who have achieved success a specific area.
  5. Understanding – Does the person have the whole picture? Perhaps they are making statements before they have all the information? Maybe they think that their words would help you without really knowing how you function.
  6. Bias – Some people are just narrow minded. They think that they know best and are not open to the fact that there is more than one way to go something.
  7. Emotions – Fear can cause people to think negatively and become immobilized. Big goals can scare people who begin listing all the reasons why your plans will fail and share their fears with you.
  8. Responsibility – Some people care too much and don’t know where healthy boundaries should be. They don’t know where they stop, and you begin. As a result, they think that they need to protect you even when you are a mature adult.
  9. Values – Black and white thinking does not leave room for grey. Many individuals think that it is important to do what they believe « should » happen. They value having things done following specific rules and are not open to new ideas.
  10. Validity – Perhaps you really need some good advice because you are heading for trouble! Always consider the fact that the person who is offering an opinion, might truly care about you and have a nugget of wisdom that would truly help you.
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