How to Respond to Criticism
I used to be bullied when I was in high school and I put immense pressure on myself to respond to it in the way that I wanted, to defend my pride. However, when it came time to actually say it, anxiety took over.
This is frequently the problem – we plan what to say within our comfort zone, then when someone jumps an unexpected critique on us, we are stuck in reptilian fight-flight-or-freeze mode. This is the problem. It is actually best to not be either angry or afraid when we are criticised, even when we perceive the other person to mean it. Going even further than that, it is best not to aim to respond in a way to defend your pride. In fact, it is attachment to pride that is the cause of so many problems – from personal relationships all the way to geopolitics. And yet, there is only one person that cares about my pride – myself.
Why can't I accept criticism?
However, we are so used to defending our own pride that the desire to do it happens automatically – and I am still guilty of that to a degree. So, what is going on? As we lived our lives, without even realising it we were taking in the surroundings through our five senses and storing it into our brains. Whether we liked it or not. Including all the times we were criticised, how we responded and even the emotion attached to it. So, did this just happen during our own lives? Nope, all our ancestors did it too. They also took pictures of when their pride was prodded by someone else via a criticism. And yes, that all got passed down to you – since the dawn of mankind! After all, in the distant past, if you were seen to be inadequate or a threat to the group, you were rejected from the group and died. So what hope is there? Am I just automatically going to get my back up when I'm criticised? Do I need to be a slave to that each time?
How do I not respond to criticism in a negative way?
Fortunately for us, there is a solution! In society, we are probably getting the idea now that an attachment to our pride is counterproductive in this day and age. However, just knowing that is not enough. We have to get rid of the deeply ingrained belief that we need it – the attachment to pride.
How on Earth do we get rid of our attachment to our pride? Actually, pride is an attempt to cover up something even deeper – our sense of inferiority. Of not having enough or not being good enough. Pride is the defence mechanism. We get rid of both, by getting rid of all of the pictures we have taken into our minds since birth and also the habits we inherited from our ancestors. There is an actual method to do this, which can be taught and guided. As all of that garbage is thrown away, criticism becomes a way for you to reflect on and discard more minds. After all, if someone calls you an idiot and you don't even react emotionally, then what's the problem? Instead of it being a reason to get defensive, it instead becomes a way to self-reflect. The more the pictures are thrown away, the wiser you become, and you will know yourself how to respond to the criticism. Generally, people criticise not to hurt you, but because they themselves have something they want to resolve or were hurt by.
So having a grateful and generous mind is essential – even aim to help the other person. As you continue discarding you eventually become wisdom itself – because the Universe itself has become your mind. And naturally, you will be happy and will live well.