The fear of criticism

a person holding a sign of phobia

Every person on this planet is afraid of something, no matter how emotionally, physically, mentally or psychologically balanced we seem to be.

Most fears are inherited, some inculcated, while some are identified from close observation within our environment as well. We as humans at one point in our lives, are bound down to an extent by one or more of these unseen fears.

Fear is a strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger or threat. It also means a phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone. 

Those days when I was in the children church, my teacher would always say “Fear means False Evidence Appearing Real.” As a child, I never really gave it a deeper thought. With time, as I grew and began to experience the ups and downs of life, this saying of hers consistently zinged through my mind, especially in situations where I needed to make an important decision.

Fear makes things appear in our minds in a way which originally is not.

Fear is that feeling that something bad might happen (even though it won’t). It is capable of making us not to reason well, and many times, these false feelings hinder us from attaining the level of success we desire in our various fields of endeavor. In some cases, this feeling makes us do things we ought not to do in order to avoid the unknown misfortune or disaster we  have already conceived in our hearts to be a reality.

The Fear of Criticism is among the various forms of Fear and one of the most dangerous as it is capable of putting one’s life on a standstill. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Criticism is the act of expressing disapproval of somebody or something and opinions about their faults or bad qualities. It may be said to be a statement showing disapproval.

Due to the fear of Criticism, reproach, ridicule and repercussion from family members, friends and even strangers, many of us hold ourselves back from making the necessary changes that would transform our lives and bring us long time happiness.

We are scared of what people will say, we hold so much regard for the opinions of others and sometimes this hinders us from going far. Looking at it from the brighter side, some of these criticisms are also what we need (in some instances) to be better.

As Napoleon Hills rightly said “Most times, we prefer honeyed words of flattery to those of cold, unbiased truth, wherein lies the weakest spot of the man-animal”. We forget that most times those words we feel are hurtful and filled with critics are what we really need to get where we want to be. Within those words lies priceless treasure but only the wise can spot it out.

The measure of a man may be taken accurately by the extent to which he adapts himself to his environment (people around) and makes it his business to accept responsibility for every adversity he meets, whether the adversity grows out of a cause within his control or not. At some point I had this fear, I was too sensitive that any form of disapproval from people would get to me. But later, I realized that, I owe it to myself not to permit my emotions to place my happiness in the judgement of another person. I realized that people will like me and the things I do, while others will not and it certainly has nothing to do with what I’m destined to be. But, most importantly, I realized that their criticisms is more like a wake-up call from my comfort zone to be better than I am. 

Our strength grows out of our weaknesses. So if you are being criticized, balance your emotions, have a clear mind, and look into the areas of weakness for you may find something worth leveraging to achieve success. Taking our attention to Emerson’s essay on compensation, “Not until we are pricked, and stung, and sorely shot, awaken the indignation which arms itself with secret forces. A great man is always willing to be little. While he sits on the cushion of advantage he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has chance to learn something he has been put on his wits, on his manhood, he has gained facts; learned his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit, has got moderation and real skill. The wise man always throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest that is thereby to find his weak point. Blame is safer than praise. I hate to be defended in a newspaper. As long as all that is said is against me, I feel a certain assurance of success. But as soon as honeyed words of praise are spoken of me, I feel as one that lies unprotected before his enemy”.

This does not mean that you should live a bad life. Live right, strive hard to be better, do good and do not be afraid to be criticized for therein lies the weakest spot of a man.

References to The Law of Success by Napoleon Hills.

Welcome to greatness by Alex Ihama.

Written by: Elendu Jennifer.

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