Letting other people determine your actions, behaviors and future is a sure path to unhappiness. While there is nothing wrong with being sensitive to the needs of other people, there is a point that it can paralyze you – and often, you aren’t even aware of it. Caring about the opinions of others can become so powerful that it disrupts your priorities, sidelines your goals, and sets you on a path to appeasement rather than success.
Look at the signs below, see if you have them, and one-by-one tackle each. Which part of this fear can you terminate today? Decide to make a change, and you’ll be surprised how much more powerful you feel.
The 5 Signs of the Fear of Criticism & Where to Begin:
1. You are Self-Conscious
Think about how you approach a stranger? Are you shy, timid, and awkward – or are you assured, confident and easy to talk t? Other people pick up on your cues right away. Look at your body language – do you stand up straight and tall, look people in the eye – or do you not feel ‘good enough.’ Sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it. Stand up, “act like” the person you want to be and notice the difference in how you’re treated.
2. You are Indecisive
You have a hard time making decisions, side-step difficult issues, and often don’t feel confident once you do end up deciding something. You are often afraid you will make the wrong choice, and don’t trust yourself. Start looking into your choices, and make decisions. Don’t put things off. Check some things off your list.
3. You have Great “Stuff”
If you have a fear of criticism, you likely feel the need to keep up to gain social approval. Often this kills someone who wants to be upwardly mobile. It’s one thing to make an ‘investment’ in a computer or tool you need to do your work, but you’ll never move ahead if you are spending all of your money to look like a real player when you’re not. You buy the latest gadgets, clothes, shoes, hot cars, and you are leveraged to the hilt. Get realistic about money and who cares what others think. Let those things be the reward for your success, not comfort for your failures.
4. Engaging in Gossip
When you feel less than others, one way to make yourself feel superior is to put them down behind their back and compliment them to their face. That’s not only going to bite you in the end, but it shows your own insecurity. If you are feeling inferior, work on the things you lack. If you have a problem with others, talk to them. Be bigger than petty gossip.
5. Not Walking the Talk
You talk about all the things you want just like everyone else, and you do nothing about it – just like everyone else. You lack initiative and don’t take chances that will propel you ahead because you don’t want the scrutiny from others. Being successful will mean not “going with the flow,” and people who fear criticism won’t engage in the risks it takes. Everybody talks about wanting a better life, but it’s few who actually do it.
If you want to reach for the big time, you are going to have to stick your neck out – and you will get criticized. However, if you’ve got money and status, it doesn’t put you at less risk. People often mistakenly believe that if they get successful enough, they are no longer vulnerable – but let me assure you, you are. I have seen well-known people hospitalized for an inability to cope with the criticisms of life under the name of “exhaustion” or “nervous breakdown,” and let me tell you, nobody’s opinion is worth your health and happiness.
Wherever you are at in life – Rid yourself of the fear, and a weight will be lifted off your shoulders.