7 mantras that help us deal with destructive criticism

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Joe Dispenza
@joedispenza
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Helen Mirren, one of the few actresses who have won four major cinema awards for a single film, said recently: “At 70, if I could give advice to a younger version of myself, it would be: use more often words 'go to hell' ”.

This actress was referring to the fact that too often we attach too much importance to things. We worry unnecessarily, we feel terribly bad about the criticism we suffer and this makes us waste our psychological energy unnecessarily.



Indeed, a very interesting study conducted by the University of Groningen revealed that when we are victims of criticism, unusual activity occurs in areas of the brain related to social evaluation and the expression and regulation of negative emotions, which suggests that we are trying to understand the beliefs, perceptions and feelings of those who criticize us in order to behave in a more flexible and adaptive way. Unfortunately, sometimes we get carried away and, in trying to adapt to others, we lose ourselves.

Therefore, one of the most useful lessons in life is learning to properly handle criticism, especially harmful comments and destructive opinions. Unhealthy criticism often has a very negative psychological impact, causing us to lose confidence in ourselves and start being overly influenced by what others think, instead of asking ourselves what we really want and what we need.

Keeping these mantras in mind can help us put criticism into perspective and prevent it from causing us unnecessary harm.

Mantra 1: "Criticism says more about those who criticize than about those who are criticized"

Criticism is often the expression of an intolerance towards what one does not understand or does not want to accept. Destructive criticism, which is not made for the purpose of helping, actually says much more about the way of thinking and being of the critic rather than the one being criticized. So, when you have to face acid criticism that doesn't bring you anything, think that in reality those words are usually a shield that insecure and rigid people use to protect themselves when they see you as a threat.



Mantra 2: "People only see what they want to see"

We are all victims of the "confirmation bias", a phenomenon that makes us pay attention only to the details that confirm our ideas or expectations. Therefore, it is very likely that the criticism you are receiving is a distorted view of someone trying to reassert their stereotypes, so if your behaviors, attitudes and / or words don't fit their worldview, they will judge them.

Mantra 3: "Each person has different perspectives"

A Native American saying goes: "Don't judge a person until you've walked two moons in his shoes." Everyone has a story behind them and a way of seeing the world, which means that many people judge by their position, without putting themselves in the other's place and trying to understand their motivations or their history. Of course, this does not mean that their criticisms have no value, often seeing the problem from another point of view allows us to find better solutions, but when it comes to destructive criticisms, we must keep in mind that everyone has their own way of thinking. and react, which should not always coincide with ours.

Mantra 4: "Only what I empower can hurt me"

People cannot emotionally hurt us without our consent. This means that we must be able to create a protective layer around us that allows us to defend ourselves from destructive criticism, learning not to value them more than they deserve. The ability to separate the wheat from the straw, and give things their proper emotional meaning, is the key to maintaining psychological balance throughout life. If they direct hurtful words to you that can harm you, don't give them too much importance because if you do, you are giving them the power to harm you.



Mantra 5: "I am not just my actions"

One of the main reasons why criticism bothers us so much is because we take it as an attack on our ego. In fact, a lot of criticism is aimed at the person, not at their behavior, so they are particularly painful and unfair. In those cases we can remember that we are not our actions, or at least not only those. Our actions reflect only a part of us, but we can make a mistake and remain good people if we are able to amend or apologize. A mistake does not define us as people. Therefore, there is no need to get defensive.

Mantra 6: "No one is perfect"

No one is perfect, not even the person who is criticizing you, even if they may claim to be or assume an attitude of superiority. In fact, often this attitude of moral bullying is what makes us feel ashamed or guilty. Chances are we were wrong, but it happens to everyone. It is not a tragedy. Don't let the person who criticizes you make you feel inferior or incapable. We are all different and have different skills and areas of expertise, we shouldn't feel guilty about it.

In this regard, an alarming study conducted at the University of Western Ontario revealed that there is a link between the tendency to perfectionism and to give in to social pressure and suicide. When they interviewed relatives and friends of people who had committed suicide, these psychologists found that 56% suffered social pressure to be perfect. This confirms that sometimes following Helen Mirren's advice is just a matter of pure survival.


Mantra 7: "Mistakes are opportunities to learn"

Mistakes do not make you a bad person or a "failure", on the contrary, they allow you to grow and learn. As you learn from the mistakes of the past, you will make fewer mistakes in the future and you will become a wiser person. Don't let someone with a superior attitude make you feel bad about the mistakes you've made. The most important thing is how you get up again after the fall.


In fact, an experiment conducted at Michigan State University found that the brains of people who think that intelligence is malleable and can develop reacts differently to errors. These people make fewer mistakes next time because more activation occurs in their brains, which allows them to pay more attention and not make mistakes.

 

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