How to Deal with Criticism: Changing What’s In Your Head

Today I woke wondering why I have this mental habit of trying to get everything done all at once or in a very short time period.   It is as if my mind refuses to live in a sequential, time-based, rhythmic world.   I have trouble doing sequences-based tasks like following recipes or sticking to an exercise program whose increments are gradual.   What I discovered, when doing the internal processing work, the kind you do with NLP,  is that  when I do sequential work or try to do it, my mind runs into the fear of criticism.    This is what happens.

  1.  My mind imagines being criticized by someone, not too dissimilar to what would happened in real life, and then it automatically turns up the volume until it is like screaming.   To avoid actual screaming I do everything I can to not let it happen by trying to get done all of my tasks before any criticism can occur.   It isn’t a very effective pattern.
  2.  There is a lot of tension connected with trying to get things done quickly rather than taking time and doing it in a more relaxed manner.

The change takes place when I go back in my mind to various times in my life such as entering school and then replace the screaming with a sweet encouraging voice.   It has a kind of calming effect that relaxes the tension.   In turns out that I have had a lot of time periods where in my life where I do the strategy of raising the volume of the criticism.

Beyond the change of screaming to sweetness in the quality of the voice,  I also noticed that I easily held on stubbornly to negative feelings against those who did the criticizing as if they were now eternal life long enemies.   Needless to say with the screaming and the holding onto negative feelings,  my ego was in a huge over-reaction out of protection.     To let go of the negative feelings toward the other people the thing that seems to help after I have the sweet voice implanted in my mind is to have a lot of understanding for the trauma that the criticizers have been through.

The combination of understanding and changing the screaming to sweetness allows the sequence of action to just happen much more easily.

3 Comments on “How to Deal with Criticism: Changing What’s In Your Head”

  1. I understand completely your explanation of receiving the criticism…but how about if I am the one criticizing?!? How do I deal with her! I know its a defense system, of “feeling right”, but thats as far as I get. All the women in my family are very critical…and my daughters are too!! Time to break the pattern! Thanks for all your fabulous Dream Work!!

    • Hi Johanna,
      So cool to hear from you. It has been too long. Here is what you can do with the you that is so critical. First you should have a journal or something like it. Then sit in a quiet place. Imagine the you that is the criticizer outside of yourself talking to you. Then start asking her the interesting questions like what are you hoping to get out of the criticism? Does it work? Are you getting what you want by being critical? What is it that you are getting out of the criticism? Is it like a drug for you? Which one is like (which drug is it like)? If you were encouraging to yourself or others and had good boundaries, what would you be missing if you couldn’t criticize anymore? Got it. I am going to do this with myself and then tell you what my drug is. Mind you, I haven’t taken any drugs since the early 70s. LOL!!!

    • The drug stage that criticism does is something like marijuana. By throwing out the criticism it gives a temporary state of peace. It so does nothing to change what I want it to change. By letting go of the criticism of others I can open up the ability to do my productive projects in a sequential manner with a lot of rhythm. It seems like the goal I had in criticizing others was to change the larger system including the people in charge, but it never worked. By letting go of trying to change the system I can get to an inner state of peace and then go after the primary goal which is to assist others in actualizing their potentialities.

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