I’m sure you must know the saying, “you teach what you most need to learn.” Well, this week I’m talking about how to become immune to criticism and unwanted advice. It’s something that is close to my heart and very much a work in progress.
Growing Up With Criticism
I grew up with a lot of criticism of the back-handed variety, such as “that’s great but…” which left me feeling rejected, not good enough and like something was missing. If I tried harder, maybe then I’d get love, approval and acceptance, maybe then they’d love me just the way I am…
I remember calling my Dad once when I was in my final year at Uni, telling him that I was on target for a 2:1 in my Bachelor degree. I was so excited and proud of myself, I couldn’t wait to tell him. His reaction was, “Great, but you know you have to get a first, don’t you?”
It was like putting a pin to a balloon. I felt deflated, rejected and small. And I had the need, as so often the case, to make it worse by trying to justify myself with a sarcastic and childish quip, “Well, I might as well just give up now, then, because who gets a first in history? Only boffins and that’s not me!” I mean, I was the first in our family to go to university, and here was my Dad STILL finding fault in me.
Reframing With Gratitude And Self-Praise
Over the years I learned to focus on gratitude for what I have instead of on lack, which helped me a lot to reframe my negative training in childhood.
Also, writing down self-praise at the end of the day for things I’ve done well helps combat criticism because then my “praise tank” is full and doesn’t need to be filled by anyone else.
Then, in late 2015, I did a live online masterclass with the famous UK hypnotherapist, Marisa Peer, on becoming “bulletproof” to criticism. It was mind-blowing! In it, she taught thousands of people some useful phrases to combat negative criticism and also what type of people critics often are. I’m so grateful for these tips and would like to pass them on to you here.
Four Levels Of Response
If someone criticises you, according to Marisa, there are four levels of response:
1. “Thanks for sharing (your opinion)” (or I tend to just say, “Uhu” or otherwise barely acknowledge that the person has said something critical to me and change the subject).
2. “Pardon? I didn’t quite catch that. Could you repeat it please?” This one makes the critic reflect for a second on what he or she has said and mostly they’ll rephrase to be less critical or just say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter.” It’s best to leave it at that and change the subject.
3. If the critic does repeat their negative criticism, then the next level of reply would be, “Are you trying to hurt my feelings?” The critic will often then rephrase or explain what they really meant or just apologise for how it came across.
4. If they say “Yes!” to trying to hurt your feelings, then you reply, “Well, that’s just not going to happen. And while we’re sharing, did you know that critical people don’t like themselves (and everyone else here knows that too)?” Or simply reply to the criticism with, “You don’t like yourself, do you?”
It sounds simple enough but when you’re being criticised you often feel like a deer in the headlights and freeze, or you might retaliate with justification or sarcasm (or both in my case!) Learn these phrases off-by-heart so that you’re well-equipped with a masterful and confident reply. And then swiftly change the subject!
It’s a similar situation with unwanted advice. People just give it to you when you’re simply telling them what’s going on in your life. They ask you how you are and what you’re up to and before you know it, they’re handing out advice left, right and centre. I often go down a right old rabbit hole with this one. We end up discussing something to do with my work, for example, for ages, even though the other person has absolutely no idea how to run an online business. And I end up even more confused than before and start doubting myself and everything I’ve done up to now!
What To Do About It?
So, how to counteract this? This morning, in fact, I read some great advice (haha!) on dealing with unwanted advice or questions about topics you’d rather not discuss, especially if they trigger you or make you feel bad. It came from a course mentor of mine, Denise Duffield-Thomas. She advises to #beandip. This means she redirects the conversation by changing the subject:
“You need to do xyz to be more successful in your business.”
“Thanks for that. Have you tried this delicious bean dip?”
“Did you get a pay rise when you renegotiated your contract?”
“Everything’s fine, thanks. How was your holiday in Spain?”
“When are you going to get married?”
“Haha! You’re funny. I think it’s going to rain this afternoon, don’t you?”
“How much did that cost you?”
“Worth every penny. Would you like some more carrots?”
It works with sports talk, the weather, holidays or asking questions back as an answer. FABULOUS! I’m definitely going to practise this one 🙂
Are You Sensitive To Criticism?
If you feel that you’d like more help with understanding where your sensitivity to criticism comes from so that you can clear it and become more confident and masterful in any situation, please book a free initial consultation call with me here. I have helped myself and others with this problem and know from experience how wonderful it is to be able to become immune to criticism! Or if you KNOW this is what you want to work on, please book my one-to-one hypnosis coaching package here, which includes one free initial consultation call, three hypnosis coaching sessions of up to 90 minutes and three personalised audio programming audios.
Looking forward to serving you again soon!