Critics: Friends or Foes?




When we stop caring what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our capacity to be vulnerable. 




Have you ever been criticised? YIKES! 


Just the thought of that question brings a flood of memories.


There was the time someone said, "You go around every system to get what you want." And that other time I was told, "You withhold yourself for attention." Oh and what about the time they said, "You avoid dealing with things because you're afraid of conflict."


it can lead us to improve ourselves.


The thing is, there is always some truth (or possibly a lot of truth) in every criticism spoken to us. The positive element of criticism is that it can lead us to improve ourselves. The danger of criticism is that it can shut us down and lead us to harden our hearts towards our critics.


We are our own worse critics. Sometimes, we add our own self-criticism, topping the criticism of others. Other times, we do this work all by ourselves.


every time I am criticised, With the parts that are true, I determine to face, admit and own them.


My philosophy: every time I am criticised, I take a quick look at myself- my heart and my life- to see if some (or all) of it is true. With the parts that are true, I determine to face, admit and own them. With the rest, whether big or small, I shake it off and let it go.


Brené Brown is a current storyteller-researcher who became famous when her TED Talk on vulnerability went viral. Brené is funny, articulate and very real.


Recently, I discovered another talk by her. Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count addresses the critics in our lives, including ourselves, as our own worst critic. Watch the video and have a go at answering the thought-provoking and profound questions she poses.


  • What would you try if no one criticised you?
  • Who is the person who speaks truth and life to you, dusting you off when you've had a bad day?   
  • What part of yourself have you orphaned?


To the critics who are in the arena with you, practicing risk and vulnerability, always give them a voice, whether positive or negative.


To the critics who play it safe in the stands but never in the arena, thank them and move on.


And remember the bold, truthful words of Theodore Roosevelt:


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood [...] who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”