A major fear
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard
Just how man originally came about this fear, no one can state definitely, but one thing is certain, he has it in a highly developed form.
The basic fear of criticism could be attributed to that part of man’s inherited nature which prompts him to not only take away his fellowman’s goods and products, but to justify his action by criticism of his fellowman’s character. For politicians, it appears that they seek office not by displaying their own virtues but by attempting to besmirch their opponents.
The fear of criticism takes on many forms, the majority of which are petty and trivial.
But even for many more critical thoughts, many people will lie rather than state the truth and be criticized. People have been burned at the stake and killed using other methods for stating that they do not believe in ghosts and other current beliefs. It is no wonder that we have inherited a consciousness which makes us fear criticism. The time was when criticism carried severe punishments – it still does in some countries.
Robs initiative and …
The fear of criticism robs man of his initiative, destroys his power of imagination, limits his individuality, takes away his self-reliance and does him damage in a hundred other ways.
Criticism is the one form of service of which everyone has too much. Everyone has a stock of it which is handed out free of charge whether called for or not.
Employers who understand human nature get the best out of their employees, not by criticism, but by constructive suggestion. Criticism will plant fear in the human heart, or resentment, but it will not build love or affection.
Symptoms of the fear of criticism
This fear is almost as universal as the fear of poverty, and its effects are just as fatal to personal achievement, mainly because this fear destroys initiative and discourages the use of imagination.
The major symptoms of this fear are:
Self-consciousness. Generally expressed through nervousness, timidity in conversation and in meeting strangers.
Lack of poise. This shows through lack of voice control, nervousness in the presence of others, poor body posture and poor memory.
Personality. Lacking in a firmness of decision, personal charm and ability to express opinions definitely. The habit of side-stepping issues instead of meeting them head-on.
Inferiority complex. The habit of expressing self-approval by word of mouth and by actions as a means of covering up a feeling of inferiority. Using “big words” to impress others, often not knowing the real meaning of the words.
Lack of initiative. The failure to embrace opportunities for self-advancement, fear to express opinions, lack of confidence in one’s own ideas.
Lack of ambition. Mental and physical laziness, lack of self-assertion, slowness in reaching decisions, easily influenced by others.
Defeating this fear
By taking an inventory of yourself and if you discover any of the symptoms of the fear of criticism, then you can defeat this fear by addressing these symptoms at their root and eliminating them from your daily life.
It is difficult, but with effort, this fear can be eliminated.