Sticks and stones

in philosophy •  13 days ago

Why are we so afraid of criticism, why are we so unwilling to have what we do judged by others?

As part of our evolution as animals, a large part of our success is based upon our judgement of our world. whether something is safe too eat, safe to jump across, safe to approach. Yes, judgement has kept us alive and as a result, we are hard wired to evaluate our world.

This wiring still judges regardless of whether there is a threat to life or not and gets applied to all kinds of areas now but mostly, preferences. We judge poorly what we dislike and favourably what we do. We rarely think much about the bias in our judgement however as to us, we feel objective.

This means that when we judge the positions of others we feel justified in the judgement and carry the results of our evaluation as fact, even when we have no supporting evidence.

But, this doesn't really answer why we fear being judged and it is a fear for many. The reason often is that we also have wiring to be part of a group and an unfavourable judgement of our skills threatens our survival within the group.

When this social wiring was developed, groups were very small and there was very little option to join another tribe. This meant that everyone had to be judged valuable to the group to be considered as a member. There were likely a narrow range of skill sets that were deemed value adding. Maybe hunting or collecting, tool creation, medicine, mothers and those able to teach and pass on skills.

Whatever these are, it meant that people had to learn a group trade and be sufficiently adequate at it to survive and most likely, procreate. Those that were viewed the most valuable likely had the highest potential to pass on their genes also.

This wiring still wants us to satisfy the needs of the group but hasn't factored in the very fast and enormous growth of group size and diversity of skill set. This means that even though there are an enormous number of tribes to become a part of, we want to satisfy whatever the current group values. When they judge us unfavourably, we are likely to feel ostracised and the wiring from the past leads us to believe we have suffered a social death.

This criticism though is also where a lot of opportunity lays for improvement as it is here that we can get valuable feedback to consider. It doesn't mean they are right however as they are biased by preference but, it does give us food for thought. With open consideration of criticism (whatever form it takes) we can essentially get a glimpse in several mirrors to get different perspectives as more often than not, another judgement of us tells more of their viewing position than the reality of what they are judging.

But this fear of receiving criticism holds us back from putting our effort in or entering into areas that we are unsure whether we 'have what it takes' to succeed. It forces ourselves to judge the possibility of failure as too much of a risk, so we play it safe instead.

But, we play it safe in areas where there is an asymmetrical return on success. The risks of complete failure (death) are very, very low, the effort required to take the first steps low but, the possible return on the investment can actually be very high. By avoiding criticism, which we deem failure, is to hold oneself back from reaching potential in a whole range of experiences.

This leads to a world where the group's potential is limited to areas that are judged valuable and only those with the necessary skills need apply. This means that all of the skill and finds that are yet to be discovered are slowed down as fewer people are willing to take the leap into a place that may or may not be valuable and could cost them social standing.

This risk is not calculable as to push into the unknown comes with necessary uncertainty and again, our wiring tells us to avoid the unknown as what could be in the dark, may be dangerous. So, we listen to the messages from the wiring that has been created for another purpose instead of venturing into the darkness.

The way to tackle fear is to be curious enough that the want to know what is possible outweighs the attachment of what could be lost. Fear is always coupled with loss, an attachment to something we think is ours. Perhaps material goods or social standing but at the core of it all, our ego itself, the loss of who we are.

This is what the wiring has come to protect and because we fill our minds with consumption and entertainment, we no longer invest into finding out who we are. This means we are in constant protection mode of something we don't understand and when criticism comes, we identify it as an attack on what we think we are, even though we have never explored that depth.

There are many opportunities in life and many places to fail but, failure from a life view is the inability to continue life, not the inability to fit into one group or another. The Beauty of the world at the moment is that we have the possibility to experiment in so many areas, play with so many toys that each of us can continually drive deeper into our potential.

The drawback of the world is that we have so many ways to escape investing in ourselves, so many people to blame, so much entertainment to consume that we start to believe we are it and the opinion of the group matters. So we blend in and lose who we truly are by trying to become what the group wants us to be.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Yes, a tired old children's rhyme. The criticisms we get are not sticks and stones, they do not break our bones but the words can break what we think we are and in so doing help us find out what we really are.

Welcome criticism, use it.

Taraz
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Hi taraz.I used to be work in a very large company where every one was nice to each other face to face and the opposite behind your back. Criticism is good when it is valid and can be bought in the open and discussed. It should be used as a learning tool and used more often. No one likes criticism so they will fix whatever needs fixing if they understand what it is and the reasoning behind it.

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No one likes criticism so they will fix whatever needs fixing if they understand what it is and the reasoning behind it.

In that kind of environment, reasoning is imprtant.

When it comes to taking criticism, I think that o matter how it is presented or how uncomfortable, it is possible for the individual to reflect on it and see if there is value within. Easier said than done without a sense of emotional stability.

I would say first and for most, I am open to constructive criticism. Judging just to judge is wrong but loving criticism can produce growth...and I am truly willing to grow as a person. I once dated a woman who could not take criticism. Sad. There are folks like that in our world. Why? Why he fear of criticism? Hmmm. Perhaps a self esteem issue hiding. Perhaps a spiritual fear of being judged one day by God. I do not know. On another note...words can hurt if they are used too freely. Words are a neutral force that can be used positively or destructively. Handle with care. Irresponsibly they can create the baggage that some folks will carry for a lifetime. No. We are not responsible for the actions of others. But we ARE responsible for the seeds we plant. We must use our be and wise judgement when exercising such. Thanks for your good article my friend.

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Words are just words I think. How they are received is what matters and even if they are said to cause harm, it doesn't mean they need to. If we have to watch everything we say in case we risk offending people, we will never be able to speak at all as we can never know what will offend prior to it being said. When we assume we know, we are actually using cultural bias and not being sensitive to the individual at all.

Welcome criticism, use it.

It is much easier said than done, and hard to be mindful at the best of times.

Easy to lash out first, and consider later - frequently guilty as charged!

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Bollocks to it - you can say sorry later...lol

The fear of upsetting people's sensitivities has gone way too far...

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Bollocks to it - you can say sorry later...lol

This is true but never assume acceptance of the apology.

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Easy to lash out first, and consider later - frequently guilty as charged!

I think this is normal. Not necessarily healthy, but normal.

We have been brought up to be a set over oversensitive pussies! - and that is a very real problem.
Can you imagine this conversation, even 50 years ago...?

Cultural marxism has a lot to answer for - but it will soon be banished to history (never to be repeated)

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Words are just words but, they are still a movement and carry consequence. Pretending they don't is foolish. For every action there is a reaction and not all are predictable by our limited perspectives.

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Absolutely correct.

Someone commented on how glad they were that my cat had died... (yes , really)...

Lucy read it, and now she's working out some potential consequences....lolol

Excellent post and oh so true

Most people are so worried about outward appearances, what others think of them, how they are perceived by the outside world, etc., that they never stop to look inward.

Of courser criticism hurts, learning you're not perfect comes as an absolute shock to most people. Whaddya mean I'm not the shining beacon of perfection and righteousness that you worship and follow every word I say. Huh I never would have guessed that.

We as a society must learn to take criticism better. To accept the fact that perhaps we need to change within. Even if we believe ourselves to be role models others might not see us that way. As I'm fond of saying, perception is reality and no two people have the exact same view of the world or situation at the exact moment in time.

In general I feel that as we have become more disconnected from personal interactions due to our time being faceless warriors behind keyboards and monitors we have also lost the ability to accept criticism. And it gets worse with each following generation.

As we remain isolated from those we criticize it is impossible to see the hurt we cause as we do not see their faces, their expressions, the pain in their eyes, etc.

It is so easy now to hide behind the keyboard and become more and more callous since you do not have to feel the guilt you would if you were interacting physically with those around you.

As such, criticism is becoming more prevalent in society and our ability to handle it, to turn it into something positive or even to self reflect and discard it is diminishing each day.

I weep for the future of humanity as I get older each day. I am at the old man sitting on his porch yelling "Hey you kids, GET OFF MY GRASS" stage of life and have seen a definite slide in humanity over the years.

Criticism and self acceptance is just one aspect that we, as a society, need to work on.

Now I completely agree with the others who have said that political correctness has gone too far and we need to stop trying to make every snowflake out there feel safe and precious at all times. Sorry man, you are living in this life and crap happens. Deal with it

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We as a society must learn to take criticism better. To accept the fact that perhaps we need to change within.

We might not need to change but, it shouldn't be a problem to take a look in the mirror from time to time. Criticism can point to starting points.

In general I feel that as we have become more disconnected from personal interactions due to our time being faceless warriors behind keyboards and monitors we have also lost the ability to accept criticism. And it gets worse with each following generation.

I feel the same and this is just the beginning.

As we remain isolated from those we criticize it is impossible to see the hurt we cause as we do not see their faces, their expressions, the pain in their eyes, etc.

Yep. We no longer have the responsibility of facing our opposition or gauging their reaction. it means we aren't good at reading people, nor approaching subjects.

As such, criticism is becoming more prevalent in society and our ability to handle it, to turn it into something positive or even to self reflect and discard it is diminishing each day.

Emotionally stunted.

Now I completely agree with the others who have said that political correctness has gone too far and we need to stop trying to make every snowflake out there feel safe and precious at all times.

Part of the problem is exposure to reality and, preparation for it. We protect from childhood, how can we expect them to learn?

Your writing is very useful . I emprisiat you and your always any topics .

Nice article I don’t have words to explain about criticisms but what you mentioned it really make understand well vote by me thanks