June 11, 2024 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Why these words make me angry

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Why does some criticism make you angry?

Imagine two scenarios.

In the first, I’m out doing the grocery shopping. Some random person comes running up to me and says, “You should learn more about boat building in ancient Greece!”

I’d be like, “Whatever random guy. What are you even talking about?” and I’d move on.

In the second scenario, someone comes up and says, “You need to work harder and stop being lazy.”

At that point, I’m likely to get pretty angry. I’d tell him to get lost, maybe throw can of baked beans at him.

I’m sure you can relate.

Now, why do these two scenarios generate such a different response in me? Why does one feel like it’s irrelevant and why does one make me angry?

They are both the opinions of a random individual who knows nothing about me. They deserve the same weight.

The reason why the second one makes me angry is that it picks up on something that I tell myself on a regular basis.

I’m getting better, but I can be a bit hard on myself sometimes. I push myself, and sometimes that pushing takes the form of an angry footy coach telling me to pull my finger out.

“You’re lazy,” is a message I’ve copped a fair bit of. I’m pretty exhausted by it. I’m touched out by it.

So when I get it from random people – or from friends and family – it gets a rise out of me.

It’s triggering.

In that way, it’s a good rule to remember. The only criticism that makes you angry is the criticism that you’ve heard too many times before.

And if there’s someone in your world – maybe your husband or wife? – who really makes you angry, maybe this is something to check in on.

Is the reason why what they’re saying gets so far under my skin just because it’s something I’ve told myself too many times?

And if I’m tired of feeling angry with them all the time – and I’m tired of feeling judged and criticised all the time – maybe the antidote might be to find ways to be more gentle with myself.

I mean, ideally they could stop being critical and judgemental, but some people can’t be helped.

But it doesn’t have to affect you. It can land as irrelevantly as someone telling you to brush up on your nautical architecture.

You can neutralise the poison.

And that’s through a process of being gentle with yourself. Find peace with the story inside yourself first.

(Which, actually, is worth doing anyway.)

Stop criticising yourself, and then no criticism can really touch you.