No one likes getting criticized. Some handle it better than others, but deep down we all tolerate it at best like we do a dental cleaning. Many even have a fear of criticism, which can be as difficult as overcoming a fear of failure or conquering a fear of change. But it’s a fact of life and in fact, can become debilitating. And the problem is that our wiring works against us in handling criticism. The world is not kind to modern self-esteem. It only takes one ill-received piece of feedback at work to completely derail your day.

Taylor Shien is an Georgia based commercial model and entrepreneur, owner of DermaClear Skin, LLC and is involved in a number of commercial modeling projects. Taylor says,  I’ve always wanted to help people, and I understand firsthand how difficult it is to deal with acne and skin imperfections.

She says it can take a lot of time and energy to convince yourself that you’re awesome — so how do we avoid letting people infiltrate that awesomeness with a flying knee to your self-worth? And how do we use it to get better? Nobody likes being criticised but, unfortunately, it is a fact of life. To be able to respond to criticism with nobility and detachment is an important life skill, which few people have. If we respond to criticism without careful consideration, it can easily lead to unnecessary suffering.

Criticism. That word scares the hell out of so many people, bringing a gnawing feeling of dread and doubt. Know what I’m talking about? Well, I certainly do. I used to be so afraid of it, to the point I would limit my experiences and actions simply out of fear of what people might say. The problem is that quite often, we only value praise. When people speak kind words we feel happy. When people criticise we feel miserable. However, if we only received insincere praise and false flattery, how would we ever make progress? If we wish to improve and develop we should invite constructive criticism and appreciate their suggestions.

Would you rather be judged or ignored? These are the consequences of life’s great binary choice–whether to make a difference or not. Faced with this decision, surely taking on some criticism seems acceptable in comparison. If you want to “dent the universe”, as Steve Jobs once challenged, you’re going to make dents in your armour here and there. 

No one said it was fair. In fact, what others risk by criticizing is minuscule compared to what you risk by putting yourself out there (internet trolls I’m looking at you). But don’t let that stop you ever.

Criticism boils down to a basic fear that can often get the best of us: the fear of rejection. When people are criticized, they feel rejected, judged, not part of. And, in the end, they let it affect their very image of themselves. But criticism isn’t a problem. It’s our reaction to criticism that’s the problem. Not all criticizers are created equal, and some shouldn’t even get a seat at the table. Set criteria for those who make the cut, and mentally dismiss the rest.

If you know a person who is critical of everything try not to take their comments too seriously, as this is just part of their character trait. Most criticism is probably based, at least in part, on some truths. Criticism may appear negative. But, through criticism, we have the opportunity to learn and improve from their suggestions Taylor quoted.