How To Deal With Others' Criticism

Question:

I often have this problem - in the moment when someone says to me something hurtful/criticising - I cannot say anything. Sometimes I feel numb about it or sometimes in the moment it does not feel big deal or I feel devoid of a correct explanation. But later on, the thing comes back in my head - and I wished I could say something - or explain myself. Then I feel resentful at myself for being so passive and for sometimes be taken for granted and sometimes taken advantage of.

I can often write to that person with more clarity or what was bothering me or I did not like something - but many times it is not possible to write. I am often told as not being assertive enough. I grew up in an eastern culture where that was not so important, but in the west- people form pretty hard judgements about it.

Also, I feel angry with myself for not being able to stop someone at the moment and taking advantage of my silence. Probably in the big scheme of things it does not matter so much - but I wished I could do something about it. Every time I catch myself getting to that mode - I wish I was different and that struggle thought causes pain.

I am very sensitive, get hurt easily with others negative judgement - so I find it really hard to say something opposing/snap directly on a person's face so as not to hurt. For me, I need to construct so that my words just come out to say what is bothering me rather than attacking the person. By that time, the moment is gone and I remain at the receiver's end and the person gone too. And when this kind of a thing keeps accumulating with a particular person, I retaliate back and snap out - and the person is often taken by surprise - as the person probably had no clue - and that time I am all angry and want to let out.

But in everyday scenario you cannot always do that - and I feel angry at myself for being a sponge to whom anyone can say anything and cannot protect myself. When I read your stuff or Eckhart Tolle's it all goes away and I am enveloped in peace but then again it keeps coming back. I tried changing myself, tried hard in defending myself in the moment, but it does not work. They only come back later- wishing I could have said this/that and I am again left with a pain of failing. I even am getting more tired with encounters with people and afraid of getting hurt and not able to protect myself. Probably it is restricting me in forming friendships.

Having friends/not, never bothered me in the past- but the western culture has put doubts in my mind about it. Everyone else seems to be doing that so easily - they always have a reply back and you can't get away just saying/doing anything. I take everything so personally. I want to be at peace with myself irrespective of if I can defend myself or not. Also, I don't want to be taken advantage of - in the moment when someone is doing that - I often feel at a loss as how to stop it. Only later ideas come - but by that moment it is too late and I am left feeling angry at myself.
 

Response:

So, it is all a big trick that is being believed. It sounds like for the most part, the moment itself is not the main source of pain. It is after, the regret, the guilt, the self-attack, trying to reform the past and change it and make it go a different way.

The most helpful thing is to say when the event has passed and the painful mind comes in to tell you what you should have done, then let it. It pretends as if you keep thinking, then at the end of the line of thinking there will be a solution, a golden fix - but it never comes. So let the mind come in and attack its own image of self. It says "I", and that is fine. Let it. The prolonged suffering comes in when there is an attempt to end it all, unconsciously believing that the end of it will be through thinking. So let it happen. If you let it happen it will burn out very fast. This kind of thinking can get everyone - a mind that pretends to be so clever by saying what should have been done or said, and yet in the moment, it was nowhere to be seen. If you believe it, it will hold momentum. An easy way to break the belief cycle is to actually question the thought...

For example. "I should have said this..." is a common thought. Then question, is that true? Is that absolutely true? Can you be sure, in the vast scale of things, if that is definitely true? 

Surely all you can say is that you do not know. How could you know for sure?

The other part of your question seems to be about being blocked in social situations, like you can't express yourself properly. Often it comes from feeling that you should behave or think or feel a certain way. Just give yourself some space to feel however you feel. Don't condemn yourself if feelings of anger or frustration arise. They come by themselves. Also if there is a feeling of paralysis - let that be there as well. If you let it be there, it softens, it appears smaller and less significant. Don't know how you should be, what you should say, how you should act. If you have an idea of how a person should be, how one should act, then you will try to fit yourself into that ideal mould, and you will feel restricted. Don't try to be anyone, not even yourself, not assertive, not non-assertive. Just be, and spontaneity takes over by itself.

You don't have to measure or analyse yourself by how you are doing. That quickly becomes a neurosis, a self-obsession that seems far more important than it really is. Forgive anything you see as a past mistake, but again, can you really be absolutely sure that something was a mistake?

And finally, it seems the culture you are now living in is introducing doubts as to how you should be. The western world has created a lot of madness and misery through its conditioning. Don't be so eager to fit in, to have a robotic mind that thinks like everyone else. The more you allow yourself to feel how you feel, the more ease, the more lightness there is, and the more you see that opinions, from yourself and from others, are just transient opinions.

Adam

LATER NOTE: Criticism is quite unavoidable in many areas. Some will approve, others will not. Let it be.

 

Comments for How To Deal With Others, Criticism

(from previous website)

Mar 05, 2016
End suffering NEW
by:  

Thanks much for your help. Greatly appreciated. Feels like a release which so often feels with your insights. 
Would it be possible to elaborate the first part a bit more? So the mind thinks that with its solutions it can end the suffering(?) that it believed was best for the moment? Is that what you meant? Often if you let it continue it goes on and on into more pains and anger. How to let it continue with its blabber and self-righteousness anger without getting affected? How to prevent the urge and itch of not wanting to correct the situation which feels so necessary when the mind has hit the bottom with its painful anger? May be You told it already, but a bit more practical clear steps would help. Thanks for helping so much with the site and these lighter, freedom filling insights.