Feedback, Fuel, and Fear
Expose yourself to criticism, but never absorb it as your identity. Just because you get criticized doesn’t mean you accept it as true. The same goes for praise. Neither one is totally reliable. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t necessary and helpful. Criticism keeps you honest and humble. It provides real feedback, whether it’s true or not. Sometimes you need to experience crazy criticism just to understand that people will judge you no matter what you do. Why would you avoid criticism from people who criticize everything? Why would you avoid criticism from people who are honest and possibly accurate?
You don’t have to accept, or even listen to, every criticism. You just can’t avoid it. Otherwise, you’ll live on other people’s terms, and the best version of you will be hidden behind a desire for approval and acceptance. Acknowledge criticism as real information about someone’s experience of you. Understand it as one reference of how the external environment sees you. Use it to adjust your approach or reinforce your resolve. Criticism can be your best source of feedback and your best source of fuel, just don’t ever let it be a source of fear.