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  • Writer's pictureTom Robinson

Why taking criticism (even if it's well intentioned) can affect one's mental health!


Just a quick couple of thoughts this morning after certain events this week got me thinking!

Cutting to the chase, here's the bombshell...

- So much of what is going on with poor mental health stems from relationships (professional, romantic, family, platonic) with other people - in fact I would argue that all of it does!

This week I've been subjected to a few comments which could easily have affected my mental health but (I am glad to say) have not, as I have managed to avert disaster and rise above!

The majority of it comes from miscommunication but then I'm convinced there's a bit of it that comes from the fact that we live in a dog-eat-dog world and too many people are concerned with 'getting ahead' even if that means being rude to others along the way!

One thing I've learnt from the social media I'm having to do is that there is a tonne of 'influencers' out there who aren't influencing anything at all! BUT they seem to be incredibly protective of their platforms and unwilling to help those with messages to reach other people.

This is upsetting to me when I'm genuinely trying to help people to survive chronic illness and all gratuitously...


I think what's happening is that because mental illness and suicide are so important to me, I am assuming (wrongly) that it is important to everyone else too - and I will tell you that it's not!

Dealing with criticism

When it comes to accepting criticism, I think a lot of us struggle.

This can impact our mental health very negatively if we do not work hard on accepting that others may have a different opinion and let some of it go!

I was never good at accepting criticism in my riding career.

I was very confident that what I was doing was right and was happy with my trainer. So, when anyone dared to comment, I would shoot them down because I was worried about being confused by other's opinions.

I was also in my early 20's and thought I knew everything, when now I see that I knew nothing about life at all!

By the way - you know nothing about life really until you turn 40.

For me it was 41.

AND if you've been on the death/life boundary for years at a time as well, then all of this superfluous crap will mean very little - it's all quite impossible to explain!

You have to find your own way (someone reading might relate - I'm sure there'll be many that don't!!)

Anyway, my point is that I am having to deal with criticism on the content I'm producing.

99.9% of the feedback I get is so positive which is wonderful, but then there's that 0.1% of negativity that comes my way - like the comment this week that my videos are too long and that I'm patronising (and even from one person this week 'hostile'!!!)

OMG mortified!

I'm honestly so sorry if I am! I'm simply trying to help others! All of my content is positively intentioned I assure you!

I am proud of myself for how I've handled this stuff (which btw I am well aware will get slung my way in this process - and was why I steered clear of social media for so long), because I rose above the comments and didn't retaliate at all.

Everyone is going to have a different opinion and not everyone is going to support or like what you are doing. You just have to accept that and keep going!


I think a lot of the miscommunication in today's world happens because the meaning in our messages gets misconstrued.

So much of the communication in daily life is written in text - a format that constantly causes confusion and upset.

Especially if people don't punctuate!

In another example this week (where disaster was only just averted), I offered constructive criticism to someone else who then shot me down into a million pieces!

Again, my advice was well intentioned (I mean perhaps the social media person's was too?!) but my message was completely misconstrued as an attack and then I got a barrage of defense about 'why it's beyond someone's job description to do x,y.z...'

Being so charitable with my time, I was at a loss to understand this. In all of the jobs I've had I've always gone beyond the call of duty to help people - it's what makes the difference between average and excellent - Never mind!

Anyway, this was also smoothed over by me realising that the meaning was lost in translation and that not everyone thinks the same! (Emotional intelligence to the fore)...

We have to learn to let these little annoyances go.

They are trivialities that don't really affect me anymore, but I know that they would have done in years past.

Small annoyances would have festered and I would have ruminated on them for days and days. The cumulative effect and negative impact on my mental health over time would have taken it's toll.

I KNOW this is why a lot of people are struggling out there....

Moral of the story?

I think the conclusion is that we must work hard to maintain the peace in our relationships, try to see the other's point of view, accept criticism, and try to believe that NLP is right when it says that:

"Every behaviour has a positive intention"

What do we all make of that one?!

Thanks for reading,

Speak to you soon,


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