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Fear of criticism is a common fear that prevents men from getting what they want in life.

Since fear is a thinking problem, the way to overcome fear is with better thinking. Here are four questions I use to help stimulate such thinking when I face fear or criticism:

1. Would you rather be in their position or your position? 

Many people don’t like contrasts that remind them of how ineffective they’ve been in pursuing their own goals. If your life is clearly superior to their life (in your judgment), you can safely ignore their criticism. They are not criticizing you because you’re doing anything bad; they’re criticizing you because they feel bad about themselves. You should feel pity rather than fear.

On the other hand, if they are in a superior position, be grateful for the criticism. As my college band instructor used to say, “be proud that I’m ripping you to shreds. If I didn’t think you had any potential, I’d just say ‘good job’ and get on with my day.”

2. Are they an unknown commenter on the internet?

They are not a real person in this context. It’s just an idea that you can accept or reject privately with no social consequences.

3. Are they a true friend?

A true friend has your best interest in mind. Perhaps they see a danger you are not aware of. A true friend won’t try to hold you back from growing or take away your power. They’re just providing a second set of eyes. Consider their perspective, but the decision is still yours to make.

4. Can you really have unity with someone who rejects you?

Sometimes you must make decisions that risks relationships with friends and family. But if you’re seeking to please God and someone rejects you for it, there was never true unity to begin with. At least you can be grateful that false pretenses are removed and you can discard the burden of trying to upkeep a dead relationship.