Guest Post by Megha Shah: How Criticizing Others Affects Their Self-Esteem (People. Matter. 02.15.17)

Even God doesn’t judge a man until his last moments — then who are we to judge others?

More often than not, we take it for granted that people will behave and talk like we want them to. It is human nature to expect a certain kind of response from any person. Failing to get such a response, we tend to, very conveniently, tell them hurtful things — things that when told to us would result in anger and rage. 

Through this blog post, I would like to highlight a few important points that we tend to completely overlook.

To begin with, criticism has various reactions. To some people, it may result in sparking rage to prove others wrong while for others, it may lead to low morale and declining self-confidence.

Let me tell you a real incident in support of my statement.

When I was in high school, one of my batchmates was the victim of a high school prank gone bad. Bad to the extent that one could literally notice her inner being sulking day-by-day to the point where we rarely ever heard from her or about her. She’d sit aloof from the class in a separate corner, avoid any conversation with anyone, and miss school on the days of group assignments. All of this because another student mocked and insulted her in front of everyone during recess.

It’s been three years since then, and just the other day I happened to see her at a bus stop. Of course, it took me a while to recognize her. She was just the same — waiting for the bus with a book in her hands, trying hard to avoid eye contact with anyone. That’s when it hit me. That’s precisely when I realised that that one recess had changed her forever. Her self-esteem was knocked off and she will probably never be able to express herself openly or listen to her heart. That’s when I realised that everyone from high school had moved on with their lives, but she was pretty much stuck in that moment.

This incident got me thinking that if one small joke could have such an adverse effect on her, what other effects does criticism have?

Upon digging deep, I realised the main impact that criticism has is creating a very negative and destructive force of energy. Being someone who believes greatly in the powers of energy and the universe, I believe negative energy can have a long-lasting impact not just on the situation at hand, but also on the subconsciousness of a person.

The very fact that my batchmate was surrounded by negative energy in her developing years is why she found it difficult to communicate and express herself openly. This led to her becoming an introvert and not trusting anyone.

Criticising someone affects their self-esteem greatly. The worst thing you could do to anyone else is to put them on the defensive — putting them in a position where they need to justify their thoughts and opinions. One’s thoughts and opinions are their own. You don’t need to agree with them in order to validate them. They’re valid because they’re someone’s own. You have no right to make someone doubt their own thoughts or thinking processes. While many simply answer back and let the situation pass, for some it could get them wondering about everything they do. This leads to a slow death of morale and confidence. People start sinking in their own shadows trying to find answers to the “why” that never existed.

This is the reason overly critical people immediately put me off. They are probably so unsure of themselves, that when faced with someone who they think is better than them, they’d immediately put them down and have a good laugh about it. What they don’t realise is that while it was a casual joke for them, for someone else, it may lead to a series of unwanted negative feelings and consequences.

Therefore, from one human to another, here is my request to all: Practice Humanity.

Respect another person’s ideas for it is often the craziest of ideas that lead to revolutionary developments. Imagine if someone would have criticized Walt Disney for his cartoons. Our childhoods would have been hard to imagine without Mickey Mouse and his friends. Always encourage others to do what they believe in. Former U.S. President Barack Obama believed he could become the president despite what other people thought and he made a great one indeed.

Be the change you wish to see and oh what a world it’ll be!

We’re all ‘Human Beings’ but are we ‘Being Human’?

A dreamer, traveller, aspiring entrepreneur and a bookworm beyond repair, Megha Shah is extremely fond of writing and has been doing so since she was a child. Apart from being a part-time writer, Megha is currently in college, pursuing B. Com. (Hons). Megha is an ardent follower of ‘Hardship, Hustle and Heart’ and firmly believes in the power of hard work and destiny!

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