Those who build a life and a career as a skeptic or a critic, are often praised for their wisdom and keen analytical awareness. In fact, they are idealized in many cultures for being those who guide us to what has the appropriate level of innovation, sophistication, trendiness, aesthetic, or spark. Their words can make or break every individual’s career. This is especially so if they have a popular enough platform to express their opinions, corroborated with science or current cultural trends.
We imagine a rather lavish lifestyle for these noteworthy critics and skeptics, and associate this refinement with a high socio-economic class. Being highly skeptical or critical, means one has the privilege and security enough in life, to be picky, to care about analyzing things or people, that most others on this planet are too busy to care or ponder about.
We are all sold a bill of goods, that we must strive for that refinement and comfort in life, to be able to live in the comfortable world of the skeptic and critic.
However, I have come to see that people who approach life in this manner, are often the least likely to experience generating their own enjoyment, connection, and the satisfaction of completing something they have created on their own. These are the people who are actually the most hateful and self-critical, and also are absolutely terrified of the vulnerability associated with real or perceived failure.
Because these people are so terrified of creating or building something of their own, they have instead opted to do what they know best, express fear, and convince others to also be infected with it. In the process of gaining others to infect with fear, they have learned how to disguise their fear as a commodifiable service, that serves to help them live off of the energy of others, while replacing what they take, with fear and doubt. These people are the ones who ride the coattails of creators and visionaries, and vampirically drain the power and vitality from those who form our society and culture. They drain joy from others. They drain inspiration from others. They drain motivation and initiative from others. And, the best trick of all, is we are fooled in to thinking they are the ones who create society and culture, when really they feed parasitically from those who are the actual creators.
It is important to recognize that when you are feeling drained, fearful, doubtful, and uninspired in the presence of someone giving you critical feedback about your goals, projects, and decisions, it is likely a signal they are a critic/skeptic. The survival of your ideas, creative drive, and dreams is contingent upon you not accepting their “gift” of fear, which they attempt to disguise as help. The way to do this is to kindly say, “It seems to challenge/scare/upset you that I have this idea/dream/project? What in your own life do you feel powerless to achieve?”
You will likely get one of two responses from the critic. They will either double down on trying to make you feel shame, doubt, and fear, and respond with an insult to your intelligence or sanity. Or, they will stop in their tracks and apologize, or will share more about what is being triggered for them, by being a witness or support to you in your process. At any rate, their response will highlight how abrasive they are, or how fearful they are, which gives you a chance to refocus the analysis back upon their character, behavior and process, taking you out of the position of target.
Practicing this method with anyone who routinely s***s on your life, will allow you to preserve your energy and strength, for the process that really matters: you creating a self, work, relationships, and a life, that you love.