Not easy to deal with critical judgemental people….. that can be tough sometimes.
Yes, in a perfect world, we would all understand each other perfectly and behave with kindness and respect.
We would be sensitive to other people’s feelings and would take care not to hurt them.
But we don’t live in a perfect world, do we?
This is why you see people trying to bring each other down, criticizing others, judging others, and behaving as though they are the center of the universe!
If you have such people in your life, your first instinct might be to cut them off completely.
But that’s not always possible, is it?
What if some of your friends or family members are the judgmental types?
It might not be possible to let them go forever!
So, what should you do?
How should you deal with such people on a day-to-day basis?
Well, let’s take a look.
1) Acknowledge That It Hurts You
The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that other people’s criticism and judgments hurt you.
There is no shame in feeling bad when others throw harsh words at you.
And there is certainly no use denying how you feel.
Doing so will only bottle up your emotions and will make matters worse for you in the long term.
So, be honest and understand how exactly you feel.
This doesn’t mean that you have to cry or feel sad all the time. No, you are merely supposed to witness the sensations as and when they arise in response to other people’s criticism.
Basically, you need to act as a witness to your own mental and emotional responses.
This simple act of awareness and acknowledgment can help you craft your emotions more consciously. It can also greatly reduce your internal storm and paves the path to peace.
2) Introspect On Your Fears And Insecurities
When someone judges you or criticizes you, it is only normal to feel bad.
- But have you ever wondered why you feel bad?
- What is it about their words that disturbs your peace and gives rise to negative emotions within you?
- When you dig deeper to get the answer to this question, you receive a lot of insights along the way.
Let me explain what I mean.
Let’s say one of your friends judges you for the way you dress.
If this makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, it could be because you are not confident in your looks or are too self-conscious.
So, in this case, your friend’s judgment actually helps you realize your fears and insecurities.
And when that happens, you can take steps to deal with them.
So, as you can see, other people’s sharp and hurtful words may not always be useless.
Sometimes, they can hold a mirror in front of you that can reveal deeper truths about yourself.
If you act with this in mind, their words won’t affect you as much as they do now.
3) Be Curious About Their Behavior
This is an interesting one, and I am sure hardly anyone does this.
When someone criticizes you, your focus becomes limited to what they say.
You keep repeating their words over and over again in your mind, and you remain in a state of hurt.
But have you ever wondered why such people criticize or judge other people in the first place? What gives rise to their critical behavior?
If you start thinking along these lines, you will forget all about their hurtful words, and you will start examining what makes them behave that way.
This can lead to all sorts of interesting answers.
You might realize that they are simply having a bad day, and it’s not about you at all.
Or maybe they are hurting because of their unmet needs and are merely projecting their anger onto you.
This not only helps you become more compassionate towards them, but you also realize that it’s not because of something you did.
4) Don’t Take Anything Personally
A lot of people take things way too personally than they should.
Somehow, they convince themselves that they are the reason behind other people’s actions and behaviors.
If you tend to do this as well, you will have a hard time dealing with judgments and criticism.
That’s because you will feel responsible for other people’s bad behavior, and you will also tell yourself that they are right about you.
In short, you will believe whatever they say about you, and this will erode your self-confidence and self-worth.
And you’re not the only one they criticize.
They literally go around berating everything and everyone. These people feel like they are the only flawless creatures on the planet, and everything else is a disappointment.
Naturally, you shouldn’t waste even a single second on their opinions and live life on your terms.
You open up to a friend or a family member, expecting them to hear you out and understand you.
You expect them to accept you the way you are or at least appreciate and respect you for opening your heart to them.
However, all you receive in response is criticism and judgment.
How would you feel in this scenario? Not great, right?
Often, we share our deepest thoughts and emotions with people around us to feel less burdened or to be understood.
However, if you don’t get that support or acceptance from them, that should be a wake-up call.
It should tell you that not everyone is meant to hear your story.
So, be very careful about whom you spend the most time with.
And open up to only those people who show a genuine interest in understanding you, your choices, your needs, and everything else about you.
Just as the boundary of your home protects you from all types of attacks from people and animals, social boundaries can protect you from unnecessary comments or opinions.
So, it’s important to create and communicate boundaries in your life.
You might feel weird doing so with your loved ones, but trust me, it’s crucial that you do it anyway (yes, this includes your parents and spouse too).
So, what do boundaries look like?
It could be anything that prevents you from doing what you don’t really want to do.
For example, if your colleagues invite you to a movie after work, you could politely say no as you would rather spend that time with your family.
Another example could be refusing to talk about certain topics like politics and religion. ( check our complete guide about how to say no without hurting anyone here)
So, how do boundaries help you deal with critical and judgmental people?
Well, the presence of boundaries might itself be a deterrent to them in the first place.
When they know that you don’t mess around, they’ll be less likely to behave badly with you.
Secondly, when you have boundaries, you don’t put yourself in a position where you can be criticized or judged.
For example, if you refuse to talk about politics, you can’t be criticized for your opinions on the matter!
7) Take Your Time And Space
Sometimes, you just need to unplug and take your own sweet time and space.
And you need to do so to recharge yourself mentally and emotionally.
This is especially the case after you have interacted with a judgmental or critical person.
I don’t think I need to tell you how conversations with such people can feel.
Even five minutes with them can feel like an eternity.
And for some reason, it sucks out all your energy and motivation.
Maybe that’s just the effect negative people have on others!
So, if you feel like you need some time and space after talking to a critical person, don’t feel bad about it.
You absolutely deserve it.
You could use this time to meditate for a while, take a walk in the park, eat something tasty, or do anything else to help you feel grounded and calm.
If you think about it, you shouldn’t hate judgmental or critical people.
I know this might sound strange to you, but hear me out.
You see, judgmental people are not born that way.
Their various life experiences and interactions with other people make them that way over time.
So, when someone is criticizing you, you should treat them compassionately.
That’s because you don’t know their story.
- Maybe they had a difficult childhood.
- Maybe one or both of their parents were mean to them.
- Maybe they were bullied as a child.
- Maybe their teachers were highly judgmental.
Think about all the possible things that might have made them into a critical person.
Of course, this doesn’t justify their behavior.
But it still provides you with a greater understanding of their nature.
Thinking along these lines can help you treat them with kindness and empathy. It also saves you from being hurt.
9) Think of It As A Life Lesson
We all know that life is full of lessons, don’t we?
Right from our childhood, we start learning new things, and this process doesn’t end till our last days on the planet.
And even though some lessons can be painful, they are necessary to help you grow and flourish.
So, one way to deal with judgmental and critical people is to think of them as just another life lesson.
Through them, maybe you are being taught the virtues of patience and compassion!
Maybe, you are being tested each time you interact with such a person… and to pass the test, you need to respond with positivity.
This is a really interesting way of handling such people. It takes something negative and turns it into something that can help you grow.
10) See Them As If They Are Children
This is another method where a slight shift in your perception can help you deal with insufferable people.
Here, you need to see the critical and judgmental people as if they are children.
I know this sounds silly, but it has some logic behind it.
You don’t expect your children to behave properly all the time, do you?
And you certainly don’t expect them to know everything!
So, you tolerate their mischief from time to time and tell yourself that they are just children who don’t know any better. Also, for the same reason, their words don’t hurt you.
What if you thought of the critical adults the same way?
What if you told yourself that these adults have grown in terms of their age but not in terms of their maturity?
Suddenly, it will become much easier to ignore their hateful opinions. It will also become easier to be more compassionate towards them.
11) Create A Little Distance Between You And Them
If you have critical people whom you can cut off from your life, you should absolutely do that.
There is no use tolerating negativity if you can avoid it.
However, if some of your friends, family members, or relatives happen to be judgmental in nature, it might not be possible to get rid of them for good.
So, in this case, it’s better to create a little distance between them and you.
You don’t need to hang out with them too often or talk to them on the phone regularly. Yes, you might feel a little guilty doing so, but what other choice do you have?
Look, you have an obligation towards yourself to protect your mental health, even if that means distancing yourself from certain people.
And at the end of the day, you get to decide how you are going to live your life, who has access to you, and how much time you will devote to your social circle.
12) Don’t Believe Them!
This is perhaps the first thing that should come to your mind when someone starts to criticize you or judge you.
Just because they say something about you, doesn’t mean it is true.
And it would be foolish to believe them!
I mean, think about it.
Just because someone says that you are stupid, doesn’t mean that it is true. Just because someone says that you are a jealous person, doesn’t mean that other people think of you the same way.
The human mind has a tendency to focus more on negative things.
And you might be tempted to grab onto the negative comments of judgmental people. However, you should tell yourself that the negative opinions of those people are just that: negative opinions!
At the end of the day, you know yourself better than other people.
It is your loved ones that know who you really are.
So, there is no use paying attention to criticism and judgments from people who might not even know you that well.
13) Don’t Sink To Their Level
When someone criticizes you, your immediate instinct might be to attack them back.
After all, it is only natural to get angry when someone says something negative about you… especially if it is untrue.
So, in this state of anger, you might want to say all kinds of things about the other person too.
However, think about this for a second.
Even though you might get a little satisfaction after retaliating, aren’t you siking down to their level? Aren’t you doing the same thing they did?
Instead of stooping to their level, you should take the high road and serve as an example of how people should behave in situations like these.
Don’t give them the power to change who you are. Don’t let their negativity affect your good heart.
14) Stand Up For Yourself
Sometimes, the other person might say things that are not possible to ignore.
Sometimes, it becomes a matter of pride and principles.
In such cases, it is better to stand up for yourself and put the other person in their place.
Of course, you don’t have to do it in a brash manner like them.
You can be classy, logical, and gentle, and still, make a valid point. Add some humour to it too if you can 🙂
You can also say things that make their opinions and judgments irrelevant right on the spot.
For example, if someone at work makes a rude comment about your management of a project, you can say, “I appreciate your feedback, but it’s not needed in this case.”
When someone judges your lifestyle, you could say, “I appreciate your concern, but I am totally content with how I live.”
15) If Possible, Have An Honest Conversation
This method is applicable when the other person is a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a relative.
In such cases, you might want to handle the situation with love before thinking about other measures.
A great way to do that is to have an honest conversation with the other person.
Let’s say one of your cousins is always criticizing you for no apparent reason.
Now, instead of ruining your relationship with them forever, you can sit them down and talk it out.
Ask them why they criticize you every chance they get. Ask them if you have done anything to hurt them in the past.
This allows you to learn about their perspective. It also gives you the opportunity to clear the air.
If the other person has no good reason to criticize you or judge you, you can tell them that you don’t appreciate their negative comments and to not repeat them in the future.
Sometimes being open and straightforward is the best way to handle such a situation…