How to Stop Being Over-Sensitive to Criticism

June 13, 2018 Sam Woolfe

Being over-sensitive to criticism often happens when you have low self-esteem. Here are four ways to stop criticism from bringing you down at HealthyPlace.

Being oversensitive to criticism is painful, and it often happens when you have low self-esteem. Whether the criticism is justified or not, your negative view of yourself distorts the criticism in a way that either maintains the low self-esteem or exacerbates it. You may not be able to avoid other people’s criticisms of you, but you can choose how you respond to those criticisms. Indeed, it is imperative to desensitize yourself so that you can separate reality from fiction and can feel confident about your self-worth, regardless of what anyone has to say.

Four Ways to Stop Being Oversensitive to Criticism

Pay Close Attention to What’s Being Said

If you are oversensitive to criticism, it's important to really listen to what people are saying about you. Then you can evaluate whether their comments are founded in reality or not. Perhaps their comments are not critical in any way but you are interpreting them as such. It may also be the case that their criticism of you is based on their own insecurities. In addition, their statements about you could partly be based on how things really are and include exaggeration or something that is untrue as well. So be mindful of nuance. Taking the time to think about peoples' comments about you, instead of reacting with anger towards yourself, helps prevent criticism from crushing you.

Stand Up for Yourself

If you feel that someone’s criticism of you is unfair, don’t be afraid to say so (The Meaning of Courage, Anxiety and You). When you struggle with low self-esteem, it’s easy to get into the habit of just blindly accepting negative statements about you. But no one – absolutely no one – should automatically be trusted as an authority on the exact kind of person you are, this includes your closest friends and family members. Of course, you don’t want to get on the defensive and immediately deny every criticism about you in an effort to protect your self-esteem and pride. Developing healthy self-esteem is about establishing what is true about you and having the confidence to express that truth.

Be Proactive About the Criticism

Sometimes, being oversensitive to criticism hurts your ability to change. Paying attention to some criticism from others about you can often be a wake-up call. There may be some important truth in what they’re saying that you need to accept. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Okay, you have some blind spots, some faults, and some weaknesses. No one is perfect. You’re not an awful person destined for failure just because you mess up sometimes or could do things better.

A lot of criticism is intended to be constructive, so use it as such. Take the comments on board and take action in order to improve yourself. As a writer, I know how important it is to calmly accept the mistakes I’ve made. If I let every slip-up or fault convince me I was a terrible writer with no potential to grow, then I would never be able to follow my passion.

Let the Criticism Go

Whenever my self-esteem has been particularly low, I find myself getting caught up in this ridiculous and unhealthy pattern of replaying what people have said about me. I end up feeling anger and irritation towards both myself and whoever the person is who criticised me. Ruminating on comments that have upset you only leads to more upset. It makes you feel worse about yourself. There really is no point in revisiting the criticism over and over again, even if your mind tricks you into believing that this deserves all of your attention. You can’t change what someone has said about you. You can’t go back and deliver that perfect counter-argument you’ve devised in your head. The best thing you can do is let the criticism go. It’s in the past. You have to be able to move on quickly from criticism. By doing so, you can handle your faults with grace and your virtues with sincerity.

APA Reference
Woolfe, S. (2018, June 13). How to Stop Being Over-Sensitive to Criticism, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Sam Woolfe

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July, 3 2018 at 2:17 am

Thank you Emily for the feedback! You're right, it is going to be difficult to keep my expenses down without talking to a therapist on the regular basis. The moment that I hit my lowest point, I start to buy things I don't really need and I sabotage my diet. Lately, I tend to get irritated and easily frustrated. I am submitting less and less job applications.

July, 3 2018 at 8:53 am

Hi Mercedes,
Thanks for checking back in! Glad you are working with your therapist and I bet she has some tools to help you manage urges to spend or binge out of emotional distress. Maybe she can help you stay accountable with the job hunt. I'm hopeful that you'll get a great job with wonderful coworkers soon!
Take Good Care,

June, 26 2018 at 1:32 pm

I have been listening to financial advisors on YouTube. They all recommend their clients to live a simple life to pay student loans and credit cards. Is this something feasible to do when you are struggling with chronic depression? Or should you continue to invest in therapy sessions, gym membership, and occasional activities that help you avoid social isolation? I am single, underemployed, and I do not qualify for employee benefits. I have to pay for everything out of pocket. I have been unable to find a full-time job. I do not have the energy or desire to work a second job earning minimum wage; that would feel like I am just living to pay bills. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

June, 27 2018 at 4:10 pm

Hi Mercedes, I would suggest that therapy be the priority because if we don't have this safe enivironment how are we going to gain the skills to find the job and gain the energy needed to fight the depression. I would suggest talking to your therapist about your job and money concerns as they may be able to help adjust your rate so that you can afford it and assist you in your goals.
What do you think?
Take Good Care,

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