If you dismiss these 8 criticisms from someone out of hand, you lack self-awareness

No one likes criticism.

It hurts our egos to know that other people can see our negative traits and it hurts our conscience to realize that we may have been unknowingly mistreating others.

But you know what? Criticism is extremely important. It’s what allows us to get outside of our own heads, view our behavior from a fresh perspective, and grow as a result.

Unfortunately, not everyone is open to criticism – especially if they lack the self-awareness to acknowledge and incorporate negative feedback.

Well, it’s time to learn a lesson or two. If you dismiss these 8 criticisms from someone out of hand, you lack self-awareness.

1) “What you did really upset me”

The way I see it, there are two kinds of people where criticism is concerned.

If you go to person A and say, “What you did really upset me,” they’ll immediately try to understand what it was about their action that wounded you, apologize, and promise not to do it again because the last thing they’d want is to hurt you.

If you come to person B with the same issue, they’ll either invalidate your feelings (“It really isn’t that big a deal, I don’t know why you’re so upset”) or they’ll take your criticism so personally that the issue quickly escalates (“Just say it, you think I’m horrible!”).

If your response to criticism is more along the lines of B, there’s a chance you lack the necessary self-awareness to recognize that one specific action does not reflect on your entire personality.

Actions can be changed. They aren’t set in stone. They’re not who you are. If someone criticizes a particular action of yours, all you have to do is apologize and change it in the future.

2) “Some of your jokes are hurtful”

I used to have a friend who would make jokes all the time. Lots of them were funny and harmless, but sometimes, her words could really cut deep.

If you told her that her jokes could be hurtful, though, she completely flipped out.

“I’m just brutally honest because I want to be a good friend.”

“Joking is who I am. It’s sarcasm. It’s not my fault you take it too personally.”

“I just want to have light banter, and here you are making me into this horrible monster.”

She said all of that and more, and by the end of the conversation, I was the one apologizing.

Looking back, I know that she lacked the self-awareness to detach her jokes from who she was as a person and to simply say “sorry” and move on. 

She felt cornered, and so she twisted the narrative in her favor.

3) “I don’t think you understand where I’m coming from”

People can get really defensive when they hear something like this, but the truth is, there’s usually a reason for it.

If you display empathy, ask questions, and listen actively, you’ll rarely be told that you don’t understand someone.

And that’s simply because the effort you put into understanding the other person will be clearer than the sun.

When someone tells you, “I don’t think you’re listening to me” or “I’m not sure you understand where I’m coming from”, it tends to be because:

  • You aren’t trying to relate to their issues on any level
  • You’re offering judgment instead of gentle understanding
  • You’re not properly listening to what they’re saying

If you lack self-awareness, you might get upset and convince yourself that the other person is just too high-maintenance.

But sometimes, it’s not them who’s the problem. As Taylor Swift wisely said, “It’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.”

4) “I like X, but Y needs a bit of work”

Be it a university essay or your job performance, constructive criticism usually includes both negative and positive feedback.

But thanks to the little fact that our brain has a negativity bias for survival reasons, we tend to focus on the bad much more than the good.

If your boss praises four things and criticizes one, most people will go to sleep pondering the one small thing they got wrong.

That’s not the case when you lack self-awareness, though. In fact, you may think that your performance is so good that you see any negative feedback as ridiculous or unimportant, dismissing it completely.

I’d advise against that. There is always something to be learned from negative criticism, however uncomfortable.

Plus, you don’t necessarily have to agree with everything. For example, I often take certain aspects of criticism to heart while dismissing the parts I vehemently disagree with.

5) “I don’t think your opinion is a valid one”

if someone displays these traits theyre quite intimidating to be around If you dismiss these 8 criticisms from someone out of hand, you lack self-awareness

Two people with opposite opinions can either come to a common understanding somewhere in the middle or they end up at each other’s throats.

The issue with the latter scenario lies in a lack of self-awareness so huge that it doesn’t allow for any changes of heart.

After all, it’s extremely uncomfortable to have your beliefs dissected and criticized because you’ve spent so long building them layer after layer.

However, the truth is that lots of opinions people hold don’t have a valid research-backed basis. That doesn’t matter, though, because hearing that your opinion doesn’t make sense or doesn’t hold up against scrutiny can be so hurtful to the ego that you’ll use any means necessary to get out of the situation.

Including dismissal.

If I got a dollar every time someone dismissed my comments because they refused to reconsider their opinions, I’d be a millionaire.

(Alright, that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration. But I think I could afford a nice pair of headphones.)

6) “I dislike how he/she treats you”

Self-awareness doesn’t only pertain to our own thoughts and actions. It’s also about how we navigate the outside world, how we relate to other people, and how we let them treat us.

If you’re stuck in a toxic relationship – especially if you’re in love – you might struggle to view the situation from an outsider’s perspective and realize that you’re being mistreated.

Add low self-awareness into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a disaster.


Because when we’re in unhealthy situations or relationship dynamics, it’s our friends and family that usually help us see clearly. Their advice, feedback, and criticism force us to take the pink-colored glasses off and see reality for what it is.

Since low self-awareness equals low self-retrospection, you might simply dismiss anything your friends tell you because you think that “you know best”.

But sadly, you don’t. We don’t always do what’s best for us. That’s why being open to criticism is so vital.

7) “I’ve noticed you’ve been acting X and Y lately”

Our behavior isn’t rigid. It changes over time, and the people closest to us are very aware of the changes we’re going through because they’re evolving alongside us.

Therefore, if your mental well-being is getting worse – for example, if you haven’t been as motivated and joyful recently – your friends might be the first people to point it out.

The issue is that we can’t work on ourselves and do something to feel better when we refuse to accept that we’re struggling in the first place.

This actually happens way more often than you might think. People are stressed out, overworked, frustrated, and lonely. Despite all that, they keep insisting that they’re completely fine until they drive themselves into exhaustion.

It’s okay to admit that you’re not okay. It’s the first step toward finding the right path again.

8) “You’re not open to criticism”

The last sign that you aren’t open to criticism and lack self-awareness is that you dismiss people’s criticism about your inability to accept criticism.

And ultimately, this is where it all begins: embracing criticism for the benefits it can bring you, including self-knowledge, improved relationships, and personal growth.

Criticism isn’t all bad. Sometimes, it’s exactly what we need in order to move forward in life.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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