Barbara Sher On Criticism: This Might Help You Get Why You Feel So Inadequate
Understanding our feelings of inadequacy might very well help to dispel them next time they come knocking
Barbara Sher offers some priceless insight into why we might feel so inadequate, regardless of evidence to the contrary.
Marrying together three areas - criticism, inadequacy and perfectionism - Sher explains how they come together to create a perfect storm that can be difficult to get out of.
When it comes to criticism, Sher signs up to the old saying, "if you don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all".
Why? Well you might actually be wrong, for starters. But vitally, on a psychological level, she says, the criticisms (particularly if they are plenty) will do far more than just sting the recipient.
It will leave them feeling rejected, wounded and distrustful, and, Sher says, "they will remember the hurt", no matter how many compliments follow.
How Criticism Leads To Perfectionism
If the criticism happens in childhood (particularly if it is chronic), the deeper the issues take root. At an early stage, we can get hooked into feeling inadequate and easily triggered later in life.
One of the ways we can try and compensate for this is by being perfect, which even then, says Sher, is never good enough, either.
Perfection becomes a necessity as opposed to an achievement, as she explains in the video below:
"Being perfect is simply a "C", it's simple an average for you. You get no satisfaction out of being perfect. You're just out of danger's way, temporarily."
This feeling of never being good enough makes it impossible to get the feeling of getting an "A+", despite these high standards, she explains, and god forbid we get less than that:
"The slightest flaw [means] all is lost".
Simply understanding how these three factors link together - criticism in childhood, feeling inadequate and the need to be perfect - can be cathartic enough in itself.
But next time you need a reminder, it is worth watching this short clip.
It is a great way to recognize why you feel the way you do - and snap out of any kind of spiral those feelings of inadequacy can bring on.