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FearBusters: Fear of Criticism

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See Introduction: FearBusters: Conquering our Fears

See Part 1: Fear of Poverty

Part 2: Fear of Criticism

Let me describe a scenario to you and you tell me if it sounds familiar to you or not.

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You have a big decision to make in life and in you’re certain that in your heart you know what the right thing to do is. However, the voices and the opinions of others around you seem to ring louder than the sound of your own heart. So you make the critical mistake of listening to others opinions and the recommendation of others, rather than listen to your own heart.

Sound familiar?

I have seen this situation played out time and time again to the detriment of the individual who has either: 1) Been listening to others for so long that they don’t even know how to listen to and trust their own hearts or 2) They have chosen to ignore their hearts and follow the opinions of others instead.

Why does this happen? Oftentimes, people will point to some obvious reasons for this phenomenon occurring, however I think the underlying reason is the fear of criticism or what others will say and think. As a matter of fact, having been born to a South Asian family, one of the staples of every argument in every desi household is “Don’t do that…what will people say (or think) about you if you wear that outfit? Or if you chose to marry that girl/guy? or if you live in that neighborhood?”

I’m just pointing out the South Asian culture because that’s my background but this type of conversation happens all the time in cultures throughout the world. And I’m not here to say that everyone else’s suggestions and opinions are always wrong and ours is always right. The point is that you need to dig deep and really understand if whether or not you’re listening to them because you really feel that what they’re suggesting is a better route for you and feels right in your heart, or you’re just doing it because you’re succumbing to pressure out of fear of being criticized for making your own choices in life. This is the question that you need to look deep inside of yourself and answer.

Am I living out other peoples’ lives based on their wishes for me, or am I living out my own? Always listening to other people out of the fear of what criticism may arise by not listening to them, is in essence giving away your God-given freedom to make your own choices in life.

Not only are you giving away your God-given freedoms but you’re giving them away to a group of people who most probably will never be satisfied with you no matter what you do! That’s the reality of people who often criticize you and others. They’re bitter and unhappy people who you will not be able to please no matter what you do. So why in the world would you give away the power to direct and lead your life based on what your own heart tells you just to please a people who will never be pleased in the first place?!?!?!

Sounds ridiculous right? The sad reality is that millions upon millions do this every single day.

Here are 3 deeper sides to this issue:

  1. Many of the people who criticize you and you are afraid of their criticism will be family members who you can’t just ‘get rid of’. But that’s a topic for another article altogether.
  2. By always worrying and fearing what others think, you take attention away from focusing on pleasing the only One who you really have to answer to…Allah.
  3. Successful people are not people who always have to rely on what others think and suggest for them. Successful people are confident and self-assured in their actions.

Principle to overcome this Fear: Learn to trust and listen to the voice of your own heart

This is a very simple, yet powerful principle. The prophet himself advised a companion to consult his own heart on a particular matter. We must learn to listen to our own hearts while consulting the Most High in decisions both big and small. Our gut feeling and instinct is very powerful and is developed through our life experiences and we must learn to listen to it and get in the habit of looking inside for answers rather than outside.

Up NextPart 3: Fear of Poor Health

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Adnan Jalali is a former School Teacher and Principal/Head Master turned Leadership Trainer, Executive Coach and International Keynote Speaker. Adnan is the founder of The Jalali Group (jalaligroup.com), a Consulting firm focused on Leadership & Personal Development. The mission of the Jalali Group is to develop inspirational leaders across the globe. Adnan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from Texas State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston. He holds a Teacher’s and School Director’s License in Texas and is a certified Leadership Trainer, Coach and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team. He is currently working on a project to develop inspirational leaders in Colombia, South America.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: FearBusters: Fear of Poverty - MuslimMatters.org

  2. Pingback: FearBusters: Fear of Poor Health - MuslimMatters.org

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  4. Pingback: FearBusters: Fear of Change - MuslimMatters.org

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  8. ABU SAAD

    May 19, 2021 at 3:56 AM

    Brilliant

  9. ABU SAAD

    May 19, 2021 at 4:02 AM

    I have this paranoia of constantly thinking about how people will put me in difficult situation and I in my mind am constantly preparing replies to put them to place. It happens Unconsciously and by the time I realise, I have already wasted my time and energy. I it like an imaginary war ibam constantly fighting in my head. It pains a lot. I wonder why this happens and how to I stop this.
    Any guidance pls. JazakAllah khair

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