If You’re Not With Us On The Floor Then Your Criticism is Soft and Meaningless

How thick is your skin?

A question often asked of us when it comes to our ability to deal with criticism and negative feedback.

This is the idea that thin-skinned people are easily offended, sensitive to the piercing nature of harsh words and thrown off course. However, thick-skinned people are able to cope with abuse and bounce back if they’re insulted, criticised, or receive negative feedback about their goals or endeavours.

But why does it have to be about the thickness of your skin?

Isn’t there something else more important at work? It is about how we respond to inevitable criticisms, painful words, and negative feedback that is a part of life for all people.


Because for Gentle Rebels sensitivity is the very thing that defines our work. It underpins our dreams and our voice in the world.

We don’t want to become people who have skin so thick that the world just bounces off us. Despite the fact that common assumptions suggest that thick skin is a good thing. But if that’s how we relate to it, then we no longer feel anything – the essence of life is hidden and we become protected and comfortable within a bubble.

We don’t want mere existence, we want to live and thrive.

Criticism is both easy and painful.

It is harder to be positive and encourage than it is to be negative and disparage. We can find fault much easier than we find things to talk up. And yet when the shoe is on the other foot we don’t get it.

In this episode we think about what we can do in response to criticism, insults, and negative feedback. In particular I share these lessons I’ve learned over the years:

  • Stop Focussing on Others
  • Accept Criticism as Inevitable
  • Be a Cheerleader For Your Loved Ones
  • Don’t Stop Feeling
  • Be Selective and Discriminate
  • Identify The Most Destructive Sources of Criticism

Over to You

Brene Brown only trusts certain people for feedback in her life. She says, “for me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback…a lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance.”

How are you doing at this? Do you like to stand on the sidelines and criticise (I’m really good at that)? How do you think you could tone it down and be a cheerleader for others instead?

Please leave your response in the comments below. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this.

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