Don’t Let the Fear of Criticism Hold You Back

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you letting fear of criticism hold you back? Are you putting the opinions of others before your own?

Pushing your work out into the world is more important than how it will be received. Don’t let the fear of criticism stop you from sharing your creations with others. Creating for the sake of creating is the point, not the validation from others.

Keep reading to learn how you can overcome the fear of criticism and give your work the recognition it deserves.

Create for Yourself

Sometimes women tend to hold other people’s opinions ahead of their own, especially when it comes to something they are creating. It could be writing a book, building a company, creating art, or even their fashion sense.

You want your work—what you’ve created—to be recognized when it’s sent out into the world, but there’s no guarantee it will be liked, appreciated or even understood. It’s hard to find the courage to complete something because fear of criticism can be overwhelming.

While you can’t make people like or understand what you’ve created, you still have to put it out there because your ability to create is a God-given gift.

As a writer who receives good and bad reviews, Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face, has to fight her fear of criticism. She holds onto the mantra, “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.”

Focus on Creating, Not the Fear of Criticism

Women must send their work out into the world without the fear of negativity or the fear of criticism because pushing your work out into the world is more important than how it will be received. Creating for the sake of creating is the point, not outside validation.

But the fear of criticism is hard to overcome. Whenever Hollis writes about something new or controversial, she wonders if people will get it or like it. She’s worried about making people mad and has to fight the tendency to believe that she needs public opinion to validate her work.

To counter this, she asks herself, would she risk a negative response if her work resonated positively with just one other person? Her answer is yes — it would still be worth it.

The advice: Create for yourself in celebration of your God-given abilities.

Tips on Ignoring Negativity

Try these strategies to create without the fear of criticism:

  • Stop reading reviews. Other people’s opinions shouldn’t affect your desire to keep creating. Every profession or endeavor has a form of review; stop “reading” yours.
  • Create for yourself. Your creativity is an outlet and your creative choices shouldn’t be based on money. Reach for creative and even silly endeavors that bring joy. Color, play with your kids, explore fun activities. Creativity can come from many places.
Don’t Let the Fear of Criticism Hold You Back

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Rachel Hollis's "Girl, Wash Your Face" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Girl, Wash Your Face summary:

  • Why you should accept that life can be messy
  • How seeing that you're in control of your life can help you live more joyfully
  • The 20 lies you might be telling yourself

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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