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Does it ruin your day when you get criticism? Whether it is a bad review online or performance review at work, we all feel sensitive to the opinions of others. Every time you put yourself out there, you are going to have to face criticism. In this episode we explain how our ego responds to the criticism and how you can use it to get more power into your life. 

…how your mind sees the difference between feedback and criticism
…how your ego/persona defends against critical remarks
…how avoiding reading reviews or feedback is bad advice and only keeps you stuck
…how criticism helps you reveal your shadow and can be a bridge to regain your emotional freedom
…the Three Powerful Questions that can help you work with criticism

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Episode 20 Transcript

Debra Maldonado 00:07

Welcome to Creative Mind Living a podcast for people interested in personal growth based on the principles of Carl Jung, neuroscience and Eastern philosophies. We are your hosts, Debra Maldonado, and Dr. Rob Maldonado, founders of Creative Mind Coaching. So the wonderful world of criticism, there’s a gift in this.

Robert Maldonado 00:34

There is, believe it or not, there’s a gift in criticism.

Debra Maldonado 00:39

So you and I are big fans of Game of Thrones. We’ve been watching it for like, almost 10 years, invested 10 years of our life. And what I noticed is right after, I didn’t mind the season, I mean, I think there was definitely some things that could have changed, but what I noticed is that there’s so much criticism, I mean, people were signing petitions for them to reshoot the whole season because they hated it so much. And it really was like I was kind of taken a little bit by it because I thought they put 100 million dollars into this production. It’s such a big show to have it fall flat like this and have people not like it. It’s like, what is that about? How do people deal with this intense scrutiny? 

Robert Maldonado 01:23

Right, right. And well, it just goes to show that anytime you put yourself out there, whether you’re a writer or an artist, or even a business person, and you put yourself out there, your ideas are out there, you’re going to get some feedback. And hopefully, it’s good feedback. But often, we get criticized. 

Debra Maldonado 01:47

And I remember last night while we were watching the documentary thinking about all the hard work these people put into the show all these artists and these people that weren’t the big celebrities that were playing the big characters, but these behind the scenes people, how they all put their life on hold and what it took to put on such a magnitude production, all the detail. And just people putting their heart and soul working endless hours 55 nights straight, working, shooting a shot and all the people involved. And I thought wow, they must have thought this is going to be, we’re going to hear so much praise from this. We’re doing such a great job. And then to have it fall flat. I think we all had that maybe on a small scale where we’re really excited about something. We put our heart and soul into it only to hear crickets or worst criticism.

Robert Maldonado 02:41

And of course they did get a lot of love for the work. But that’s just kind of part of the game isn’t it? That if you are willing to accept the praise, you also have to be strong enough to accept criticism.

Debra Maldonado 02:56

And so that’s what today’s episode is about. How can you deal with criticism? You’re not on the Game of Thrones set. You’re not doing a 100 million dollar production, maybe you are. But on any scale, whether you’re just starting out whether you want to get a promotion at work and you want to make more money or you want to, if you’re going out in relationships and interacting with dating or whatever your goal is, you’re going to have to deal with criticism. So why is this such a big thing? Why is criticism so big for us?

Robert Maldonado 03:30

It is a big deal, isn’t it? 

Debra Maldonado 03:32

I don’t like to be criticized. No one likes it. 

Robert Maldonado 03:34

Yeah. Nobody likes it.

Debra Maldonado 03:35

Everyone wants to hear how great they are all the time.

Robert Maldonado 03:38

Yeah. Talking about criticism, we have to talk about our old friend the ego. Because the ego is essentially that internal voice that is monitoring and kind of looking out for, you know, who’s on my side, and who isn’t, and rightly so. We need that ego. But it’s kind of a false self. It’s not really who we are. But it’s a function in our mind that we need to navigate the world.

Debra Maldonado 04:16

And so it’s really looking for how we can adapt in different situations and survive. But it’s not really the I, I mean, it is in Eastern terms the I, but it’s not really who we are.

Robert Maldonado 04:27

It’s not the true self.

Debra Maldonado 04:28

It’s a temporary manifestation of this personality.

Robert Maldonado 04:32

Right, right. And so the way it operates is that it tries to help us fit into society. And so it’s very sensitive to criticism. And it creates what Jung called the persona as the mask if you will, the masks that we wear in society that tells people who we are. It’s like our uniform. It’s our identity. 

Debra Maldonado 04:59

And we develop it to get acceptance and approval and to fit in with other people and the people around us. 

Robert Maldonado 05:05

That’s right. 

Debra Maldonado 05:06

And it’s really a survival mechanism. Because if we don’t fit in, we actually can die. We can be ostracized from society is a big deal.

Robert Maldonado 05:15

Right. So that gives us a good perspective on criticism then because if our ego is keeping tabs on who is accepting us and who is rejecting us, that helps us navigate that social world. It tells us who’s our friend, and who’s our foe in essense.

Debra Maldonado 05:34

And who’s our frenemy. We all have those that are both.

Robert Maldonado 05:38

Yes, of course, human behavior is very subtle, and there’s a lot of innuendos that, you know, the mind has to read, but it’s very good at doing that.

Debra Maldonado 05:47

But I really like the idea of that, instead of looking at it as criticism, to reframe it as feedback that the ego is just receiving feedback. And it’s all 100% feedback until it goes through the filter of our mind, and we turn it into criticism. So it appears out there that they’re criticizing, or it could be a neutral statement, but our mind will filter it in saying, you know, I they think I’m bad or they think I’m wrong. And then our immediate response is to defend ourselves, right? And get triggered by it.

Robert Maldonado 06:22

Right. Because then that takes us to the next level of the psyche, according to Jung, which is the shadow element. So what he’s saying is, yeah, we decide what our persona is going to be in that we put our best foot forward and we say this is who I am. But the opposite of who I am, the shadow elements are pushed away into the unconscious mind.

Debra Maldonado 06:48

So the things that are a threat to our ego, that are a threat to us feeling accepted, fitting in or getting approval, go into the shadow. And so the things that we don’t like about ourselves or the ego has determined we’re not adaptable, show up externally as criticism because we project it. That energy has to go somewhere. So when we’re getting criticism, we’re actually, the gift is we’re actually getting to see our shadow. Yay! Which a lot of people are thinking, oh, the shadow. But a lot of people think the shadow is so bad, but it’s really just the parts that we’re not conscious of, that we’re pushing away. And so we get triggered and defend. And then we create this persona that isn’t really who we are. And a lot of people talk about being their true authentic self. If you’re not aware of your shadow, you are not your true authentic self. I don’t care how much spiritual work you’ve done. If you haven’t done Shadow Work, you are not your true authentic self because you have to understand and accept the parts of yourself that are in the shadow, which is the hardest part.


It’s easier said than done. But that’s precisely why people avoid it because it triggers them, so nobody wants to go towards a trigger. They say, well you know, what is typical advice people give about criticism?

Debra Maldonado 08:06

Focus on the positive. Stay away. Don’t read reviews. Stay away from the the naysayers and the Debbie downers. Now we are a some of the people that we hang out with. So you’re if you’re hanging out with critical people that are always complaining, I don’t recommend that. I don’t recommend saying, oh, now I can get a lot of my shadow work done with these people. But you also want to not be so afraid of being around critical people that you’re walking on eggshells. So a lot of people tell me my mother or my father, highly critical, or my sisters is highly critical. And I want to avoid being around them because they make me, they trigger me all the time. And I’m not saying that you lay down with the tiger. In Buddhism they say you don’t want, even though you know you’re not gonna, there’s no death. You don’t want to lay down with the tiger. But you don’t want to actually limit your life and eliminate that expression through avoiding those people either. So we’re going to show you three steps to work with criticism that will help you understand your shadow a little more and free your mind. Are you passionate about personal development and empowering others and want turn that passion into a new career? You can become a highly trained coach in our creative mind life coach training program. The next class begin soon, so visit us today at to find out more and get a free consultation.

Robert Maldonado 09:37

Well, first of all, the trigger is the price. It’s the gift that we mentioned because a trigger is essentially containing the the emotional energy that we need for psychological emotional growth. 

Debra Maldonado 09:52

It propels us forward. 

Robert Maldonado 09:53

It’s locked up in that trigger. Now if we push it away, if we avoid it as most people tell us to do, we miss the opportunity because we’re not consciously moving towards it. But if we’re willing to accept that it’s coming from us, then the opportunity arises for us to grow.

Debra Maldonado 10:14

I used to hate when we would do events, and I would put the feedback forms out there. And remember, I would hate reading them was like, oh, I got so triggered by them, because I always was such a perfectionist. And I always thought, well, I have to do everything perfectly, and everyone needs to like everything we do. And then I would focus on that one critical feedback I received instead of all the great accolades that I received, and so we do that. We tend to want to focus on the negative and not the positive. But we also want to pay attention to where we’re triggered so that we can grow, and so the feedback can actually be a tool for us to grow and make your business better, make your performance better at work. I don’t know if you have had in your doctor career had a performance review? 

Robert Maldonado 11:05

Oh, yeah. All the time

Debra Maldonado 11:07

And those are, you go there.

Robert Maldonado 11:11

Well they’re designed for that. But luckily, if, well depends on on the psychologist, but a lot of psychology is aware of the shadow and they can work with it. But, you know, for the general public, often they’re left out there without any tools to really work with these powerful emotions. And so when you’re triggered, the only thing you can think of is to avoid it, to get rid of it, right, to soothe yourself or to ignore it somehow, get, you know, get as far away as you can from it. What we’re saying is you’re missing the opportunity. When you’re triggered, it’s the opportunities arising for you to see your shadow to make it conscious. So how do we do that? That’s the question.

Debra Maldonado 12:08

We do that by, first of all, number one, if you don’t do number one, the rest doesn’t work, is that you accept that this criticism as a part of me, that it has to be inside of me somehow. It’s not some random person just being mean to me and you’re being the victim. It’s something is in it for me. Like there’s some part of me involved in this.

Robert Maldonado 12:32

Yeah, if you’re triggered, it’s definitely in your own mind.

Debra Maldonado 12:34

Because no one can trigger, no one can make you triggered. The emotion is it arises from inside your own mind, your own interpretation, your own filter. So the second step is why is this opinion that this person has unacceptable to me? So if they say I disagree with you or you’re too loud or you’re not loud enough or you’re taking too many risks or you’re not taking enough risks or you are wasting your, like I see this a lot with people judging other people for how they spend money. Oh, you’re wasting your money on that personal development or you don’t put so much money into your business or you’re not spending enough on your business. And so that judgment of money and how much you spend and, you know, a lot of times our coaches and even in our business starting out people criticize our prices. Oh, that’s too expensive. But it’s our own self doubt, you know, that our own. Why is it unacceptable that someone says you’re too expensive or that you’re not smart enough or what your opinion is not valid? You’re wrong, you know, those type of things, too.

Robert Maldonado 13:49

Yeah, it’s threatening the construction of your persona. And that’s why they’re so powerful. That’s why triggers are so powerful because they get to the core of who you think you are? The identity that you’ve built up as a viable way to be accepted into society is being called into question.

Debra Maldonado 14:11

And it’s very fragile. We all have fragile egos. A lot of people think they have tough egos and they don’t listen to criticism. But what, you know, or they kind of push it away. Those people aren’t stronger. They’re just not self aware. They’re just building up a stronger wall around themselves. But people that really are strong are able to take criticism. They don’t have that fragile ego, but we all have it, you know. We all are born and the ego is like this very, you know, precarious thing that is constantly on the verge of death. It feels like and so any kind of criticism knocks it off, and that’s why we feel this kind of walking on eggshells through life and around people. Why we’re afraid of people going out and doing great things in the world. And so why is this unacceptable? So let’s review. Number one was, this is a part of me. Number two, why is this unacceptable? Why is that whatever that trigger is? And the third one, this is a really interesting one, is what’s the assumption that you’re making that you think they’re making about you? So they are assuming, like just think, what are they assuming about me or what am I thinking they’re assuming about me? What am I assuming they’re assuming about me? Am I not good enough? Am I not smart enough? Am I not attractive enough? Am I not not wise with my money or whatever it is, right? And so then you say to yourself, why is it so terrible that they think that of me? Why is it so terrible to be an attractive Why is it so terrible to be messy with your money or messy with your relationships?

Robert Maldonado 15:57

In other words, why do I need to push that away,

Debra Maldonado 16:01

Why do I have to defend against this? Why is this so terrible that people think you’re 40 and you’re not married yet? You didn’t have children. You’ve been in your business for three years, and you’re not making any money, or you left the corporate world and you couldn’t figure this out. Why is it so terrible? And when you really get down to it, at first you’re going to say, well, we don’t want anyone thinking bad about us. The ego is gonna pull right in and give you a rational rationale for an intellectual defense around it. But then if you really get to the root of it, and you know that who you really are is not this persona but this deep, soulful, undifferentiated 

Robert Maldonado 16:42

Easy for you to say. 

Debra Maldonado 16:43

I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s that it’s something that can’t be defined or put in a box that this is like expansive part of us, that we don’t need to fit into other people’s boxes of who we think we are, and we can be who we want to be and that would be the freedom.

Robert Maldonado 17:01

That’s what you call the self.

Debra Maldonado 17:03


Robert Maldonado 17:04

Yeah. So you see the importance of the gift again of criticism because it allows us to make that unconscious element conscious to become aware of it, to bring it into awareness. And once we bring it into awareness, we’re free. And we have now access to that emotional energy instead of always defending it, instead of trying to keep it away, trying to present ourselves as the persona and keeping away the shadow. The criticism allows us to access that shadow element.

Debra Maldonado 17:43

And we stop walking on eggshells and we start really acting by choice versus by our conditioned mind. And that’s the whole basis of our work is to help people go beyond the ego’s conditioning and really step into freedom. And we need more people to step out because look at the world. Everyone’s afraid to step out. And then when do people do step out, you notice that there’s a lot of people that want to take them down. It’s just natural. It’s like they say, the crabs when they boil the pot, that one crab tries to escape and the other ones try to pull them down. But I think that it’s misunderstanding what’s happening. They think it’s the other crabs want that crab to die. but I don’t think so. I think it’s the other crabs going, this crab found the way to freedom. I’m hanging on to this one and I want to go up. But in humanity, we don’t do that. We think if someone’s really standing out, we don’t say I want to be like them because they’re being criticized. We want to kind of play small and hide because it’s safe. And so criticism is a way for us to transform our lives and transform ourselves and really make a big change. 

Robert Maldonado 18:58


Debra Maldonado 18:59

So what a great topic. We’ll be seeing you in another episode. And don’t forget to come to our website at the and request a free consultation so you can find out how you can live a more inspired empowered life. We’ll see you next time on From the Center.