Receiving criticism is unpleasant.
Some of us get angry and defensive while others get demotivated and start blaming themselves. There are very few people who take criticism for what it is – and those are the truly secure ones.
So, why is criticism so hard to digest?
Criticism triggers feelings of shame. It hits a nerve and makes us uncomfortable, forcing us to react in unsavory ways to conceal our shame.
Next time you’re criticized, don’t let it bog you down and ruin your mood. Here are five smart ways to deal with criticism, take it in your stride and use it to become a better person.
“Don’t take criticism personally” – you’ve heard this multiple times, but we agree, it can be extremely tough to not get perturbed.
The only way to not take criticism personally is to emotionally detach yourself from it.
Know that the ‘criticism’ you receive does not define you. Look at it as someone else’s opinion which you may or may not choose to consider.
You also need to understand and internalize the fact that you cannot please everyone. There will be people who will have a differing opinion and that’s alright. Embrace differences in opinion instead of perceiving a critical remark as an ‘attack.’
Hate VS Criticism
Speaking about attacks, criticism is not always constructive. There are people who enjoy spewing hate and live off that energy. Yes, the haters.
How do you tell the difference?
Critics are specific and also offer suggestions for improvement. They are open to discussion because their primary agenda is to help you get better.
On the other hand, haters criticize you because ..they can. Their ‘criticism’ has got nothing to do with you or your work. It’s usually a byproduct of their own issues.
So, it’s very important to see where the criticism is coming from.
Respond, Don’t React
You’ve worked very hard on a project only to be told it’s needs more work.
It’s easy to lose your cool, throw a fit and justify the hard work you put in but how is that going to help the situation? By getting riled up, the only person you hurt is yourself.
Next time you’re faced with a criticism, step back from the situation and take some time to process it.
Ask questions and fully understand what you’re being criticized about. If you agree with it, implement the feedback and learn from it.
If you don’t agree with it, respond with grace. Tell them why you feel differently and stand up for yourself without getting defensive. The key lies in approaching the conversation objectively and staying calm.
Protect your Self-Esteem
If you’re someone who struggles with low self-esteem, any piece of criticism is likely to break your confidence, and have you question yourself.
Take conscious efforts to protect your self-esteem and build your confidence. You need to develop a strong sense of self that’s not shaken every time you’re criticized.
For instance, if you were criticized for your writing skills, that does not mean you lose the motivation to write because you feel you’re not good enough. It means taking the positives and striving to write better next time.
So, the next time you are given feedback, assess it rationally and don’t give in to the negative self-talk. Tell yourself it’s just feedback and it cannot shape your self-concept.
Adopt a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is one that is open to growth and development. Focused on learning, such a mindset makes people open to receiving feedback. They value self-growth and take criticism in their stride because they actively work towards becoming better versions of themselves.
When you focus on growth, your perspective on criticism shifts which allows you to look at it objectively and use it to your advantage.
Learning to deal with criticism is essential because you will encounter it at every stage in your life. So, follow these five steps and you’re bound to deal with criticism more sensibly such that it works in your favor.
Adela Belin is passionate about sharing stories with a hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. She is a regular contributor to this blog.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.