Nobody likes to be criticized, but whether you like it or not, it is a fact of life that we might receive criticism either openly or secretly in the form of gossip.
You may experience criticism at the home, office, or in a friendly setting or just about anywhere where people may judge your deeds or actions.
It can be very hard to deal with the criticism received from your friends, family, colleagues and there is no joy in overhearing someone talk about you or directly tell you where you went wrong.
The point to understand is that there are two types of criticism: constructive criticism where the person have accurately see where you needs improvement and criticism where there is no reason to judge except being motivated by non other than the other person’s own value systems.
Here are a few effective tips to deal with criticism:
1. Don’t take it personally
Often people may criticize your actions or behaviors. This isn’t something to be taken personally and to be hurt by it.
Whenever you take things personally, you will be hurt like I was in the past. Start detaching yourself from the criticism that you hear and remind yourself that it is a criticism of your actions and behaviors, not YOU.
2. Remain calm
Don’t lose your calm and change your mood when somebody start criticizing you. Staying cool and even minded is one of the best ways to deal with criticism.
Their comment may be very provocative, but if you learn how to stay calm even during strenuous situations, you can surely handle any kind of criticism with clear thinking.
3. Keep your self-esteem high
One of the best methods to deal with criticism is to keep your self-esteem up. Sometimes you may find yourself in a spiral of self-loathing and being uncertain about your own ability after being criticized by a dear one.
While it is important to receive any criticism constructively, it is even more important not to feel lousy and uncertain about yourself.
Keep yourself humble and not cocky in that case and thank the critic for his or her feedback. This will remind you that criticism was a good thing, with the intention to learn to improve and keep you humble to the core.
Thanking the critic may catch them off guard and might change their mind about you. They might appreciate you for being open minded and honest about receiving criticism.
Do you know when you smile, you use fewer muscles than when you frown? So even a tiny smile can help you relax. So why not give a smile when you are faced with criticism? This surely can help you psychologically motivate the other person to use a more moderate approach toward you.
5. Respond to the suggestion
Often I have seen my friends responding to the tone of criticism, rather than to the suggestion. They end up becoming susceptible to the negative tone, rather than focusing on the message itself which is the most important part.
Sure, the criticism may appear negative, but if you spend time investigating and reflecting on it, you will realize there are useful suggestions in it that you can adopt and utilize.
Don’t try to respond to the criticism immediately; rather, wait for some time. Often an immediate response to a criticism is negative, which doesn’t benefit you and might jeopardize your relationship with the other person (when the person is giving genuine feedback to you).
Wait and mull over patiently for a response and reflect in a calmer way. Work in a relaxed way and don’t over react to criticism. Next time before you start responding with anger or becoming defensive, count to three and thank the person for the opinion/feedback.
6. Keep your focus on what’s helpful
Use your focus selectively. If you find that you are being criticized in the right spirit, use that constructively.
You can work wonders with this. I know my husband is my biggest critic, but he is also my top adviser. When he criticizes me, I know he has all the right reasons to do so and that he is finding fault with me to show me the right way. His feedback is right and genuine most of the time.
7. Avoid any arguments
Criticism doesn’t always have to be dealt with aggression. Don’t indulge in a war of words if you face harsh criticism.
Being provocative will hardly do you any good.
Address the problem: If the negative criticism is from your boss, try to accept it with a smile and address the problem that was brought up. Accept the criticism with grace and appreciate their suggestion.
In sum, no one like to be criticized whether it is justified or not but we need to be clear on the intention of the other party and if the feedback/criticism given is truly insightful.
So first of all resist the tendency to dismiss any criticism and pay attention whether the feedback given by the other person is genuine or not. Reflect on what it was that you are being criticized upon and objectively assess if the feedback was truly a great insight that you might otherwise not be aware of.
Thank them for being so honest with you and for helping you improve.
If the criticism is not justified and doesn’t have a basis in what you have done, tell be firm and let him/her know that you are open to feedback but if there is no support for that feedback, then they should stop giving you that feedback.
However, you should say it in a polite and matter of fact way. Don’t argue or be angry. Always leave the conversation on good terms, if possible.
Feedback is always important for us to improve ourselves. The key is to decide whether the feedback given is truly helpful or not. Once you understand which type the criticism is, respond in a professional manner and either move on or improve upon.