Being able to deal with criticism positively and assertively is an important step to maturity and to establishing one’s goals. Most of us tend to get defensive or angry with negative criticism and some of us end up being utterly devastated by it. Today, we will cover some easy ways to deal with criticism:
1. Take time out before responding
If you are angry or upset by criticism, do not respond immediately. Take some time to relax and think things out. When you respond immediately, chances are that you will get defensive or angry. So breathe in deeply, drop the subject and move on. Once you are calm, analyse the statements made by the critic. Often, you might be making more of the situation than it really is. Once you have ascertained the situation, only then give your response. Chances are that the person may not have all the facts –so give her/him the whole story (unless it is confidential).
2. Whatever you do, avoid the following
An important way to deal with criticism is to avoid the following
- Getting confused or defensive or angry
- Retaliating with blame
- Shutting down or withdrawing
- Running away
- Ignoring and keeping it inside
- Internalizing the anger and letting it affect your peace and well being
3. Give a practiced response
If you are criticized when you know it is unwarranted, then instead of giving an angry or defensive response, give a rehearsed response like: “Thanks for your suggestion, I will get back to you”.
4. Use negative criticism to learn
Criticism, when dealt with positively, can help us grow and learn from our mistakes. Doing so is one of the best ways to deal with criticism in all kinds of relationships (be it with your spouse, parents or at work). Take some time to absorb what has happened. Try and see something useful in the feedback. For example, if someone has corrected your grammar usage, learn from that mistake, find out the corrections and do not repeat it again.
5. Do not take criticism as a personal attack
Most people, when criticized, take it as a personal attack and start considering themselves a failure.You must learn to separate the behavior from yourself (as a person). In many cases, the person doling out the criticism might be having a bad day and her/his criticism may actually have nothing to do with you. So, as stated above, evaluate the criticism and if you find there is nothing to learn from it, drop it and let it go.
6. Accept differences in everyone
We are all different and have different viewpoints. Sometimes, it is best to ‘agree to disagree’. If someone criticizes your opinion, accept it. After all; this world is a better place because we are all different!
7. Deal with your inner child
Criticism hurts because our inner child is upset by it; perhaps it reminds you of an incident in your childhood. Let the adult in you talk to the child in you. Let it be the ‘parent and guide the child so as to make it understand’. This way you can take the emotion out of the criticism.
8. Have a firm belief in your goals
It helps to keep a thought and vision journal so you can make things happen despite criticism. Be bold and describe what your life will be with and without your vision. This will help you chart a course in getting there.
Though it is never easy to deal with criticism, there are ways to make it work in your favor. While you can learn from it; you must also have firm belief in yourself and your convictions. Always move towards inner rather than external validation, because only you have faith in your actions, you can counter negativity with greater aplomb in the future.