Criticism is a hard pill to swallow, and it can really demoralize us. It is a term used for both constructive feedback and hateful comments. While it feels wrong, there's a lot that we can learn from criticism. It can point out to us our flaws and help us distinguish between people that are our friends or foes.
Some useful techniques can help you better understand the criticism and deal with it better.
Let's have a look at the top 10 ways you can handle criticism.
1. Is it Constructive Feedback?
The first step is to understand the intentions of your critique. Are they trying to help or hurt? Our first reaction to criticism is often anger or frustration. But sometimes other people's judgements can show us our mistakes that we were unaware of. Understand where the criticism is coming from?
Criticism from someone like your teacher is meant to make you better while criticism from a jealous or toxic person is intended to harm you. Knowing the difference is the first key to devising the right approach.
2. Is There Any Truth To it?
You have to be honest with yourself. Reason and see if whether what they're saying has anything to do with reality? Could you be really at error? Do you need an improvement in that sector? Have others also said similar things to you?
If others have also criticized you, then chances are its constructive criticism. Remember, honest judgements and critiques will help you make a better person and avoid yourself from repeating the same mistakes in the future. In this way, constructive feedback is a blessing.
3. Accept that You Are Not Perfect
We are humans. We are meant to make mistakes, and that's completely ok. If we keep getting constructive criticism, then it means we need improvements and this way, we will make ourselves better. You do not have to be liked by everyone, and it's completely normal.
Don't be defensive and make excuses, rather accept where you were wrong and move on towards becoming better. Later in life, you will be happy that you corrected yourself and don't make the same mistakes again.
4. Never Respond Immediately
When somebody points out our flaws, our first reaction is that of anger. Anger clouds our judgement and often the decisions or arguments made in the influence of rage don't make things any better. If it turns out to be constructive criticism, you will regret it later on.
Step back, cool down and try to reason. Think about the criticism when you're in a good mood. When you're relaxed, your mind thinks better. Calm thinking will help you understand what the criticism meant, and it will help you make better decisions.
5. Don't Take it Personally
Remember, if it's constructive, they are criticizing your work, not your personality. So, you should not take it personally, instead see it as guidance.
In case if the person is toxic, remember that such people have internal problems they are facing. They vent out their anger or jealousy on others by making them feel bad, but in reality, they are suffering, and you have nothing wrong with yourself. It's them that are problematic, not you.
6. Develop Thicker Skin
You can be an absolute saint. But someone toxic comes out of nowhere and starts bashing you for no apparent reason. Was it your mistake? No. There are all types of negative people in this world. Even if you are doing great on your part, they will still try to bring you down. You need to have strong emotional armor and never take everything too seriously.
Dealing with criticism is a part of life. Learn how to be confident, stand up for yourself and deal with such people. Work on being a less sensitive person. Learn how to be more emotionally stable and deal with both positive and negative judgements.
7. Are You Dealing With an Internet Troll?
Some people on the internet will hurt others for the sole purpose of entertainment. If this is where you're getting your criticism from, then it's never something personal. It is just meant to get a reaction out of you.
You can start by blocking them or ignoring them altogether. When they understand that you're not going to play their game, they'll simply leave and find someone else to be their bait. Once you know their intent, there is no use in feeling bad. Just see them for what they are and continue with your life.
8. Disregard Destructive Criticism
If you find out that the other person means harm, then you should never give them a reaction. A reaction is what they probably want from you. They want you to feel sad, angry and frustrated. While you cannot control their behaviour, you can definitely control your own response. And that's all you need to do.
If you respond by staying calm and not caring about their toxic behaviours, the other person can't do anything to you. It all depends on how you react and deal with your haters. Once they don't get the reaction, it will be agitating for them and they might stop after some time.
9. What is Your Next Best Approach?
After getting criticized and evaluating it as good or bad, think to yourself, how should I deal with things from here on? If it was constructive criticism, spend some time thinking about your flaws and how you can become better. Create a plan on how you will improve yourself so you don’t have to face any criticism later in future.
If the criticism was intended to harm, your next best strategy is to be aware of such people in the future. Stay confident and be on guard, because they might try to do it again. Ignoring and walking away is often the best solution because you do not need to waste time on people who won’t change.
10. What Did You Learn From it?
Both positive and negative criticism can teach us valuable lessons. Constructive feedback is a blessing and helps you understand where you lack. This type of criticism let you know of your flaws and teach you essential details that you were previously unaware of.
On the other side, hateful criticism can teach us how to deal with negative people. You will learn to set boundaries, how to react, and which people are not your friends. If all they make you is feel sad, then why do you even need them in the first place? Insulate yourself from the toxic people and focus on the helpers and well-wishers in your life.
The way you respond to the criticism holds the most power. Once you understand how important your reaction is, being criticized will teach you lots of important lessons. Who's good, who's bad, where you lack and where you need to improve.
After all, criticism is a mind game and once you understand how it works, it will really benefit you in being an emotionally stronger and better version of yourself.
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