How to handle criticism

ARISTOTLE said, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

No one is immune to being criticised, and almost everyone is sensitive to it. The word “criticism” even sounds negative, but it doesn't have to be.

If you realise what the other person's intentions are for giving you feedback, and you take that feedback as a positive opportunity for change, you can turn criticism into a constructive experience.

Don’t discourage yourself from wanting to improve by not handling criticism well; read on for our tips to make it work for you.

Criticism can be a positive thing
If the criticism you’re receiving is constructive, meaning the person’s goal in giving it to you is to help improve your life, realise that the feedback will most likely lead to a positive change.

However, don’t be afraid to ask questions to know exactly what you need to do to improve, because if you don’t have the knowledge to know what needs to be changed, the criticism is pointless.

Understand the motivation
Realise what is motivating the person to give you the criticism. Is this person giving you feedback to help you, or is the critic voicing criticism out of self-interest?

Learn how to spot the good kind of criticism
Not all criticism is created equal. There are two types of criticism: constructive and destructive.

Constructive criticism focuses on something you can actually change, such as the way you listen to your partner or your time management skills. Destructive criticism is untimely, intended to hurt your self-esteem, or centers on a trait or aspect of your appearance that can’t be changed.

Don’t argue
You don’t have to agree with the criticism, but before you start arguing, take the person’s point into consideration. Your instinct to get defensive can halt the opportunity for positive change.

If you don’t agree with what the critic is saying, you’re sure you’ve been open to change, and the person has a positive motivation, it’s fine not to agree with the criticism. However, when giving your own perspective of the situation, use the right tone and be open for a dialogue.

Take the feedback for what it is - feedback
This is a golden opportunity for you to see yourself as others do, or at least as the person doling out the criticism does. Now is the time to focus on what you can do, not what’s been done.

Be open to change

Just because we may have gone through life one way doesn’t mean we’re stuck like that forever. People have the right to change. In fact, you have the right to make a change big or small, whenever you want.

Perhaps after listening to criticism, you’ll feel that the critic’s assessment and suggestions for improvement are a more effective option than how you are currently living your life.

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