If you’re like me, criticism is a touchy subject for you. If I don’t catch myself, I take everything too personally. I used to find myself dwelling on comments that people made to me for days, weeks, sometimes even months. These days, I try to be more conscious and healthy about my reaction to criticism. Here are my six tips that I keep in mind when faced with critics:
- Listen and analyze. Is the criticism warranted? Is it constructive? Does the person truly want to help you? Or, is the criticism unwarranted and non-constructive? Does the person merely want to tear you down? Analyze whether or not the criticism is meant in a helpful or hurtful way.
- Don’t react immediately. An immediate response, especially to negative criticism, can lead to regret once your anger subsides. Take some time to complete the step above before responding. Especially with criticism in an online setting, it can be tempting to type back right away with something nasty or hurtful. However, you can’t control what they say but you can control how you react. Don’t react in a way in which you will regret later.
- If the criticism is meant in a helpful way, be honest with yourself. Does what they’re saying make sense? Is their criticism meant to make you better? Be open-minded and don’t take it as a direct attack. And try to use that criticism to improve upon yourself.
- If the criticism is unwarranted, non-constructive, or hurtful, don’t take it personally. The person who is tearing you down obviously has personal insecurities and demons of their own which they are projecting onto you. Take it with a grain of salt, and don’t dwell on it for days on end. If they’re critiques are off-base or unfounded, simply say thank you and move on.
- Be thankful. Regardless whether its helpful or hurtful, criticism has the power to make you improve yourself in some way. So be thankful for the person who provides constructive criticism because they are honestly trying to make you better. Or be thankful for the person who is providing negative criticism, because they will help you grow more mature as a person as you learn to recognize their comments and attitudes for what they truly are. Either way, you will improve.
- Don’t dwell on it. Ignore it, use it to improve yourself, analyze it, forget it, whatever you want to do… but don’t dwell on it. Don’t spend days or weeks or months thinking about the same comments. Don’t let it ruin your self-esteem or your self-image. And don’t stress about it.
These are the main things I try to keep in mind when faced with criticism from any source. What are some other tips you have for dealing with critics? I’d love to hear from you!
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