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Criticism: How to Handle It

It can be hard to take criticism, especially when we are our own worst critics. Usually when we act, we have already thought about our actions and have criticised it, in a negative or positive way, accepting how someone else views our actions and what they say about them, can often feel unfair or uncalled for. Dealing with this exchange can be challenging.

What to do when facing criticism

 1 – Most things said by others are actually a reflection of themselves and their thoughts, they are not always relevant to your work or your actions. If you feel what the other person said was particularly harsh or has absolutely no value (after pondering for a while), consider it a message from their subconscious to themselves. They might be seeing something in you that they are unhappy about regarding themselves and feel they are failing, lacking in some aspect and this is how they express it. Ask yourself: Whose problem is it?

2 – Calm down and take as long as you need to assess the criticism, don’t get angry, don’t lash out, just let that initial feeling pass. Try to do some exercise, meditate, distract yourself with things you enjoy doing until you feel at peace once more and carefully think about what was said. Never give into anger (that only leads to the dark side).

3 – Carefully analyse what was said. Has this been said to you before? Is this something you think about yourself or your achievements? Does it mean anything to you? Is there a reason for this criticism to even exist? Does this person have enough information to criticise your actions? Analyse everything before reacting. Make sure the information is unbiased and consider misunderstanding as part of communication, so ask for further explanations if you need it for assessment. The other party might be expressing things in a way you don’t understand.

4 – After forming a conclusion, if you do feel there was something truthful about what was said, better yourself! This is a great opportunity to grow and improve in some aspects you might not even be aware of. Do not be afraid to say “thank you, I will try to do better next time”. If there was no reason for such criticism, formulate a response that will not lead to unnecessary frustration or heated and unproductive arguments.

See other people’s criticisms and opinions as an opportunity to grow. After careful consideration, if you feel it comes from a place of anger, misinformation or is simply irrelevant, disregard it. It is all part of personal growth (yours or theirs) so try not to take it personally.

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