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Home Personal Development How To Accept Criticism

How To Accept Criticism

Criticism ia a double-edged sword. On one hand it can improve you, but on the other hand, it can shatter your confidence if you allow it. Knowing how to deal with criticism is vital to improving yourself in both your professional and personal lives. 

How do you feel when someone criticizes you? Maybe you’ve had someone criticize your work, effort, or personal aspects of your life. You may feel hurt or angry and you may even become defensive.
 
There are so many times in life when we have to deal with criticism thatit’s essential to learn how to deal with it. Certainly you don’t want someone else’s opinion to prevent you from having a happy and productive life, right?
 
Dealing with Constructive Criticism vs. Destructive Criticism
 
The first step in dealing with criticism is to figure out whether it’s worth considering. Sometimes we may confuse personal attacks with criticism. They’re definitely not the same!
 
  • There are two kinds of criticism: constructive criticism, which is intended to help us improve and keep communication open, and destructive criticism, which is used to humiliate and control.
Whether you’re dealing with criticism in the work place, at home, or with friends, it’s essential to be able to deal with critical comments. Your feelings will inevitably be hurt, so the first thing to do is give yourself a few minutes to process the information before reacting.
 
  • Take some deep breaths, and determine why the criticism was delivered. Thinking before you react will help you avoid unnecessary conflict, pain, or embarrassment.
If you determine there’s no truth to the criticism, you may find it appropriate to use a technique called distracting, where you calmly acknowledge that you heard what the other person said. Don’t become defensive or upset, just acknowledge the statement and leave it at that.
 
  • You can acknowledge the other speaker with a general response, such as “I appreciate you sharing your opinion.” or “You might be right.” Leaving an open end doesn’t allow room for more argument. It will also put the other person at ease, and may even allow you to change the subject.
One of the hardest things to do when you’re criticized is to admit that it’s true. You don’t have to be overly apologetic. You can always say, “I’m sorry” or “It’s my mistake” and move on. By admitting fault, you’re taking ownership of the problem and you’re proving that you’re a mature adult.
 
Once you’ve admitted your mistake, strive to get past the barrier and heal the rift between you.
 
  • When communicating, strive not to use the word “but” when admitting the truth of the criticism. That puts stipulations on why you were wrong. Swallow your pride and go on.
On the other hand, if you’re not sure whether the criticism is justified or not, you may want to request more detailed feedback. This will not only help you gain more information, but also help the other person clarify the facts.
 
  • An example of this might be if someone tells you that your work is sloppy. By finding out their expectations, you can deliver what they’re looking for instead of fumbling around trying to figure out what “sloppy” means.
Everyone has different expectations, and a simple adjustment might be all you need to resolve the criticism.
 
If you take criticism too personally, you’re letting someone else be in charge of your life! Don’t let others rattle you, it’s really not worth the energy or frustration.
 
And remember: you can’t control others; you can only control yourself. So that means you have a choice in your response to criticism: you can ignore the criticism, use it as a motivator, or become upset and angry. The choice is yours.
 
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Comments

avatar WH1
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Just to confirm what you are saying really works. I have recently had the following experience. We were visiting an overseas client with whom we have been dealing for some time. On the one project there are some problems, which are difficult to control because of the distance between us. We have been trying very hard to solve these issues, since it comes down to communication. I have tried everything from email, telephone calls, skype and video conferencing to get things on track again. However, this has not solved the problem and I am trying to discover what the real problem is. Anyway, I go there to discuss a new contract with them. It is also a different project manager, which I have not met before face to face, but only via email and telephone calls. The first thing that happened when I walked into the meeting is that the guy starts attacking me (in front of my boss and the whole project team). He has obviously been influenced by the other project manager. I personally felt it was unjustified and frankly unprofessional. As Hannes says above this was clearly his way to humiliate and control me (I think he needed to also show his team who is the boss!). My immediate response was shock. How could this guy whom I have never met and never worked with be so rude! And yes, I did feel hurt, because this guy does not work on the other project and he does not know how much effort I put into rectifying problems. So, while he was ranting on, I just took a deep breath and tried to think why he was going on like this. And what could I do to stop the flow of this negativity. So, I followed the distracting route, by acknowledging what he said. It was really hard not to say anything back to him, especially since I know his criticism was unjustified. I must admit that the last part of not taking something personally is probably the hardest thing to do. I still find myself dwelling on the things he said sometimes. But now I will use it as a motivator to try and prove him wrong!
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avatar Matsetse
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My add on to the topic are as follows: often when people used to critisise me or my work, i used to fight back hard (like fighting fire with fire)due to my ego and as a result, this got us know where in terms of progress. however, i realised that sometimes when people critise you or perhaps your work, it is because of the fact that they do not have an idea of how you came to a particular conclusion (more like why did you do what you did). And to calm the situation, you could ask the critisizer if he/she is firslty prepared to listen to how you came to a particular conclusion, otherwise i would back up for a moment and that means doing a great deal of listening with no questions asked in the process.

There seem to be a great need in people wanting to feel important & so, when working with difficult people, it can be advisable to make it look like its their own idea when proposing something. NB: i only do this because in most cases i'm looking for results (positive) rather than credit.
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