How To Deal Criticism In A Positive Way

How To Deal Criticism

How To Deal Criticism in real life, as we all know it is not hatred that we can ignore and it is something that will only make us better.

The dictionary definition of criticism is “judging the merits and faults of something”.

But being Indians, we are no strangers to judgement, right?

Dare I say, our fear of ‘log kya kahenge’ comes from our impulsive habit to judge as well?

It is evident that this is true for people around the world and not just Indians. In any situation, we feel like it is necessary to offer our two cents. We might not even fully know what happened.

This is an example of How To Deal Criticism , but not what it entirely is. 

Criticism is not always a bad thing. Healthy criticism can encourage a person’s growth and development. On the other hand, unhealthy criticism can hinder those things.

CRITICISM MAY BE HELPFUL OR HURTFUL

Criticism comes in two forms – constructive criticism and destructive criticism. 

Constructive criticism –

This is offered to help the person get better. It is not aimed at the person directly.

Constructive criticism is made in good faith. The intention is to never patronize the person. Instead, it is insightful feedback on what could be better.

Seeing things from another person’s point of view is critical. They may observe something that you could never think of yourself. Also, we are often oblivious to our own mistakes. Hence, constructive feedback is essential to get better at what you are doing or as a person. 

Example – You are good at the work, but I would appreciate it if you submitted it on time. 

Destructive Criticism –

This is a direct attack at the person, not the virtue. It is done to belittle the person.

Destructive criticism rarely inspires a person to get better. Instead, it makes the person feel humiliated and ashamed. The person might even stop trying to avoid feeling hurt. It is merely pointing out faults and not feedback on how to improve. This gives rise to low self-esteem and insecurity.

Many people do this mindlessly. Hence one must always be careful of what they say to others. 

Example – You don’t look good in that outfit, it makes you look fat. 

Keep the 10-second rule in mind – if a person can’t fix it in 10 seconds (weight, skin conditions, etc.), don’t comment about it. 

Criticism may be tough to take. However, it is also true that if you are not being criticized, you probably are not doing something that important. It isn’t criticism you should be afraid of; it is fake flattery. 

Here are some ways to handle “How To Deal Criticism”  in an emotionally healthy way, and to use it as a motivator instead of an obstacle.

Stop being too self-critical

I recently watched a ted talk by Mel Robbins where she said – “if we were to put a speaker so everyone can hear what we say to ourselves, they would institutionalize us! You would not hang out with people who talk to you the way you talk to yourself. Truth right? So, get out of your head! Your feelings are screwing you!”

I had to pause the talk and take a moment because I was shocked at how right that was.

We often are our own harshest critic.

It is not hard for negative opinions to get to you when you are already in a battle with your head. So, first of all, be forgiving and accepting towards yourself as you would be towards a friend. Stop being your own worst enemy. 

Stay neutral

It is widespread that our first reaction to being criticized is getting angry and bursting into tears (been there, done that.) But it sadly leads to nowhere. I was once mad about being criticized, and I stayed angry at them for days. It did not change the fact that what they said was right.

On the other hand, a girl was once saying nasty and hurtful things to me, to which I did not react. I finished what I was doing correctly. I earned praise and respect from the people around me, and she became a laughing stock.

Constructive critics will continue to give you valuable insights if you embrace them. By not reacting, you beat the destructive critics’ purpose of embarrassing you. So staying calm is the best option out there and answer on How To Deal Criticism.

Never take it personally

There is a difference between what we do and what we are. If you failed a test, it does not mean that you, as an individual, have failed at life. This is often hard because negative comments are made to attack you directly, and hurt your feelings. This gets even harder when the person is close to you. It takes a swing at your sense of self-worth and self -esteem.

But remember, you can always make efforts to fix your flaws.

They are a part of you, but they are not what you are as a person. And even if there are things about you that can’t change, it is okay.

The right people will like you for who you are, entirely. 

Be Polite

Throw in a smile, thank them for their comments (even if you feel like ripping their head off). If it is a constructive critic, they would be happy that you took their advice well. They won’t hesitate to give their insights into the future. If it is a destructive critic, kill them with kindness.

You were helpful to them defeats their purpose of trying to get you agitated. It is a win-win either way. 

Listen carefully

Before responding in any way, hear the person out. Listen to what the person has to say with an open mind. Although the criticism offered might seem harsh, it may be helpful too. Maybe they are pointing out a critical flaw that you need to work on.

Like I said earlier, we are oblivious to our own mistakes. Do not start getting defensive immediately. You could figure out later if the feedback were intended to help you out later. Then you can present your point of view to them as well.

Think about the other person

It is best to ignore mindless hurtful comments if the person making them is no so close. But if the person is close, who we hold in high regard, such comments can be emotionally scarring. Take some time (a day or so) and then discuss what they have said. It might just be that they have been dealing with something else, which is why they said those things to you.

We often take things like this personally, when the situation is not even about us in the first place. 

If they meant what they said, ask them for examples/incidents. 

Example – When did you feel that I acted selfishly?

You will understand the areas where you need to work on yourself. 

Always remember that another person’s opinion says more about them than about you. There might be one trait of yours that one person hates, but five other people love. Yet, it might be hard not to get anxious about getting criticized. Just remember that a lot of the time, people are too busy judging themselves to judge you. 

How To Deal Criticism is an art and you need to practice it daily.

– Written by Bhavika

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