Criticism is part of life and it can come from almost anywhere. You might hear it while at work, school or just when you’re at home. One of the biggest challenges is learning how to accept criticism when it comes and recognize it’s probably coming from someone who is trying to be helpful, rather than serving as a personal attack on you.
There are some practical pointers on how to be graceful and open when criticism comes your way so you don’t always take it personally.
Control The Inner Turmoil
Immediately after hearing someone criticize you, you’ll likely feel a sudden rush of emotions that might range from sadness to anger. Whatever the case may be, your first course of action is to recognize that those emotions are there and not let them overpower you. The sooner you can control the emotions inside you, the less likely it is you’ll lash out at the person who’s delivering the criticism and possibly do or say something that you’ll later regret.
Take A Deep Breath And Ask For Clarification
Along with trying to gain control of your feelings as soon as possible after receiving the criticism, it’s important not to carry out your first reaction, which will probably be one of offense. Instead, take a deep breath and ask the person for more details about what he or she just said. Doing those things should help you maintain the proper perspective and also reduce the chances of any misunderstandings.
Postpone A Response Until You Feel Calmer
It’s also a very good idea to hold off on responding to the person who criticized you until you’re at a point where you’re feeling relatively calm and have had time to process whatever was said. Otherwise, you may get defensive and refuse to see alternative points of view, even if the person insists that he or she was not trying to offend you personally.
Try To Hear The Truth In What Was Said
Often, we jump to conclusions after receiving criticism and begin concocting all kinds of elaborate scenarios in our heads that help us reach a belief about why the criticism was given. Instead of doing that, gently force yourself to have a face-to-face conversation with the person who criticized you and talk it out until you’ve gotten to a point where you can hear and accept the truths in whatever was spoken. That’ll help you evaluate things and understand whether there genuinely are issues you need to improve about yourself that relate to the criticism.
Rise Above The Chaos
In some cases, the criticism you receive may be totally unwarranted, making you feel like the best thing to do is seek revenge on the person who said it. Doing that might seem satisfying initially, but it’s often an excuse to harbor resentment, not to mention bring yourself down to the level of the person who spoke badly about you. Be the better person and hold your head high rather than letting yourself be overcome by the emotions resulting from the unnecessary criticism you received.
Be Grateful For Honest Criticism
When it’s clear a person has given criticism out of a desire to help you improve, it’s important to show thankfulness toward that person. Keep in mind that sometimes giving criticism is almost as tough as receiving it. Furthermore, self-improvement is essential, and the first step in it is recognizing there’s a shortcoming that needs to be fixed. You might not know about that fault until someone’s bold enough to make you aware it exists by having an honest conversation with you.
It’s almost always hard to hear criticism, but the tips you’ve just read can help you accept it calmly and see the value in it, rather than blowing up at the other person. With time, you should find it easier to recognize that criticism can be a tool that spurs your personal growth and isn’t always an attack on who you are.