How to Deal with Criticism and Use it to your Advantage

Receiving criticism is unpleasant.

Some of us get angry and defensive while others get
demotivated and start blaming themselves. There are very few people who take
criticism for what it is – and those are the truly secure ones.

So, why is criticism so hard to digest?

Criticism triggers feelings of shame. It hits a nerve and
makes us uncomfortable, forcing us to react in unsavory ways to conceal our shame.

Next time you’re criticized, don’t let it bog you down and
ruin your mood. Here are five smart ways to deal with criticism, take it in
your stride and use it to become a better person.

Detach Yourself

“Don’t take criticism personally” – you’ve heard this
multiple times, but we agree, it can be extremely tough to not get perturbed.

The only way to not take criticism personally is to
emotionally detach yourself from it.

Know that the ‘criticism’ you receive does not define you. Look
at it as someone else’s opinion which you may or may not choose to consider.

You also need to understand and internalize the fact that
you cannot please everyone. There will be people who will have a differing
opinion and that’s alright. Embrace differences in opinion instead of
perceiving a critical remark as an ‘attack.’

Hate VS Criticism

Speaking about attacks, criticism is not always
constructive. There are people who
enjoy spewing hate
and live off that energy. Yes, the haters.

How do you tell the difference?

Critics are specific and also offer suggestions for
improvement. They are open to discussion because their primary agenda is to
help you get better.

On the other hand, haters criticize you because ..they can.
Their ‘criticism’ has got nothing to do with you or your work. It’s usually a
byproduct of their own issues.

So, it’s very important to see where the criticism is
coming from.

Respond, Don’t React

You’ve worked very hard on a project only to be told it’s
needs more work.

It’s easy to lose your cool, throw a fit and justify the
hard work you put in but how is that going to help the situation? By getting
riled up, the only person you hurt is yourself.

Next time you’re faced with a criticism, step back from the
situation and take some time to process it.

Ask questions and fully understand what you’re being
criticized about. If you agree with it, implement the feedback and learn from

If you don’t agree with it, respond with grace. Tell them
why you feel differently and stand up for yourself without getting defensive.
The key lies in approaching the conversation objectively and staying calm.

Protect your Self-Esteem

If you’re someone who struggles with low self-esteem, any
piece of criticism is likely to break your confidence, and have you question

Take conscious efforts to protect your self-esteem and build
your confidence. You need to develop a strong sense of self that’s not shaken
every time you’re criticized.

For instance, if you were criticized for your writing
skills, that does not mean you lose
the motivation
to write because you feel you’re not good enough. It means
taking the positives and striving to write better next time.

So, the next time you are given feedback, assess it
rationally and don’t give in to the negative self-talk. Tell yourself it’s just
feedback and it cannot shape your self-concept.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is one that is open to growth and
development. Focused on learning, such a mindset makes people open to receiving
feedback. They value
and take criticism in their stride because they actively work
towards becoming better versions of themselves.

When you focus on growth, your perspective on criticism
shifts which allows you to look at it objectively and use it to your advantage.

Learning to deal with criticism is essential because you will encounter it at every stage in your life. So, follow these five steps and you’re bound to deal with criticism more sensibly such that it works in your favor.

Adela Belin is passionate about sharing stories with a
hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal
and professional growth. She is a regular contributor to
this blog.

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books–written by men–barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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