Learn To Handle Criticism

By Audrey marlene


As Featured On Ezine Articles

Negative Criticism

Criticisms can be positive or negative. It all depends on the motive and how it is delivered. It doesn't matter if they are given with the best of intentions - if they are not delivered properly it most likely will not be received well. Some give criticisms just to be mean and condescending due to their own insecurities. Others critique to offer some constructive feedback. No matter the intention, if not delivered correctly criticisms become a negative action that causes one to feel inept and flawed.

If criticisms are delivered with the right motive and intention, the recipient can feel encouraged and moved to action. They may feel motivated to make improvements in their lives and the one giving the critique gets the credit. If the criticism has the wrong motive the recipient may react by feeling hurt, angry, or defensive. It has the potential to destroy, leaving the individual to feel condemned and incompetent. Negative criticisms damage the human spirit. The recipient walks away feeling attacked as it rips apart their self-esteem.

Destructive criticisms are prompted by:

  • Jealousy
  • Fear
  • Intimidation
  • Ignorance
  • Insensitivity
  • Perfectionism
  • Egocentricity
  • Prejudice
  • Self-centeredness

When you receive a criticism, it is up to you to realize the source of it and not allow it to destroy you. Let us look at ways of handling the negative impact of poorly delivered feedback.

Opportunity To Learn

Whether or not a criticism is poorly delivered, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it. Receiving negative feedback is never enjoyable. However, there is one essential way to be able to always avoid the sting, while learning from it.

The best way to learn is to become emotionally strong.

When you think highly of self and a criticism comes your way, whether or not it is delivered correctly, you will not be shaken when you are emotionally strong. You will hear the words, they will register in the brain, and they may ruffle your feathers somewhat. But you will not be shaken. It will flow off your back and your perception of the person delivering the condescending words will changed.

When you are emotionally strong your level of self-confidence is high and your perception of self is not distorted. With this mind set you are insulated from feelings of being attacked when someone offers up some negative feedback. If the criticism was helpful, you may take into consideration what was said and use it as an opportunity to learn. If it was not helpful, your strong emotions will give you the confidence to know that what is being said does not define who you are.

Building strong emotions is the best way to be able to repel negative words. The emotionally strong person will be able to discern the motive of the critic and be prepared to handle any attack.

Begin today to build your emotional strength. It can give you the insulation to withstand criticisms and to recognize the value, if any, to be gained.

How to Deliver Criticisms

Learning how to deliver a criticism can help to soften the blow of receiving a criticism. By having this knowledge you can easily recognize when someone just hasn't learned the skill of delivery so you can sympathize with them rather than allow it to affect you.

The truth is no one likes to be criticized. Except for those people who always have to speak their mind, no one really likes to give criticism. There are some people however, who are ready to criticize behind one's back but not in person. "Remember do unto others what you would have them do unto you". If you want to receive criticism in a constructive fashion then you must learn to deliver a criticism constructively.

So when the time comes where you just can't hold back and you have to give a criticism, here are some tips on making an effective delivery.

  • Maintain a calm, low tone of voice, almost monotone.

  • Keep your criticism within the statutes of limitation. In other words, don't criticize something that happened a year ago.

  • Think about the real reason you are going to make this criticism. Make sure the motive is about truly helping the other person.

  • Avoid giving a criticism when you are agitated or angry.

  • Do it privately, not in front of an audience.

  • Preface it by saying something nice.

  • Get the facts straight and try to be objective. Don't jump to conclusions.

  • Choose words that will not cause the receiver to go on the defensive. Do not use exaggerated words like "you always" or "you never". Rehearse your words - if possible run them by someone ahead of time.

  • Get yourself involved in the criticism. Say something like "I used to have a problem in this area, so I understand..."

  • End the criticism on a good note - a handshake, a hug, or a compliment.

  • Then let it go, don't bring it up again.

  • The next time you see that person say something pleasant or pay a nice compliment and move on.

Work on improving your delivery - remember what goes around comes around.

Dealing with Criticism

There are two basic reasons why people give a criticism:

1. Someone is genuinely trying to help you with the best of intentions by offering some constructive feedback with an opportunity for improvement.

2. Someone feels so insecure that destructively criticizing others helps them to feel better about him or herself subconsciously.

When a criticism is delivered to you improperly, the natural tendency is to react, defend, or attack. Here are some tips that can help you to react appropriately.

  • Remain quiet. Restrain yourself and let the person complete their criticism.

  • Evaluate the source of the criticism. Quickly determine the motive. Ask yourself "Is this person trying to help me or attack me?" Trust your instincts!

  • If the person is trying to attack you, don't empower them by reacting angrily. They will quickly know how much they affected you. Ignore them and walk away. Remember you have the choice to accept or reject a criticism. When you can reject it, the person doing the attacking feels deflated or defeated. When you retaliate they feel vindicated.

  • If you decide the criticism is constructive but was not delivered properly then the best way to approach it is by saying "I get the feeling you are trying to give me some constructive criticism. I want to clearly understand what you are saying so can you say it again please?" This allows the critic to realize that you do want to learn something from what they have to say. They will then attempt to reword the criticism so you can get the full meaning.

  • And most of all work to improve your emotional strength. This gives you resilience against any attack. Build your self-esteem and self-confidence.

I hope my thoughts on withstanding criticism will give you more ammunition for coping. Quotes on Criticism

  • "A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her." ā€“David Brinkley

  • "Don't be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind." - Hamilton Mabie

  • "The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment." -Elbert Howard

  • "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving." ā€“ Dale Carnegie

  • "To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility -- these are marks of maturity and graciousness." ā€“ William Arthur Ward

  • "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do." Dale Carnegie

  • "Sandwich every bit of criticism between two thick layers of praise." -Mary Kay Ash

  • "Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  • "If criticism had any power to harm, the skunk would be extinct by now." - Fred Allen

  • "He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help." - Abraham Lincoln

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