Criticism is something we all have to deal with daily. You get to hear it at home, at work, in traffic, just everywhere you come. You can receive constructive, destructive, and irrelevant criticism. Since we receive criticism so often we must know how to handle criticism in a healthy way.
Receiving criticism isn’t always fun or nice. We may feel offended or attacked when the criticism is not all about what we do well. Especially if it is on something we’ve worked hard on. The way we experience criticism can depend on several aspects such as who you’re receiving this criticism from, how they say it, what the criticism is about and how we handle criticism.
Sometimes even if the criticism is positive we can handle it in an unhealthy way, this may sound weird, but keep reading and I’ll explain what I mean
We can’t do much about the external factors such as how people give criticism, because well, you can’t change people. What we can do is to grow stronger and develop healthy ways to handle criticism of any kind.
8 Tips to Handle Criticism in a Healthy Way
Don’t take it too personally
A big mistake we make sometimes is thinking that the criticism some people give us, is because they don’t like us or because they are just negative. Well of course sometimes that can be the case, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Now let’s focus on those who don’t dislike you. When someone gives you feedback, criticism, try to see it professional and not personal. Don’t go make it about you as a person or about the critic, but try to focus on how to apply the criticism to do better.
Always try to detach the critic form the criticism. Because sometimes, even if the person is just ‘annoying’ you can still learn from there comment if you see it strictly professional and try to take the useful information from it.
Make a distinction between destructive, constructive, and irrelevant criticism
Detaching the critic form the criticism might be hard sometimes, especially if someone never gives constructive feedback. In those cases try to distinguish destructive criticism from constructive criticism. You can do that by asking questions like, how could I do it better? If the criticism is meant constructive, in most cases the critic could give you specific improvement points.
If it’s meant destructive, most of the time they can’t give you an improvement point, but they’ll focus on breaking off everything you say. The critic can try to hurt your feelings or maybe even try to make it personal.
Try to see if the criticism is relevant to this topic, for example, if you get criticism on a book you wrote and the critic says something about the way you laugh, it’s clearly irrelevant (a bit extreme example I know, but I hope you get the picture).
If you’re sure the criticism is irrelevant or destructive, the best way to deal with it is to not take it personally and ignore it. If someone tries to break you or hurt you, the chances are that the critic has some issues to deal with. If the critic gives criticism that’s irrelevant, it may be that they just like to talk.
Know that failing is part of growing
A big reason why we can’t deal with people telling us that we didn’t do something right or that we could’ve done it better is that we want to be perfect at something right away. We want to be able to succeed the first time.
Failing is an important part of growing. If you don’t receive criticism on how you did something wrong, you can’t know how to correct it and how to improve it.
Give yourself room to fail to grow and know that you are not perfect because hey, no one is and that is perfectly fine. If we admit to ourselves that we are human, we are imperfect and we allow our self to make mistakes, we can handle criticism in a much healthier way.
Try to learn from it
The best thing about criticism is that you can learn from it and that is the only way you should use it. No matter how it makes you feel, try to focus on what you can learn from it and how it can help you grow.
Don’t think that you already know everything because that is something that will keep you from learning and growing. As soon as you open your mind to people their visions and feedback you can learn so much more and grow into a better person.
So no matter how harsh the criticism may be, try to detach your feelings for a second and focus on the learning points.
If you take the criticism professionally, accept that you are not perfect and are willing to grow the next important thing is to ask questions about the criticism. Try to understand it so that you can practice it with more understanding and confidence.
Ask questions such as:
- How could I do it better?
- Why do you see it like that?
- Would this (a suggestion) make it better?
Be thankful for criticism
Always be thankful for criticism. The more feedback you get, the more you learn and the more you can grow. Even if you can’t apply the criticism at that moment it might be helpful in the future.
Also, be thankful for irrelevant and destructive criticism. Moments like these can help you get to know people better, get to realize how they see you and who to reach out for feedback.
Learn to take a compliment
I mentioned earlier that you can even have unhealthy ways of dealing with positive criticism. For example, when someone tells you that you did something good, you start wondering if they are right, that maybe you aren’t that good.
Please stop doing that. Learn to take a compliment. If someone tells you that you did something right thank them and allow yourself to be proud of yourself and your accomplishments.
Believe in yourself
Start believing in yourself and what you can do and accomplish. The more you believe in yourself, the more confidence you can build. The more confident you are the better you can handle criticism.
Because if you believe in what you can do, you won’t start second-guessing yourself the moment you receive criticism.
The more you believe in yourself the more you will believe someone when they tell you that you did something good.
There we have it, my tips on handling criticism in a good and healthy way. If you have some more tips please let me know in the comments.