Every one of us at some point in our life has experienced criticism. We are crictized at work place, schools, home, outside everywhere at some point we are criticized by our family members, friends, and enemy or by others. Nobody of us likes to be criticized by others but unfortunately it is a fact of life. Criticism basically means act of passing severely judgments or evaluating the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc. I have been criticized, corrected or accused many times in my life even for my small mistakes also and I react to it very angrily. I have struggled this instinct under control in a professional context, more or less but I have more trouble with at home. We should learn to deal with criticism positively. It is an important life skill. Many successful people also believe that the only reason they were able to succeed in their endeavors and life was that they allowed themselves to fail. There are countless or many stories of businessmen who tried again and again to achieve their goals, failing many times in the process before finally hitting pay dirt. What is not as clear, but equally important to their success they achieved in their life is that they knew how to benefit from the criticism they received as they were building their organizations. The capacity to handle criticism and grow from it is a very important characteristic of success.
There are basically two flavors of criticism:
1. Constructive criticism:
It can also be considered as valid criticism. Constructive criticism is based on accurate perception of events and behavior. The person who is criticizing you is motivated by a desire to help and provides solid suggestions for change. This type of criticism is ideally meant to help you.You know it is valid or constructive criticism when you:
- Have heard the criticism from more than one people.
- The critic knows a great deal or solution about the subject.
- The critic is generally known as someone who has or applies reasonable standards of behavior.
- It is generally delivered by the person when you don’t live up to their expectation.
2. Destructive criticism:
It hurts the individual self-esteem, causes psychological damage and renders him less effective. An example of destructive criticism is if your boss tells you, “How could you make such a stupid mistake, what were you thinking when you were doing it? I don’t know why I have hired you at the first place”. This type of criticism is not very useful because it may inform you made a mistake but if no remedy is suggested and no show of confidence that the mistake can be rectified is made, the net effect on the performance will be negative.
STEPS TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM:
1. Find what you can learn from criticism:
Many criticisms are probably based, at least in part, on some truth. Criticism may appear negative or positive to you. It is you who should decide what you should take and learn from it. Through criticism we have the opportunity to learn and improve from their suggestions.
2.Listen to what critic is saying to you:
Listen to the critic, try to understand what he or she is saying. Try to understand his or her points of view don’t just nod while I formulate my resorts. Accept just criticism.
3. Change your perspective :
- Identify the difference between constructive and destructive criticism:You have to first identify the critic and his intentions. If critic is a teacher or some elder then chances are there that he only wants you to perform better; but when it is coming from your supposed friend or an enemy, then you have to wonder or think whether or not the person has your best interest in mind.
- Accept that you are not perfect: This is a good way to deal with criticism. Nobody in this world is perfect, so if you think you’re perfect, then you’re nobody. Every person in this world has some flaws and if you don’t see anyone of yours then you are not examining yourself as closely as you should. Make a list of your flaws and analyze it.
- Don’t take it personally: This is the biggest problem which occurs with regard to criticism. If you want to best deal with criticism, then don’t take it personally. If the criticism is constructive, then it is planned to guide you and to help you improve as a person, not to bring you down and make you feel incompetent. If your teacher has given you critical feedback on a paper, it is not because she thinks that you are stupid or annoying in class; it is because she thinks you have some work to do when it comes to making an argument.
- Don’t react emotionally: Be less sensitive. Reacting emotionally will always make the situation worse. Work on accepting your flaws and improve those areas of flaws. If you never improve, then you will be flat lining, and you don’t want that, do you? Try to focus on the message or feedback and its intention to help you instead of focusing on all of the “mean” or “hurtful” things that were said to you.
4. Dealing with constructive criticism:
- Understand what you are really being told:Understand the message that critic is giving you. Identify the type of criticism and if you have determined that the criticism is meant to be constructive then you have to break it down so that you can start figuring out what to do next. Sometimes, you may be focused on the hurtful aspects or characteristics of the feedback and your pride may be too wounded for you to see what is right in front of you.
- See if the feedback is true or not: See if there is some truth to it or not. If the feedback is coming from a person who was very close to you like your best friend, girlfriends etc, and then you have to consider the possibility that there really is some truth to those words.
- Make a plan for addressing it: Once, you have decided that your boyfriend or best friend is completely right, or at least somewhat right. Then, you have got to write down the thing you need to work on and then make a plan for addressing it. This can take too much time but it is never too late to start. Once you made a plan, you can begin to address the criticism and become a better person.
- Thanks the person for being honest to you: Thank the person who has given you a valuable feedback in a friendly and a helpful way. Thank him for being honest and clear. Thanking people who give you a honest criticism is a sign of maturity.
- Don’t make excuses and don’t be defensive: If a person is giving you a valid criticism, don’t make excuses by saying that the person is completely wrong particularly if you know that there is some truth to what he or she is saying. If you get defensive and start making excuses, then the person will not be able to finish telling you exactly what he or she means, and you will not get the information you need to really improve. It is natural that we feel defensive and get the feeling that we can do no wrong, but it is important to hear people out before you cut them off to prove you are perfect.
- Remember that it can help you to be a better person: Remind yourself and be aware of your flaws and short comes and make a plan to address them. It will make you an even more amazing person.
5. Dealing with destructive criticism:
- Understand the true motive of a person: If you have identified or recognized the criticism as completely destructive and hurtful, then think about why the person might have said such a thing to make you feel better. Maybe the girl was jealous of your new outfit and said you that you dress like a spank. Maybe a guy said you are not a good writer because he is jealous that you just published a story. Maybe the person was just in a bad mood and felt like taking it out on someone and unfortunately you became the victim. Whatever be the reason, always remind yourself that it had little to do with who you are.
- Look for the grain of the truth and find reasons why he said that: Sometime the criticism is delivered in way that was completely mean, unnecessary and hurtful and most of the things that were said by the person were way off base. For example your friend said you are totally selfish without any reason, and then take a minute to think about it and recall all incidents and reasons why she said to you.
- Always remember that words can never hurt you:Destructive criticism is not made up of bullets, swords, or atomic bombs instead it is just a series of words connected together in a way designed to make you feel terrible. So, remind yourself that criticism only consists of a series or bunch of words. Don’t let criticism destroy you.
- Stay confident: the most important thing you can do to easily deal with criticism is to maintain your confidence level always in such situation. No matter what other people say to you or about you, be always strong and confident and don’t other people influence your own self-worth. Being confident reflects your love for yourself and for what who you are. It doesn’t mean you are flawless.
- Keep doing what you are doing: If you have not received a valid criticism and you know that what people are telling you are only being said because of jealousy, anger, or mean-spirited, then there is no need to change your routine to please people.
We all make mistakes all the time because it is a human nature. As we go through life we get plenty of opportunity to learn and improve ourselves. Therefore, no matter what kind of criticism is aimed at you, analyze or evaluate it to find something you can learn from it. Always try to take criticism on board to help you improve. When somebody is attacking your character it is hard to accept, but that does not mean you should ignore it. Follow the above steps it will help you to easily deal with the criticism for which you are targeted.