Criticism as defined intellectually is describing and bringing to notice the faults and merits of a person according to them. Everyone has their own way of dealing with criticisms. Winston Churchill said – “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in human body. It calls attention to unhealthy state of things”.
What comes to your mind the moment you hear the word –“criticism”. Different people have different reactions to criticism. Criticism in general term is also a difference of perspective. The difference in principles and individuality gives rise to criticism. Criticisms can be constructive as well as destructive.
Opinions that have valid reasons and those that helps in shaping a person’s personality positively and bringing improvements in his life and work. Constructive criticisms involves both positive and negative comments but in a friendly manner.
Destructive criticisms are made with the sole intention to deteriorate a person’s prestige and demoralize him/her. These harm their self-confidence and lower their self-esteem. So such criticisms shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Constructive criticism can be positive and help in reconstructing your principles, attitudes and personality whereas Destructive criticism can be harmful to self-esteem and confidence. So to deal with criticisms, first we need to identify whether it is constructive or destructive.
TEN WAYS TO DEAL WITH CRITICISMS ARE:
1. Changing your perspective
Criticisms are opinions that most probably are like feedback on our work and behaviour so that we try to make improvements on it. There is nothing to get angry upon on getting criticized, we just need to sometimes change our perspective and try to understand and analyze our own self. Changing our perspective shall endeavour a new quality and enhancement to our personality. We should not take it personal. This way we will be able to handle it wisely.
2. Don’t be defensive
We shouldn’t be too defensive. This shall invite negative reactions and we can get into an argument soon. This way we will not be able to focus on the important points because we’ll be busy in our mind finding ways to defend ourselves. If it is positive, we should gladly accept it and if it’s negative, wisely ignore it without being too defensive.
3.Listen carefully and then interpret
When you listen to the other person carefully, you are able to interpret it correctly and then react. Misinterpretation may lead to chaos in conversation that may lead nowhere to anyone. So we should try to listen and understand his/her opinion on your work or behaviour so that we are able to modify it. If you think critic was right, thank that person for giving you valuable suggestions.
4. Stay Calm
Staying calm is an important and intelligent state of mind since criticisms shouldn’t be allowed to destroy the peace of our mind; its only target should be eliminating the bad influences surrounding our character. Analyze what the critic is trying to say and don’t lose your cool on their tone and try to focus on their content. If it serves you a valuable purpose, take it otherwise give a smile and move away.
5. Address the problem
Criticisms are a way of addressing faults and trying to acknowledge it. So whether you or others are at fault, addressing the problem is a great way of improvement for future. Even if the criticism is negative, it should be taken healthily so that you are able to eliminate those negative values that you carry in your life.
Ignoring can also be a way to deal with criticisms when people criticize you for no valid reasons and they just want to put you down. Sometimes ignoring them and using “move on approach” shall help a great way. This way you will be able to give them back a feedback that they need to change their own opinions about you and this shall also make them realize that they have misunderstood you or your behaviour.
7. Learn from it
Healthy criticisms should always be welcomed. None of us are perfect. The moment we accept it that we all have some flaws; we will be able to welcome criticisms and work hard on it and improve it rather than getting angry or being upset. When criticisms look valid, we all should try to learn from it. We all are critics in our daily life and somewhere or the other, criticisms have helped many people progress in life.
8. Disregard destructive criticism and Stay confident
Criticisms should be evaluated after listening whether they make sense or not. When we understand that critic has made an invalid or irrelevant comment and is just criticizing you out of jealousy or hatred, we shouldn’t entertain it further and try to stop it as soon as possible but gently. Destructive criticism has little to do with improvement and positivity. So we should let it go calmly without indulging ourselves in arguments. Stay confident and strong on your values and who you are, so that destructive criticisms can’t have negative impact on you.
9. Acknowledge your feelings
Acknowledge your feelings towards the criticism made against you. Try to understand how you feel on being criticized by that critic so that you are able to handle it and brush it off if required. When you feel let down or embarrassed, give your opinion on that matter. Let the critic know how you feel so that he/she may correct it or stop it further.
10. Accept it positively
Criticisms should never be taken too personally. The critic has nothing against us personally so whatever he/she is trying to say should be accepted positively if it is valid. This way we shall incorporate positive attitude towards life. When you listen to the critic, you are able to understand his real motives, that is, to bring some improvements in our life. Each day is a new beginning and change is an inevitable part of life so if change is positive, we should accept to change.
Criticism should be nurturing rather than destructing as wisely said by Frank A. Clark –“Criticism, like rain should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying it’s roots”.