Being able to listen to people’s criticism can help improve professional and personal achievements, it can help us become a better version of ourselves. Criticism is as essential as appreciation. While constructive criticism can help us get better at things, negative criticism can adversely affect our self confidence. The key is to identify the kind of criticism and then deal with it appropriately.
There are three types of criticism and so three ways to deal with it.
Constructive Criticism: This is the best form of criticism and can helps us become a better person, altogether. When your boss says, “You know, you are good with planning and strategizing but you need to work on your people’s skill.”, the idea is to help you identify how you can make your performance better by changing a few things.
This is constructive criticism. The intention behind constructive criticism is to make things better. So, always let it in.
So, whenever someone around you gives a feedback that you can actually utilise to enhance your skills and performance, do take it seriously. Criticism in its right form can change your life for better.
Negative Criticism: Whenever there will be negative criticism, there is a possibility that it has come out because of self loathing. People who always criticise no matter what you do with statements like, ‘Why are you even wasting your time on it?’, ‘I don’t think this is your strength.’ in the name of giving “honest opinion” are basically unhappy with their own lives.
Anyone who is not satisfied with his/her own life/career/personal relationship will always be seen giving you “honest opinions” all the damn time.
Never get defensive with a person who has all the negative things to say. If they say really mean things, just tell yourself that “This person is having a really bad day and it has nothing to do about me.” Ignore and move on. Simply don’t let it in.
Self Criticism: This is often the most difficult to deal with because we are fighting with our own self; but once we learn to deal with self criticism we can actually do wonders.
We often find ourselves self criticising our own actions or achievements. ‘I don’t think I will be able to handle’ ‘God it is too difficult for me’, ‘I won’t ever be able to finish the project.’ ‘What will people think about me?’, ‘I don’t think people around me will approve.’ ‘I should have done that.’ or ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ – These are some of the statements we end up saying to ourselves.
We get too hard on ourselves and don’t even realise that we are sliding down the slippery slope of self loathing.
While dealing with self criticism, there is one simple thing to do – become your own cheerleader. Yes, always, always tell positive things to yourself. ‘I can do it’, ‘I have worked very hard for it and I am well prepared’ or ‘I am just a human, I can make mistakes and still carry on, one little set back isn’t going to stop me.’
You remember how our parents or teachers motivated us when we were little and learning new things. Become your own teacher, your cheer leader and motivate yourself. Already the entire world is judging at least you can be your best friend.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Criticism is critical for growth and so we have to learn to take it the right way and use it to our benefit. I try and identify, whether the source is criticism is concern, love or jealousy. In fact, no matter what kind of comments I get, I simply smile, nod my head and agree. It is later during the day when I filter all the comments that I get. Some obviously help me improve and the rest go in the trash.
Swati Shrivastav, Founder and Editor