4 Ways To Deal With Criticism That’s Hard To Hear


The more successful you become, the more open you are to criticism because success usually comes from being more visible. But criticism doesn’t have to be something to be afraid of, because when handled effectively, it can actually be a killer tool to drive you further. So here are some tips on how to deal with criticism to make it your fuel for success.

Take it as a sign people are listening

Whilst criticism may have negative undertones, it’s definitely a sign that you’re doing something different, that you’re standing out and that you’ve said something that stirs emotion inside others. Whether they agree with you or not, receiving criticism shows you that you’re actually doing something worthy of  commenting on; that people are actually talking or thinking about you. Anyone who doesn’t get criticised is probably not doing anything interesting enough to be worth talking about and that’s no recipe for success.

Learn to distinguish criticism from feedback

Whereas criticism tends to be negative and personal, feedback is objective information which can be both positive and negative. Negative feedback can be confused with criticism because both deal with things to be improved and are often hard to hear. The difference is usually the intention of the person giving it to you. Listen to what’s being said – are they trying to help you? If it’s a yes then this is probably negative feedback just not delivered in the best way. Feedback, both positive and negative, is information used as a basis for improvement and without it, you cannot move forward. So forgive the messenger for the way they’ve said it (remember, giving feedback is sometimes harder than receiving it) and listen up with an open mind.

Don’t react, respond instead

It isn’t always easy not to take it personally, after all criticism is personal. Yet, whilst criticism might get you a little heated, firing off in return is likely to make it worse. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from and why they may have said it.

Explore it further if you need to; get curious and ask questions to understand more. Exploring criticism from a place of curiosity, and not defensiveness, will be much more effective because the curious part of you tends to be much softer and more open than the defensive part of you. If you need to, take some time before you come back to discuss it because the more distance you can get from it, the more likely you are to respond in controlled and productive manner.

Be selective about what you take on board

Whether it’s criticism or negative feedback, just because someone has said it, it doesn’t mean you have to take it on board. Whilst it may be true for them, that’s their perception and way they see the world from where they are standing. Listen to what is being said, understand their intention and then decide if it’s valuable information for you or not. Take only what is valuable and let go of the rest, even if this takes some time.

Remember that criticism doesn’t always come from others but also from within yourself so if you often find yourself battling with your inner critic then apply these rules as well. Don’t forget to check out our latest article where CGD Editor Beth tells us how she got flawless skin in under a week!

Get the look:
+ Iris v Arnim Edington Sweater
+ Iris v Arnim Edington Leather Trousers Dixon Jeans
+ Ganni Striped Cashmere Jumper 
+ Ganni Long Sleeve Classic Jumper 
+ 7 For All Mankind Suede Skinny Jeans


Looking for a way to spoil yourself this autumn? Enter our giveaway to win a beauty goody bag worth over $300 and get some of our favourite must-haves and luxury products!

Credit Photo: Majawyh.com

Written by Hayley Wintermantle.

  • Camille Beygui

    Such a great inspirational post



  • Pingback: Mixed Tape: Pineapples, Drinks and Wanderlust | Vivian Vette()

  • Sandhya’s Kitchen

    Truly an inspirational and informative post. Thank you .

  • Good Health Reports

    Very good advice. Criticism is very hard to deal with sometimes.

  • rae

    Great post – agree with all the advice given here!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

  • Pingback: 5 Things To Remember When You're Afraid Of Being Judged - Career Girl Daily()

  • Anthea

    Great advice! Thank you for providing those practical suggestions which I cannot agree more!


  • Emily Trinh

    I used to never be able to take criticism which is why I hated showing anyone my creative writing work. But I learnt that constructive criticism – keyword being on constructive – can really help improve my work and help me grow and develop my skills as a creative writer.

    Emily | Always Emily | Bloglovin’

  • Sarah J

    Really good article! I’ve found myself getting better with time accepting criticism. It’s not that I can’t take it. I just tend to overthink.

    Sarah | http://carrymetwo.com/

Get On The LIST



Join the CGD team for all things fashion, beauty, career and everything us CGD girls are up to!