It’s hard to believe that anyone can find taking criticism well, an easy thing to do. Naturally our guards are up, and we want to respond to any negativity by defending ourselves. But criticism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and if you learn how to take it well can actually be hugely beneficial.
There are many ways to receive criticism and the Wall Street Journal provides great advice on how to respond to each situation. But for how to approach criticism in general, these 8 tips should set you up to be able to take it well.
Treat it like a lesson
Often we are unable to see things about ourselves that others see perfectly. It’s only natural to believe that you are right, even when you might not be and this is where criticism comes in handy. Having others tell you potential improvements gives you an insight that you might not be able to see for yourself, setting you up with the perfect opportunity to make any necessary changes.
Don’t take it personally
While the criticism may be directly aimed it at you, it’s important to not take it to heart. More often that not criticism is offered to help you, not to offend and making sure you see it this way can ensure you use it to it’s full potential. Make sure you take on board what was said, but don’t let it effect you too much.
Ask if you unsure
For criticism to be useful you have to understand it, and see it from the perspective of whom you are receiving it from. If you don’t understand what you are doing wrong, you won’t know what you can do to change, making the criticism pretty useless. If someone criticises you and you are confused as to why, then ask. The more you understand why you are being criticised, the more likely you are to be able make positive changes.
Take time to think
Most people find it hard to accept criticism straight away, but often see sense after they have taken time to think it through. To avoid saying something that you may later regret, accept the criticism when you first receive it and allow yourself to consider what was said in a whole new mind-set. Instant reactions to criticism may include anger, denial or frustration but with a clear mind and time to think, it may be that the criticism is completely justified.
Consider the source
How you respond to criticism will depend on who it is that is criticising you. If it is criticism in the workplace, is it by your manager or is it from an equal-level colleague? If it comes from someone within a position of authority it should be handled professionally, and you should definitely consider taking it on board. If it is from a colleague or is in regard to other parts of your lives, such as relationships, it should be approached with a more light-hearted mentality, but still with just as much consideration.
First reactions may be to think of criticism as something you would rather not receive, but you should learn how to view it as helpful, and as a result, be grateful for receiving it. Remain professional and thank whoever is offering you criticism, regardless of any negative feelings that you may have towards it.
Focus on improvements
However you may feel about the criticism, look for any improvements that can be made from it. In all aspects of life, criticism is unavoidable, so it’s important to make the best of it. The chances are you will look back and be grateful, but only if you successfully use what you have learnt to make improvements to you life.
Work out the truth
While criticism should always be welcomed it may not necessarily always be true. Accepting every bit of negativity you receive without any consideration may mean that you could lead to unnecessarily doubt, or cause you to change things about yourself that are perfectly fine the way that they are. Accept criticism when it is justified, but have enough self-confidence to know when you should be true to yourself.