Personal Growth

Criticism Is Not Always Meant to Be Negative

Do you struggle to handle criticism?

While some criticism does come from a negative place, most of the time it is meant with love and good intentions. Unfortunately, even if the person criticizing you is coming from a good place, it can still hurt.

If you struggle to handle criticism, here we’ll look at why it isn’t always a negative thing. 

Differentiating Between Negative and Positive Criticism

There are a few ways to determine whether criticism is coming from a positive or negative place. It could be that you naturally respond badly to criticism of any kind. Many people are naturally defensive when they are met with criticism. So, the first step is to tame that initial negative reaction. 

Try and view the criticism with an open mind. Remember, none of us are perfect! Could there be any truth in what the person is saying? Also pay attention to how the criticism is delivered. Do they give a reason for their feedback, or does it appear that they are nit-picking just to be difficult?

Criticism can come from a negative place, but often it is said to help us improve. Being able to recognize when somebody is being helpful, or just negative, is important.

The Role of Self-Esteem 

Your self-esteem will largely determine how you react to criticism. The more confident you are, the less likely criticism is to affect you. Those who have a healthy dose of self-esteem will be able to learn from any criticism they receive without taking it too personally. 

Think about your own self-esteem. Could it use some improvement? If so, focus on ways to build up your self-esteem and you’ll notice this has a direct impact on your ability to handle criticism. You’ll find a lot of awesome self-esteem building tips online. 

Top Tips to Deal with People Who Criticize Instead of Critique

We’ve all been criticized when what we needed was an honest critique, with positive and negative points. As you work on building up your self-esteem, there are some other tips you can implement to deal with overly critical or negative people. 

Staying calm is important. You may find when you are met with criticism, your initial reaction is anger. However, if you express anger, it isn’t going to help the situation. In fact, it could work in your critic’s favor! Remaining calm gives, you the ability to fully understand where the criticism is coming from and enables you to deal with it much better.

If the problems are coming from your boss, try and get to the bottom of where the feedback is coming from. If you feel it is still unjust, ask to speak to somebody higher up in the company. Sometimes we need an outsiders view to see what is really happening.

Overall, criticism is never nice to deal with. However, it isn’t always meant as a negative. Some criticism can help you to grow and become a better person. So, don’t be quick to dismiss any criticism thrown your way. Think about it with an open mind and decide whether there is something to be learned.

Personal Growth Resilience

5 Steps For Handling Constructive Criticism

Wise people have learned how to handle criticism. They view and handle it like any other feedback, with a calm and judicious attitude. They try and see how they can use it to get ahead and meet their goals.

Many people, however; find it hard not to react defensively or angrily. There is a tendency in human nature to launch a counterattack so as to shift the blame to the critic. Unfortunately that behaviour often inflames the situation, and it certainly does not help you get ahead or win you any friends.

Criticism is a fact of life, and the sooner you learn to handle it positively, the better you can use that feedback for your own success. 

#1 Before you React – Stop!

You will feel the reaction in your body before you can get the words out. And that is where you must stop. Don’t do anything, just breathe…. and take a moment to calm your defences. It’s more than likely the other person won’t even notice, and it will give you time to compose yourself.

#2 Remind Yourself that This is Feedback

Your composure time gives you a chance to remember that this criticism is an opportunity to learn something, possibly something valuable. Say to yourself, “This is not personal,” and repeat it as often as you need to until your initial reaction has passed. 

#3 Practice Your Active Listening

Feedback time is a time to listen, it is not a time to talk. Try to understand what the other person is saying. Maybe it’s an aspect of your project or goal that you haven’t thought of yet. What initially feels like criticism may offer valuable insight. 

Repeat back what you heard and seek clarification if you need to. This is not a time to analyze or push back, it’s a time to understand precisely what is being said. 

#4 Thank Your Critic

Even if it makes you cringe inside, say thank you for the feedback. You don’t have to agree with what they’ve said to be sincerely appreciative of the input. And remember, they took the time and made the effort to give you some advice that they thought my help you in the future.

#5 Process the Feedback

You may need some time to do this, or you might be able to do it on the spot. If your emotions are running high, it’s probably better to take a break and come back to deal with what has been said. Otherwise, it’s fine to ask questions to clarify the feedback, and maybe seek their suggestions on how to move forward. 

Learning to handle and cope with constructive feedback and criticism is a really important skill, and once you learn it you will view feedback in an entirely manner. You’ll be glad you learned it sooner rather than later.