How to Deal with Criticism: Skills and Strategies to Help You Grow
Criticism is a part of life, and as much as we may dislike it, it can be an opportunity for growth and improvement. However, being criticized is not always easy to handle, especially when the criticism is harsh or unwarranted. So, how can we build up our tolerance for criticism and learn from it, even when it seems difficult to swallow? Here are six tips to help you develop the skills and strategies to deal with criticism effectively.
1. Ask for Criticism in Writing
Listening to someone criticize you can be challenging, especially when you have an emotional investment in the situation. Asking for criticism in writing can provide more distance, which can make it easier to digest and evaluate. It can also give you more space to choose when and how to address the criticism later on. Furthermore, asking someone to write out their criticisms requires more effort and thought, which may discourage them from expressing their opinions.
2. Resolve Valid Criticism
Although harsh criticism is never fun to hear, it’s essential to determine if the criticism is valid. If the criticism is unfounded, it’s best to ignore the critique and move on. However, if it’s valid, it’s worthwhile to take corrective action. To determine whether the criticism is valid, seek out objective opinions from third parties, or analyze the feedback using logic or data. Once you’ve determined the validity of the criticism, develop a plan to address the issue effectively.
3. Get Concrete Details
Vague objections are unhelpful if you’re trying to learn from criticism. If someone is criticizing your performance without offering specifics, ask for concrete examples and details to make it easier for you to move forward with improvement. Requesting specific instructions can lead to more constructive feedback and a more productive conversation.
4. Head Your Critics off at the Pass
There are some people who seem to enjoy criticizing others. Identify these individuals, and try to steer the conversation in a different direction to avoid their negative comments. It’s okay to redirect their attention towards things that they enjoy talking about, such as their personal lives or hobbies. However, if their comments are persistent, move the conversation to a more neutral space and try to focus on more positive topics.
5. Recognize That Some People Have Nothing Better to Do
Not everyone who criticizes you has your best interests at heart. Some people may criticize you out of spite, insecurity, or simply to feel superior. In these instances, it’s important to recognize that their motivations are not your responsibility. While you can’t control how they behave, you can control your response. Try to remain calm and composed, listen to their criticisms, and only engage when necessary.
6. Keep Your Emotions out of It
Finally, when faced with criticism, try to remain calm and objective. Responding defensively or emotionally will only prolong the conversation and heighten tension. Approaching criticism with a level head can indicate to the critics that you are open to hearing constructive feedback. Keeping your emotions in check will also allow you to focus on the content of the criticism and leaving the situation with a clear head.
Criticism is not always easy to handle, but it is a crucial part of growth and learning. By asking for criticism in writing, resolving valid criticism, getting concrete details, heading critics off at the pass, recognizing that some people have nothing better to do, and keeping your emotions in check, you can develop the skills and strategies to deal with criticism more effectively. Ultimately, how you respond to criticism will shape your growth and development, so it’s essential to handle it positively and constructively.