Effectively dealing with criticism
How well do you deal with criticism? Can you face it? Do you fight it? Criticism is everywhere, said by everyone and the truth is, we can’t really avoid it or control it. We can’t switch it off, we can’t influence it, but the only thing what we can...
How well do you deal with criticism? Can you face it? Do you fight it?
Criticism is everywhere, said by everyone and the truth is, we can’t really avoid it or control it. We can’t switch it off, we can’t influence it, but the only thing what we can do is to deal with it effectively. So, how well you deal with criticism?
What really happens when you receive critical comments from others, about your performance at work, your project, maybe even your new shoes or hairstyle? What is your reaction? Does it even bother you? Does it matter?
I think it does because very often this negative opinion about someone or something can stick and impact us in a negative way without even realising it.
There is a huge difference between criticism and constructive feedback. Constructive feedback is actually something we should be grateful for, because it gives us something to work on, without putting us down. If given properly, it allows us to analyse, reflect and understand where we went wrong, or how can we improve things. It is genuine and it is good for us so that we can learn, experience and grow.
Over the past years, I was practising giving constructive feedback, and I must admit that at the beginning it was not as smooth as expected. With a few weeks of practice, it really worked well, and I found it helpful in negotiations at work, during business meetings, or even socialising with my highly opinionated friends. But, let’s focus on management. So what can we do to manage it better? How should we react in such situations?
Firstly, we need to understand the situation. We need to be aware of the moment that it is only someone else’s disapproval to what we do, say, or think. It is driven by many micro-elements and it is super subjective. Therefore we don’t need to be offended, sad or disheartened, only because someone else has a different piece of information, knowledge, life experience or believes. Usually, we very rarely know the whole ‘story’, so in a moment it is easy to grab some piece of information and twist it, so it can align our subjective opinion on something.
Secondly, once you hear it, you can say: ’thanks for your opinion, shall we move on?”. This is an actual acknowledgement of the fact that you hear this person, but at the same time, you are not sticking to that idea or principle.
The third thing you can just ‘smile’. If someone will give you harsh criticism, you can just say: “ Thanks, but I don’t agree and just smile”. Because when you do that, the person who gave you criticism is in shock as this is the reaction they have not excepted, so you are surprising them with this reaction and it works like magic!
Life is beautiful, and we can manage our time better if we know-how. We do not need to buy into everything which our childhood taught us, as we can just be ourselves and by allowing more positivity and a better outlook on the present moment, we can navigate the harshest of criticisms.
The more unique you are, or different things you do, the more likely you will hear their negative perception and critique from others. The more exposure you get, the more opinions you will receive. However, the most important questions are: Does it matter to you? It is worth bothering yourself with this kind of stuff? Where does it get you?
My favourite quote on this topic is from Daisaku Ikeda, who said:
“It is much more valuable to look for strength in others.
You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections”
Try to implement this in your life and ignore the critics, as it’s only their subjective opinion.
But, if in any case there is someone who constantly says to you negative stuff, like a broken record, then try to say: “ Thanks for sharing, can we please move one?” That will guarantee your success as it will free your thoughts in seconds so that you can focus on the stuff, which really matters to you, which are positive and worthwhile and could change your life for the better.
“The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better”