We at once get defensive when criticized. In order to deal with criticism, it is important to be able to assess ourselves. While a part of our reaction towards criticism is rooted in the way we were treated as child, it is important that as we grow old, we develop our own standards of measuring our value. Not doing so will cause us to easily accept other’s criticism at any given point.   

A typical negative labelling often happens for some in our childhood. “You are dumb”, “You can’t do things properly.”, “whatever you put your hands upon, that is ruined”, “You are dull.” and what not. These sometimes leave strong impressions which make us hard to accept any sort of criticism and start either a cocooning process in case of introverts where they would silently bear and then burst or a volcanic eruption in extroverts who typically revert back vociferously.  

It is generally not easy to deal with criticism until and unless the critique is presented in a constructive format especially by someone for whom you hold good regards. In life however we must develop ourselves to be more receptive of criticism and gradually expand our reach to derive benefits from the same without taking much of offence.  

An important first principle to do a bit away with the negative first impact of a critique is to positively affirm yourself that “to err is Human.” This further transform to making a clear imagery in your mind that we cannot stop others to evaluate and talk about our actions if they are in a public domain. To take things at ease one must also remind self that ‘People have right to voice their opinions.’ 

A bigger aspect of criticism is also dependent on the situation it is arising from. Criticisms from strangers are easy to handle as the mind can be convinced that these add hardly any value in your personal eco system. When the same arises out of your friends, acquaintances and work colleagues then it is important that you evaluate the impact of the same on the basis of importance the other person holds in your life. Thirdly when it arises out of intimate relationships such as that from partners, parents, children and close friends or siblings then you must conscientiously measure the gravity of same based on your years of experience with them. While dealing with criticism is acceptable, boggling self-down with the same is not.     

Always remember that criticism can be useful or useless, valid or invalid, reasonable or unreasonable. It is perfectly up to us to figure out as to how much we would like to take a bite. Some take up criticism too personally and that is where the emotional problems start.  

Next time you are faced with a criticism try these tips for dealing the same:  

  • Is the critic saying something which is a fact or just voicing some opinion. For example: “This report submitted by you does not include essential statistics and summary of the event we are supposed to highlight.” Is something more factual and “I don’t think that jacket color suits you” are an opinion. We typically value other’s opinion at the expense of our own particularly if we have low self-esteem at the given point of time. Remember that it is always better to correct facts then pay a lot of attention to opinion of others.  
  • Acknowledge criticism if you feel it is valid but don’t put yourself down. Acceptance of mistake and reconfirming that the same will be avoided in future is the maximum which can be done. Too much of overthinking on that practically adds no value. Further if the criticism is invalid in your opinion, then it is always better to explicitly make sure that you reject it. 
  • People are often keen to make a blanket statement showcasing you in bad light in general instead of simply reacting and criticizing the situational part. Be clear and responsive in that. Accept what is exactly wrong but do not owe the entire life long blame.  
  • If you feel that somebody who criticized, you are not exactly in the right framework to even put forward that criticism for you than outrightly say “That’s none of your business.” 
  • Build your self-esteem so that you are not battered by any criticism offered from anywhere. Avoid using a condemnatory tone for self-evaluation. The more you use negative phrases for self, the more you will be affected by critics who practically have no value in your life.  
  • Some criticisms can be rewarding. These are actually the ones which come to you in a way of feedback for improvements. Relish them, feel blessed that there are trustworthy people who give them those and work on them for betterment.  
  • One of the dangerous aftereffect of criticism for some individuals is emotional upheaval. This will be the case if you give in to self- deprecation. Do not invite criticism by giving others and channel of you self-badmouthing yourself. 
  • Feeling hurt, disrespected and overwhelmed are typical output when you are receiving criticism. A strong belief in self, courage to accept failures and ability to say “Stop” is something which you must inculcate to handle criticism.