Do you struggle with receiving feedback (criticism) from your boss, your parents, teachers or your friends?? You’re not the only one. Millions of people have trouble taking criticism. Criticism is never fun, whether it’s coming from your close friends, family or loved ones. If the criticism is meant to be constructive, then you can use it to become a better-rounded person. However, if it’s only meant to harm you, then you can work on shaking it off like a bad habit.
You many or may not agree that being able to take criticism is an important tool for personal and career growth. To learn how to receive constructive feedback and incorporate useful suggestions into your life please read this post carefully and follow the following steps.
- Know the difference between Destructive and Constructive Criticism: This is the first step to being able to deal with criticism. You have to know where the feedback is coming from and understand the intentions of the person who is giving it to you. Try to focus on the message as well as the style of delivery.
If it’s a teacher or a superior, then chances are the person only wants you to perform better. But when it’s coming from a supposed friend, or an enemy, then you have to think about it. If you’re sure that the criticism is completely invalid, totally off, and only meant to hurt you, then just ignore it.
Constructive criticism is, ideally, meant to help you. Destructive criticism is only intended to cause hurt.
- Listen to the entire message before speaking: Listen to what is being said without thinking your reply in your head while it is being delivered. Practice listening by not arguing or fighting about what is being said. The point is to turn that suggestion inward to learn from it, not to start an argument. By taking your defensive reaction out of the equation you are giving yourself more time and energy to connect with the person speaking and apply what you hear.
A sincere delivery adds credibility to what was said and also works to create a supportive relationship.
- Don’t take it personally: If you really want to know how to deal with criticism, then you can’t take it personally. If your boss says you’ve been a little less productive than usual lately, it’s not because he thinks you’re fat and lazy; it’s because he wants you, his employee, to do the job better.
If your teacher has given you rather critical feedback on a paper, it’s not because she thinks you’re stupid or annoying in class; it’s because she thinks you have some work to do when it comes to making an argument.
- Accept that you’re not perfect: This is a great way to deal with criticism. If you want to be able to take a little bit of feedback, then you can understand nobody is perfect. So, if you think you’re perfect, then you’re nobody.
Every person has flaws, and if you don’t see any of yours, then you’re not analyzing yourself as closely as you should. Think about all of the people you know. Can you name a single perfect person who isn’t a movie star? Remember that even most movie stars have some flaws.
- Consider your relationship with the person: Even if you don’t like what you are hearing, the relationship with the person can help you determine whether they are saying it to hurt you or help you. Is this your close friend or an enemy? Is the feedback coming from your boss or a competing co-worker? The source can tell you about how much weight the criticism holds.
Also consider- Is the feedback coming from someone who always seems to have something to say about everything? In that case the input may be ignored.
Sometimes people say things in front of other people just because they have an audience and they may not even mean what was said.
- Get a second opinion: Do others agree that you need to work on this area? Ask someone you trust before you go making changes based on unhelpful feedback. If the criticism is actually constructive, chances are there will be others who have noticed the same issue. Opening up and asking for suggestions may start a conversation with the people you ask for a second opinion that leads to further growth.
- Take positive criticism as an advice: Get advice from others about how you can improve in the specified area. A good way to grow personally and professionally is through mentorship. If you can, find a person who is good in the area in which you are not good. Ask the person if he or she is willing to give you some guidance in the area or allow you to shadow them.
For instance, you might get some feedback on your speaking style (Public Speaking). You can ask a friend or a teacher to improve your speaking style.
- Take action on making these changes: Listening positive advice is not enough. You have to take some actions. Follow the positive advices and see the changes all the way through. This will build confidence and you will able to start the process of being a better person using constructive criticism for positive change.
- Work on being less sensitive: If you always find yourself crying, getting defensive, and feeling generally upset when someone gives you what was supposed to be helpful feedback, then you have to Control your emotions. You don’t have to tear up every time someone says a negative word.
Work on accepting your flaws and being able to hear about some areas where you can improve. Try to focus on the message and its intention to help you instead of focusing on all of the “mean” or “hurtful” things that were said to you.
- Thank the person for being honest (and kind also): If you have received some criticism that was delivered in a friendly and helpful way, or just in a way that was meant to be honest and clear, then take the time to thank the person and to say that you appreciate the fact that the person told you something that can make you an even better friend, girlfriend, student or professional.
Thanking people who give you honest criticism is also a sign of maturity.
- Stop making excuses: If someone is giving you constructive and valid criticism, stop making excuses especially if you know that there is some truth to what he or she is saying. If you get defensive and make excuses, then the person won’t be able to finish telling you exactly what he or she means, and you won’t get the information you need to really improve. It’s natural that we feel defensive and get the feeling that we can do no wrong. It takes maturity to stay quiet instead of making excuses for why the person is wrong when you’re getting valid feedback.
If your teacher says you need to work harder, don’t give her lame excuse for why you’ve been seek or anything else. Instead, note the feedback and try to address it.
- Remember that constructive criticism can make you a better person: It’s tough to deal with even the most well-meaning criticism, especially if you’re convinced you’re perfect and that you can do no wrong. But if you’re so invested in being an awesome person, then remind yourself that being aware of your flaws and shortcomings and making a plan for addressing them will make you an even more amazing person.
- Understand the person’s true motives: If you have recognized the criticism as completely destructive and hurtful, then you can think about why the person might have said such a thing. Put yourself in the person’s shoes. Understand where he is really coming from. Though the words will still sting, it might make you feel better. If your coworker yelled at you for no reason, but you remember that he is going through a divorce, then you’ll start to be a bit more understanding, won’t you?
- Stay confident: The most important thing you can do is maintain your confidence level. No matter what people are saying about you, you have to stay strong, remember who you are and not let other people influence on your own self-worth. Being confident doesn’t mean thinking that you’re flawless, but it does mean loving who you are and how you look. Being confident also means accepting the things you cannot change about yourself. If you’re truly confident, then you won’t let haters get you down and make you think less of yourself.
Hanging out with people who make you feel good about yourself will also go a long way in making you feel more confident and good about yourself.
Follow these 14 steps to deal with criticism and accept positive criticism. Always remember-
If the criticism is constructive, then it’s intended to guide you and to help you improve as a person, not to bring you down and make you feel inadequate.
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