Do you tend to bristle or get defensive when being criticized? You are not alone. No one likes to be judged or feel like they can't do any better. However, constructive criticism can be a useful tool to ensure you gain valuable skills. Skills needed to achieve your goals and find your success. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to better cope and handle criticism.
Here’s four to get you started…
Listen Before You Speak or Act
You can easily misunderstand people if you allow your emotions to take over, without fully listening to the other person. Initially, criticism doesn't feel good, and all you want to do is make excuses or run the other way, instead of listening through your positive filter. When your emotions cloud your judgment, you don’t think as clearly or rationally.
Try not to think about what you feel in the moment or want to say. Focus on what others say, instead. Ask them to repeat it. Be clear you understand them and their message first. Then develop a response or say thank you. Just because someone provides criticism doesn't mean it's negative, automatically right, or require justification or a thorough response from you.
Reflect and Dissect It
For a moment, take in what the person said and identify it. Is it constructive or destructive criticism? Does this person often have your back? Are they right? Do you believe in your abilities? Not every criticism is honest, accurate, or worth your time. And learning to identify this is key.
Find and Assume the Positive
Always assume what people are telling you or saying is positive. Let them be the ones to correct you. If they are not giving you criticism with the intention of betterment in some way, then you know for sure their true intentions are not to help you anyway. Therefore, their criticism is a waste of your time to even think about it for one moment.
While you want to assume the positive, never assume you know everything nor act like it. If you are confused by their feedback, ask questions to clarify. This way, you have a moment to dissect the feedback and ensure it's beneficial for your time. Take this moment to ask them for examples or ideas to understand further. Even if you disagree with their criticism, it provides you an excellent opportunity to learn and gain a different perspective.
However, here’s the most important point of this article, stop giving other people's opinions too much weight or importance, especially if you clearly see there is a bias. While criticism can provide value, it shouldn't prevent you from being yourself or cause fear. Train yourself to focus only on the value you receive.