It’s hard to feel warm and fuzzy inside when our latest Instagram post receives a measly two likes, let alone when our boss gives us negative feedback on a project. But to succeed in life, both personally and professionally, it’s important to take criticism in stride. Being able to hear people’s opinions can improve our relationships, academic performance, and job satisfaction
Hurtful or Helpful?
Criticism is a term for judgment or evaluation, good or bad. And it can pop up everywhere: from college papers, to personal blogs, to family get-togethers, and chats with friends. (Your new haircut does not suit your face shape. But have a great date!) There are lots of reasons why people offer criticism, like feeling jealous or insecure in a romantic relationship (You always forget to call!). At work, organization leaders may also use criticism to help employees improve their work—and make them tremble before approaching the boss’s office. But not all criticism is bad news bears.
Constructive criticism—offering thoughtful feedback—can help us gain valuable insight into our actions and increase trust between people
Your Action Plan
Being sensitive to criticism can be a sticky situation. Sometimes people may even stop working toward a goal out of fear of being critiqued. But don’t give in to those worries about potential critiques. Here are some helpful tips to handle any kind of criticism that heads our way:
Figure out whether the criticism is constructive or simply rude. You may feel hurt when your partner says you’re controlling, but having him point out this flaw may help you change and ultimately save the relationship. If criticism could be helpful, lend all ears and try to learn from it instead of getting defensive.
Be respectful no matter what, and thank someone if the feedback is useful
Don’t take it personally.
Try to remove yourself from the situation and focus on what’s being critiqued. That C+ midterm doesn’t reflect your A+ personality! Instead, it’s a reminder to study a little harder next time, skip all that partying the night before, or realize that calculus simply isn’t your biggest strength.
When we’re constantly on edge, we can feel out of control and unable to respond to criticism with a clear head. So take a deeeep breath to keep those stress levels in check.
Keep on keepin on’.
Remember that the criticism represents just one person’s point of view. Know what your strengths are and don’t let other people’s opinions keep you from working hard towards a goal. If somebody says you’re too short to be a power forward, start working on that jump shot!