What would you prefer – to hear you have beautiful hair or that you’re a horrible lover? It’s easy to accept compliments, but the same cannot be said about criticism.
However, criticism can be something you can use to your advantage to reach success in the long term.
Disapproval is nothing different than advice in disguise. How you handle it, is what counts ‒ you can choose to make the best of it, or you can decide to ignore it.
But keep in mind ‒ not all criticism is always accurate, well-intended or beneficial.
When you do get criticized, use it to your advantage:
- Get a different perspective. We naturally love to hear compliments and shy away from criticism. While compliments feel good, they don’t accomplish much else. Criticism can sting, but can ultimately be extremely helpful. Learn to appreciate criticism. You might even consider seeking out criticism as a tool for learning and self-development.
- Decide if the disapproval is positive or negative. Destructive criticism can be ignored. The other person is the issue when criticism is intended to cause harm. Constructive criticism has the potential to be helpful. Consider the source and the situation before deciding on the intention of the criticizer.
- Take it on the chin and learn from it. No one enjoys hearing about their shortcomings or errors. However, criticism can be a gift. Maybe you’re learning something that would have taken years to figure out on your own. Leave your ego at the door and listen. No one is perfect.
- Don’t rush. There’s a tendency to respond quickly and negatively to criticism. You might have the right to be upset, but then again, you might not. Take the time to think about it before responding. If possible, sleep on it or take the weekend.
- Be empathetic to yourself. Just because you may have done something the wrong way doesn’t mean you’re less valuable as a person. Give yourself a break. Handling criticism well is one way to show yourself that you really do stand above the crowd.
- Few people can take criticism well. You’ll have a big advantage over others if you can.
- Is it on the money? When criticism comes from the right source, it’s likely to be helpful and true. Be objective and determine if there is truth to the criticism. Sometimes people are operating from false impressions. Not all criticism is valid. It’s up to you to determine if the criticism has any value.
- Look in the mirror. Now you know that you can be impatient, cheap, distant, or that you’re a bad driver. Make a plan to address this issue if it’s important to you. Remember that if a trusted source was willing to bring it up, it might be important. Give it the attention it deserves.
- Make a decision to improve next time. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to put your new knowledge to the test. Bide your time until that opportunity arrives. This attitude can do wonders for your self-esteem and feeling a sense of control over your life. Just keep trying to improve. There’s always tomorrow to try again.
- Always be grateful. It’s not easy to give constructive criticism to a friend, employee, or family member. Be thankful that someone was willing to do that for you.
When someone criticizes you for doing something they do not agree with, you can choose how to react ‒ get angry or become thoughtful? Some people only criticize to be spiteful and hurt you, and should be ignored.
But constructive criticism from a trusted source can be a great way to learn how to improve. Keep in mind whether the criticism is honest, truthful and rational before reacting to it.
You should always be grateful for any constructive criticism coming your way. Remember – it wasn’t easy for that person to provide it.