It’s easy for a lot of us to see criticism as a bad thing. It can take the manifestation of someone judging us, not seeing the entire picture, and voicing an opinion.
It can be easy for me to tell you to not take it to heart and move on. I can tell you to not think about other peoples opinions and to be rebellious.
But not all criticism is baseless. Not all criticism is from a place of hate or unawareness.
Criticism can stem from clear understanding. It can come from a place of guidance.
Being on the defensive all the time with criticism isn’t the answer. Instead, it’s important to deal with it in a healthy manner. No matter where it’s come from, consider these steps on how you can handle criticism.
Look At The Intention
Sometimes the best criticism can stem from someone you have never met before or know very little about. True, this person doesn’t know everything about you, but that’s not really a reason to ignore their advice.
After all, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t open to receiving pointers or tips from a complete stranger.
Instead, take the time to look at the persons intention. Why are they telling you these specific words?
They may not have the entire context, but when it comes to criticism they could be imparting lessons. Even ones that may not seem like it at all.
The reality of criticism is that while we have no control over what others say, we do have control over how we internalize, respond, learn, and release it. So take the time to look at the intention behind the words. This helps you in determining whether you should consider piecing this more or move on.
Consider The View Point And Lessons
There is always meaning behind our words. Once you figure out generally what the intention of the message is, we can then start to narrow in more. Are there any truths we can extract from those words?
This is difficult to do as we don’t always take the time to honestly look at ourselves and who we are. Let alone who we wish to become. We tend to stick to our own bubbles and it can be difficult for our mindsets to adjust to new ideas.
The next step will help in bursting that bubble, but for the time being, finding reasons to dig further in is what you need to do. This can be in the form of a legit perspective that you associate with or a lesson you can grow from.
Actively Listen And Look For Deeper Reasons
A few months ago I remember conversing with someone about self-publishing and in the end, the person I was talking with gave up in explaining and offering guidance to me.
While I considered it strange, I don’t think it helped that I gave him the impression I was being defensive – even though my intentions were wholly open.
The point is I wasn’t actively listening. I was more focused on defending and explaining myself rather than expressing my curiosity for more knowledge.
Even online, actively reading and considering the words written is crucial for us. After all, each criticism isn’t always an attack on our character. We can always change and grow and when people reach out, it’s important to listen.
As I’ve mentioned already, there are lessons in everything, even in cases where criticism can feel like an attack. Yes, criticism is discomforting, but it can lead to us developing problem-solving skills and looking at things from a different angle.
We don’t know until we open up and actually listen.
With All This Information, Determine How And If You’ll Internalize It
Information is information and what we do with it shapes us moving forward. Criticism can sometimes help in changing our ways about certain things in our lives. Take that conversation I explained in the last point.
While I botched it, I still learned from it. It’s a reminder for me to open my ears and listen more to comments.
On top of that, taking criticism can challenge our people-pleasing tendencies. Having relationships solely based on other peoples approval can be toxic for a variety of reasons. Again, this isn’t to say we should reject every comment about us, but to remind ourselves that how we internalize information should be on our terms and in our own way.
Handle Criticism Like This, And Your Life Will Be Better
Not all criticism is bad. It’s natural for us to be defensive and hurt by any kind of advice. However, I’d argue it’s well worth it to consider these steps and use it to handle criticism.
Criticism is helpful, it’s all a matter of how we use it.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon