How to Deal with Criticism
Are you one of those who feel hurt and gloomy when criticized? Do you often lose sleep over the critical comments you get and brood over them even many days after you receive them? Everyone resents being criticized as it evokes anger, a hurt ego and other emotional reactions.
What is Criticism?
Criticism is the opinion expressed by others on a person’s work usually in a disapproving way. It is comments on a person or his/her work with a view to put him down. Criticism may be political, economic, sociological, ethical or consumerist. In a broad perspective, criticism is of two types, namely positive and negative criticism.
What is Positive Criticism? Positive criticism has an encouraging tone which is positive although it speaks about both merits and demerits of the work in question.
This is viewed as acceptable as this throws light on the aspects where there is some flaw or need for improvement. Also called ‘constructive criticism,’ it gives you an opportunity to do better.
Example of positive criticism: “Your report was great with new insights into the topic. Nonetheless, it lacks in organization as it makes the reader go back and forth through a multitude of data to find the important points discussed. You could have added a crisp summary with a suitable chart or diagram. This could facilitate easy reference at a glance.”
What is Negative Criticism? Negative criticism is the one which highlights faults and may even forge false allegations with an ulterior motive to tarnish the image of the concerned person. This criticism is steeped in enmity and is therefore a negative criticism.
Example of negative criticism: “The report is long and boring. It lacks in sharpness of presentation.”
Why Criticism is Helpful?
Criticism is not only part of life; it is also a motivating factor for getting better. The suggestions or ideas in the harsh feedback might well help you to introspect and improve your creativity. With a matured approach, criticism can be turned into praise.
Criticisms help in Improving — Criticisms with positive input or suggestions can actually help in improving the work as you might have missed a different perspective. Addressing the criticism can lead you to discover new ideas.
Allows you to build Credibility – When you care to reply to the criticism and explain your stand it will send a message that you value other’s opinions. People consider you as a person of credibility.
Criticism can help in Decision Making — Positive feedback may have a few gems that can be of tremendous help in your decision making.
How to deal with Criticism at Work?
Whether in work or any creative pursuit, criticism is inevitable as everyone tries to be the best. However, you can learn how to deal with criticism and use the feedback to your advantage. The most important thing is to rise above hurt and ego so that you are in a positive frame of mind to deal with the criticism in a mature and intelligent manner.
Tips on how to deal with criticism
Consciously cultivated habits can help you in dealing with criticism with ease and poise. Here are some:
1. Keep your self-esteem Realistic
When you have a well-balanced self-esteem it is easier to take criticism in a graceful manner. Thinking too high or too low of oneself can lead to ego problems or depression when faced with criticism.
2. Let Go
Aware that we cannot satisfy the entire world, we should consider the source of the criticism to see if it is meant to help you or trounce you. So take any lesson (if there is) from it and forget it. Don’t allow it to resonate in your mind and undermine your self confidence.
3. Resist the urge to react Immediately
Acting or speaking impulsively can invite more criticism. So it is best to keep your feelings under wraps however provocative the remarks may be as it will give the attacker a chance to feel victorious and encouraged. Instead spend a good amount of time reflecting on it so that you can respond wisely. It takes determination and practice.
In the same example mentioned earlier, you must avoid retorting and listing the flaws in the work of the critic. Stop the negativity with a smile, silence or the words, “Thanks, point taken.”
Most of the criticism can be ignored as it is a waste of time to respond to it.
5. Ask for constructive Criticism
You can ask for informal feedback from people you trust and know will give honest and constructive feedback. All said, if you are the one who is the critic, please remember Shakespeare’s words: “Never play with the feelings of others, because you may win the game but the risk is that you will surely lose the person for a lifetime.”