The Best Way to Handle Criticism

The Best Way to Handle Criticism | Photo by Monstera

HSSS | The Best Way to Handle Criticism | “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing” said Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher.  Many of us may undoubtedly relate to the words of being misunderstood or unfairly judged in a lot of our day-to-day endeavors.

We all have to face criticism at some point in our lives. Part of developing as a mature person is learning how to handle criticism and negative feedback from others.  Most of the time, we become defensive in response to criticism as an effort to shield ourselves from the pain of being wronged. Just like we protect our physical well-being by raising our arms, our tendency is to protect our emotional and mental well-being by adopting a defensive stance.

Learning to deal with negative feedback is a sign of self-growth. If we don’t take responsibility for our actions, we might resort to aggression as a way of looking for someone else to blame for the issue so that we may diffuse the blame and lessen the impact of our own actions.

So how can we turn criticisms against us into a tool for growth and maturity?

  1. Do not react immediately.  Consider any feedback as a chance to improve on yourself, rather than as a personal attack.
  2. A lot of the resentment that develops in response to criticism has the potential to become a grudge towards the person who delivered it. Make an earnest attempt to forgive the critic and try to collaborate together to find a compromise that satisfies you both.
  3. Try to collect your thoughts before responding defensively to criticism. Acknowledge their input and assure them you will think about what they said and return at a later time to continue the conversation. This strategy will give you both time to gather yourself and come back to the conversation after your emotions have settled.
  4. Carefully analyze the feedback and determine if it is fair. If it is, look for ways to stop it from happening again, and if it isn’t, reject it in a level-headed manner, ideally with facts.
  5. Once you have learned from it, let it go and stop thinking about the negative comment. One criticism does not define you.

“The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment,” says the American writer Elbert Hubbard.  We cannot escape negative feedback and criticism in our lives, but our response to these will determine how well we can handle ourselves and grow from every experience.

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