We have all gotten some form of criticism at one point or another: from parents, friends, teachers, bosses – you know what I mean. We can also all agree that it can be quite tough to swallow, sometimes. To hear what you did or are doing wrong can be, well – rough. But it is not the end of the world, I promise.
First things first:
Learn the Difference between an Insult and Constructive Criticism (and act accordingly)
First off, always remember that there is a difference between constructive criticism and a plain old diss. Constructive criticism is geared towards what you could conceivably work on, and is not a judgment on your overall character. Criticism, on the other hand, is a negative comment with little to no detail on how you could hope to improve this so-called flaw. Sometimes, though, these things can get a bit murky – a negative nelly might be taking shots at you under the guise of friendly honesty. Be on the lookout! Constructive criticism is worth the listen but insults should almost always be dismissed. (Keywords: “almost always”) Protip: Don’t fall for personal attacks that masquerade as helpful tips – ill-intentioned advice can be a useless mood-killer in disguise, and is not worth your time, sanity or sleep.
Don’t Take it Personally
If a person is giving you honest, constructive feedback, while it might feel that way initially, objectively speaking, they should not be making personal value judgment on your character. Personal attacks do not beget personal development, remember that. If someone has legitimate concerns about a certain aspect of your work, behavior, or anything else and takes the time to let you know about it in a constructive way, it almost certainly is not because they think you are the cruddiest human being that has ever disgraced the planet. If that was the case, they would not be offering suggestions for improvement, would they?
Keep an Open Mind
No one is self-aware all the time, unless your life is spent in a paranormal out-of-body experience. (If that’s the case, please see someone about that! Unless, of course, paranormal experiences are your style.) People might interpret your words and actions in a way that you may never expect – and you may be surprised who may see it their way. Keep your ears (and brain!) open to a person’s suggestions, as one of the most admirable qualities somebody can have is to realize that they can always improve themselves.
When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them. –Confucius
Be Willing to Learn
You may be thinking, “Jeez – I’ve already listened to this girl ramble about keeping an open mind, and now she is talking about learning stuff – can she not repeat herself?!”
But surprise (!) there’s more!
Not every suggestion deserves to be put into action, regardless of how sincere a person may be in their criticism. On the other hand, all suggestions deserve some degree of consideration, no matter how outlandish they may seem initially.
You certainly are not a failure for not being perfect, and it definitely is not a sign of weakness to grow from other people’s suggestions. Of course, you cannot take EVERY bit of advice to heart, because you would not be you anymore. The key is to find the middle ground between using the ideas of others to make yourself an even more fantastic person, while managing to keep intact that unique something what makes you a marvelous star burst in a human shape!
“People have to face regrets.
Becoming mature means learning to accept what you cannot change,
facing unresolved sorrows
and learning to love life as it really happens, not as you would have it happen.
When someone attaches unkindness to criticism, he/she’s angry.
Angry people need to criticize as an outlet for their anger.
That’s why you must reject unkind criticism.
Unkind criticism is never part of a meaningful critique of you.
Its purpose is not to teach or to help, its purpose is to punish.
Life isn’t supposed to be an all or nothing battle between misery and bliss.
Life isn’t supposed to be a battle at all.
And when it comes to happiness, well,
sometimes life is just okay,
sometimes it’s comfortable,
When your day’s not perfect, it’s not a failure or a terrible loss.
It’s just another day.”
~ Barbara Sher