Criticism, whether directed at you, your work or even someone else’s work, can be hard to deal with. It can feel like a personal attack, especially when it’s not warranted. However, if handled in the right manner criticism can be constructive and beneficial.
What is criticism?
Criticism is a term derived from a Greek word “krino” meaning “to judge” and “krites” meaning “a judge or jury person”. In other words, it is the expression of disapproval of someone, or something based on perceived faults or mistakes and can come from any source.
Your initial response to criticism could be one of two things: either you're going to get defensive or you're going to accept what your critic has said and work on improving.
Criticism can be positive or negative. Constructive criticism in the form of advice allows more room for improvement. It can guide a person away from bad practices towards good ones. Destructive criticism is demotivating and can discourage one. However, criticism provides most honest feedback.
Steps to handle the Criticism ?
It can be a tough pill to swallow. It's easy to become defensive or angry when someone tells you that your work isn't good enough and that it needs improvement. However, if you can learn to put aside your ego and use that criticism (even the harsh one) to get better you have a powerful tool that helps you move forward and help you improve in your personal and professional life.
Dealing with criticism positively is an important life skill you can have. Positive criticism can be used to improve oneself and Negative criticism can lower your self-esteem.
1. Dealing With Your Initial Response to Criticism
Your initial response to criticism is the most important part of the process. If you can't handle it well, there's no point in moving on to anything else. There are two ways to deal with your initial response.
The first is to take a break and come back to the criticism. You might be able to handle it better at a different time.
The second way is to write down exactly what you're feeling when you read your critic's words, and then answer those feelings with logic and reason before proceeding with your response.
2. Following Up on Your Initial Response
After you've had time to process, come up with an appropriate response and follow through on it. Make sure that your response is respectful to the other person and doesn't make them feel attacked or unimportant in any way.
Once you've done whatever work is necessary—whether that means taking a break or writing down your feelings—you should follow up on your initial response by taking action.
If someone has given you feedback on something you wrote, for example, make sure that you incorporate their suggestions into your next draft. Even if they don't explicitly say "do this," just knowing how they feel about what they read will help inform how you move forward with your project.
3. Maintaining Your Self-Esteem
Finally, once you've followed up on your initial response by taking action, work hard not to let any negative thoughts about yourself creep back in. Have a few go-to activities that you can enjoy any time, such as taking a walk-in nature or meditating.
The key is to address the specific problem that's caused your low self-esteem. You might not be able to change the situation, but you can still find ways to feel better about yourself.
Do not get defensive
Take a deep breath and think about how and why they're saying what they're saying before responding with an argument or cutting remark. If they are being mean-spirited then it might be best just to ignore them altogether!
Ways to handle criticism
Process the criticism.
Your initial reaction to criticism is not the time to react. Be sure that you are able to process it, and then respond with an appropriate response.
Take time to think about it. What is being said
Be objective. Consider the critic's perspective and background: Are they looking at things from a different point of view? Have they experienced something similar? Are their concerns valid for this situation or person?
Ask yourself why the criticism was given: Did someone advise you because they care about your well-being—or because they just want what's best for themselves, even if it means hurting others in the process?
If you're an aspiring critic, there's a simple way to demonstrate your appreciation: thank them for their time. Even if you don't think the criticism was helpful, it was still taken seriously and given careful consideration. Thanking someone who took the time to offer their perspective is always a nice gesture—and it can be particularly important if you're dealing with a critic who doesn't usually share feedback with others.
If the person giving the criticism is someone you are associated professionally or personally, you can acknowledge their efforts and politely appreciate how much thought went into this." This type of acknowledgement shows that even though they might not agree with everything you recognize that they took great care in crafting what they had to say.
Do not dwell on the criticism.
If you're the target of criticism, it can be challenging to resist taking it personally. But try not to let your emotions get in the way of making objective decisions about your work and how you present yourself.
If a critic is too harsh or personal, ask for clarification on their comments if possible. You might find that the person criticizing you was simply having an off day (or had an off day with everyone else). You may also discover that there are legitimate reasons why they feel this way about your work or performance—and if so, it can help knowing what they think, this can help you take steps towards improvement.
Don't Take Criticism Personally
Regardless of whether someone's criticism is justified or not, try not to take it personally because there's typically no malice behind most negative feedback—the person just has different ideas than yours and wants them conveyed clearly!
Think before forming an opinion.
When you receive criticism, try to think of it as an opportunity for growth. If a friend or family member has shared their thoughts with you, remember that they are coming from a place of love and concern. Think about how they might feel if they were in your shoes—how would they want to be treated? Would they want someone who tried to understand the situation from their perspective?
Think about how the critic's perspective could be valuable for you: perhaps he or she sees something that others don't see in your work, or maybe he/she has more experience than you do at something related to what went wrong. What might those things be?
Respect negative criticism.
Negative criticism is a gift. It's an opportunity to learn, grow and improve yourself.
If you don't respect negative criticism and try to ignore it or deflect it as "invalid", then how do you expect to earn the respect of others?
If people don't feel like their voices are heard and respected around you, then why would they want to work with or for someone who doesn't value them?
Learn from it.
Use the criticism to improve. Remember that you have the ability to use your critics’ feedback as a learning experience, but only if you choose to do so.
Take time to reflect on how the criticism affected your emotions or behavior and what can be done in the future for improvement.
Criticism is often an opportunity for growth. It may not be easy at first, but take some time away from work and reflect on how you handled yourself during this situation with someone who had some negative things to say about your performance at work or home; then bring this newfound knowledge back into play when another similar situation arises again next week or month (or even years later).
By reflecting now rather than later will allow us all more opportunities throughout our lives where we can grow together both professionally and personally without having regrets down the line due to "What if?" type thinking.
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving – Dale Carnegie.
So criticism might be difficult to accept at first. But if you follow these tips, it should become easier to take in what your audience has to say about your work, and even enjoy hearing their opinions on it!
Plus, remember that the end goal of any kind of constructive criticism is always to help you improve as a writer or an artist in one way or another—so ultimately, it can only help you become better at what you do.