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Dealing with criticism can be tricky. Should you take it seriously or avoid it? Here’s how to deal with criticism, and use it to your advantage.
As a teenager, I remember disliking negative comments and people who were blunt. Gradually, as the years passed by, I became more aware of negativity and its effects. We all come to terms that people are not always going to say sweet things about us. As I joined the corporate world, I got accustomed to taking the good along with the bad.
It was during the personal development programs, that we learnt to improve ourselves in various aspects of our personality and work. That’s when I realized that it’s good to receive honest feedback about our work or else, we would never know our shortcomings. This helped me upgrade in the areas that I was weak in and evaluate my work and personality traits. I performed better at work when I joined other companies. It was all because of the prior experience.
Now coming to criticism, it can be broadly categorized into two kinds, namely : constructive criticism and destructive criticism. And there are two kinds of critics – those who want to see us grow and those who want to forestall our growth.
This kind of criticism helps us to grow and amend our personalities. Generally, we receive constructive criticism from our own kin, well-wishers, genuine friends, and relatives. They honestly disclose our flaws with the intention of seeing us grow. There is always good motive and intention behind constructive criticism.
If we receive constructive feedback, we can utilize it as an opportunity to grow and refine ourselves. Constructive reproval should be taken with the right spirit as the feedback given is honest and genuine. It’s given by a person who is qualified in the subject and has our best interest in mind.
Offering constructive feedback is an art and not everyone has the skill to do it. It’s a process of offering feedback to individuals on their work or behaviour, without hurting their sentiments. It generally consists of positive and negative comments. The critic in this case highlights our negative points for us to improve on it, and doesn’t hold back while appreciating us for our positive points.
This kind of criticism comes from people who are generally not concerned about our growth. The criticism has more to do with themselves because they have an urgent need to feel good by pulling down others. They would criticize to make themselves feel superior, make us feel unworthy, to dampen our spirits or in plain simple terms – to spoil our day. We often come across such people, don’t we?
Most of us would agree that it’s not easy dealing with negative criticism, especially if what’s been said is not true. Negative criticism can even come as a big blow to our own self-esteem and self-worth. We begin to get influenced. We start believing every single word of the critic. If this becomes a pattern, then it plays on our minds and we truly feel unworthy. Since this kind of criticism can be destructive to our mental health and our self- confidence, a few points that I’ve shared below could help us deal with it better.
It’s natural to feel anger and become emotional while dealing with negative criticism. The only way to stay calm and not take it personally is to first understand the source of this criticism. It’s essential to understand that destructive criticism often comes from people who have issues themselves. I came across an article on the same subject which stated that negative criticism is all about the critic.
If critics have a need to feel good by pulling down others, that means they are probably suffering from self-esteem issues. If critics are offering advice to see us grow, then they want to lend a helping hand. So, the bottom line is – it has nothing to do with us. Thinking in these terms, would make the whole process of dealing with negative criticism much easier.
Negative critics find victims to throw their rigid opinions and ideas on. We have to understand that the problem lies with them and the criticism has nothing to do with us. This will help in disempowering the effects of negative criticism.
There are others who criticize at every given opportunity. If we perform well, they’ll not appreciate our success or would not even pay a compliment. It’s better to avoid connecting with these people, as they demotivate us. Unfortunately, we deal with such people even in our own families and then we are not left with any options. The only way is to maintain minimal contact with such a person.
When someone unjustly criticizes, it’s hard not to feel bad, especially if there are other people involved. Learning the art to ignore such people and learning not to allow this to affect our lives will take much practice and time. It requires a lot of effort and it’s not easy as it sounds.
Negative people are found almost everywhere. They are found in schools, colleges, our work spots, and even in our own families. The only way to begin the process of not allowing this to affect our lives, is by instilling faith in ourselves and our own qualities. We should be aware of our own capabilities and others’ opinions shouldn’t change what we feel about ourselves.
Some deal with negativity by ignoring it completely. They choose not to get emotional or angry. Isn’t that what the hater actually wants, to see us all messed up ? We can choose to stay calm and get the negativity off our backs. Others use criticism to grow. They see it as an opportunity to grow and they bounce back as achievers. Criticism motivates them to perform better.
In this digital age, it’s extremely difficult to escape criticism, as our personal information and sometimes our work is out in the open because of social media sites and the internet. Since our information is exposed, it’s also open to various forms of opinions. There would be contradicting ideas, and conflicting opinions. This shouldn’t be a cause of hindrance to our growth, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Dealing with negativity sporadically, is not that bad. It indicates that our work and behaviour has value and is worthy of feedback. The hiccup begins when people make it a daily ritual. If a person can only highlight our negative points and does not appreciate or see the good in us, then it becomes difficult to coexist with such a person, and avoiding them is the best possible solution in my opinion. This doesn’t make us arrogant. We are just, in walking away from people who don’t see our worth and value us as human beings.
I’d like to conclude with this quote by Criss Jami – ” The motive behind criticism often determines it’s validity. Those who care, criticize where necessary. Those who envy, criticize the moment they think they have found a weak spot “.
Pic credit: [email protected] (Used under a CC license)
Diana has worked as an Editor/Writer and Content Manager for various digital platforms and
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