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Strategies for Coping With Criticism in a Positive Way

Learn how to empower yourself through challenging moments in life.

There was a time when other people’s criticism really stung me. It brought all my insecurities to the surface. Other people’s opinions of me would cause me to question myself. I would experience profound remorse and regret. I would shame myself. I would isolate myself to avoid any further conflict. I would make myself small. I would give my power away.

The fact is, we all face criticism in our lives. There really is no way to completely avoid it. How can we deal with the criticism we receive? How can we respond? Here are some tips and strategies for coping with and moving forward from criticism.

Criticism is an opinion.

Opinions can be right, or they can be wrong. Don’t take them to be gospel truth. Criticism is only that person’s opinion of you. One person’s opinion of you does not need to become your opinion of you.

We are all stuck in our own perspectives.

You see and understand with your perspective. They see and understand with theirs. They may not see or understand what you were trying to say or do. They may have missed the point entirely. No one can see into your heart and mind. No one can know your intention unless you tell them. A lot of disagreements are born from misunderstandings. Communication is key.

You never know someone’s circumstance.

Maybe, that person is having a really crappy day. Maybe, what you said or did triggered them. Maybe, their reaction came from their own pain. Maybe, when they are lashing out at you, they are acting out their pain. Sometimes people misdirect their hurt and anger. The point is, you just don’t know what a person is going through. It’s better to be compassionate than reactive. You can still give a response, if you choose, but you could make it a compassionate one.


Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Your first instinct may be to cut the person giving you criticism down to size. I mean, after all, isn’t that what they just tried to do to you? But consider how much you just disliked what they said. Now, consider how much you would dislike yourself for acting in the exact same way. Don’t become what you hate.

Why are you emotionally attached?

If you feel defensive, get angry, offended, or disappointed by their criticism, stop and ask yourself why. Why are you emotionally attached to this? Is there an issue you may need to address? Do you need to engage in some self-care? Do you have a wound that needs healing? We have a choice as to what we emotionally attach ourselves to. We can hear someone’s opinion objectively. We can look at it for what it is without emotionally investing ourselves. This can save us a lot of trouble.

Know your intention.

Mindfulness matters. If you act with intent, no one can take that away from you. Even if the outcome is a complete disaster. We live, and we learn. We can apply new learning for the next time. We can’t undo what is done. If we did something with a good heart and with good intention, then obviously we did not intent to do anything harmful. By being mindful and remembering our intention, we can find peace and move forward.

You do not need to defend or explain yourself.

Recognize that you do not need to defend every action or every word. Ask yourself if it is worthwhile to spend your time and energy explaining yourself. Sometimes, people are very good at wasting other people’s time, either inadvertently, or intentionally. Not everything warrants an explanation. Not every relationship is worth fighting for. Sometimes we try too hard to hang on to people we will possibly never get along with. Ask yourself what you are investing your time and energy into. Is it productive, and does it serve you?

Don’t feed the negativity.

A good rule of thumb is to not respond to negativity with negativity. A person may have intended their criticism to be constructive. They may have had good intentions. They may be talking from ego. Or, they may actually have had ill intent. In any case, how you respond matters. Be the example. Rise above any negativity. You can be supportive and respectful to people you disagree with. Sometimes, we may disagree with someone but change our minds later. We are all learning, growing, and changing. It’s better to react positively than with negativity. Adding to the negativity doesn’t do anything to solve any problems. 


Engage in self-care.

Don’t neglect yourself. Take time for yourself. Look after your well-being. Find and keep your inner peace. When you look after yourself you won’t feel as needy. When you carry around inner peace you will feel less volatile. Both can make you less reactive to what happens outside of you. Make yourself a priority in your life. Remember, you are the one person you will have to live with for the rest of your life. Invest into that relationship. Love yourself.

Find Self-forgiveness.

There will be times when you muck up, when you make mistakes. It happens. It happens to everyone. Are you going to cut yourself up for it? Are you going to beat yourself up over it? Or, will you take the lesson and move on. Forgive yourself and let go. Don’t allow regret to anchor you in the past. Stay present in the moment, because here is where you have influence.

Have patience.

Sometimes, someone gives you criticism about something you are struggling with. You may feel a bit exasperated about having it pointed out to you. Recognize that change takes time. Be patient with yourself. Keep investing in yourself and your self-development. No one is perfect. We are all a work in progress. Be easy on yourself. Allow yourself some grace. Be patient with yourself.

Find self-acceptance.

It’s important to accept and love yourself fully as you are. Don’t just accept parts of yourself you like. Love all of you. Discard the ideal and impossible standard of perfection. You can love and accept yourself and still work on yourself. The love and acceptance you have for yourself is not conditional on your performance. By loving and accepting ourselves, we can empower ourselves. Empowerment can allow us to overcome and achieve so much!

Do you have any tips or strategies to share which can help us to best move forward from criticism?

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Akiroq Brost

Akiroq is a Human Potential Inspirational writer, who has a passion for helping others explore and harness the extraordinary potential that lies within each and every one of us.

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nelia cepedaCatherine B. RoySuzan MuhialdeenSusan learnedSantosh Recent comment authors
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nelia cepeda
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nelia cepeda

i want to share a workplace situation. as a government employee, and doing an account management, i handled one project from other government entity assisting its advocacy and iec campaign. as i am quite good also in public and media relations, these skills helped me a lot. however, as i am doing good in my work, i know i don’t please everybody in my division though i really don’t mind. but still, i do care… and those bad words or criticisms somehow affected me that i fekt depressed in a way… i do felt boastful or pride went along the way as i am justifying my actions… and got ill-feeling towards those persons…nevertheless, when i talked with my other colleagues in the workplace, they, too have the same feeling/ thoughts as mine!!! we’re on the same boat!!! asci calmed myself, i realized, maybe i am doing the right thing… i don’t need to please everybody. i need to be humble and think and act positively so that i would not disappoint myself and be stressed.

Catherine B. Roy
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Catherine B. Roy

Wonderful article! Thank you Akiroq! I really needed it. Something like this happened to me yesterday. I remained silent. Although it was hard, I understood that’s not my truth so whatever that person thinks it’s about him, not me.

Suzan Muhialdeen
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Suzan Muhialdeen

Very good article, I enjoyed reading it.
I think the difference between the constructive criticism and the destructive criticism, is that in the first case the criticism we got either on our work ,performance, appearance,…etc ,is not focusing only on weakness points, but it is also mention the power points that we have , it is (objective opinion )it may be true opinion and people can accept or agree with it , but in the second case the person criticize in a destroying way , he or she just wants to hurt your feelings to make you lose your self-esteem or confidence, because they just focus on weakness points without mention the positive points , they are doing that for bad intentions to control you for example , so we need to know how to distinguish between them , a kind person can criticize others in a form of giving advice or a suggestion in indirect way or indirect speech, moreover the parents who want to change a certain bad behavior in their kids with a good advice which can talk and convince their minds and emotions ,it is better for them than harsh criticism which cannot change anything but hurts their kids feelings.

susanlearned
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susanlearned

I just move thru it..and then use my imagination to put a glass bowl over their head so that they can keep their negativism to themselves. A lot of people put a glass bowl over their own head…to keep others at bay..but in doing so, the matter that we enjoy such as nature and good vibes by good people is kept from us and is so important to our thriving.

Santosh
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Santosh

Wow.. most of the times I feel your articles goes with my current situation in my life

Margo
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Margo

The way I deal with it now is by listening, considering, decide whether it’s a valid point, or helpful, or ego driven, or jealousy, misleading information to bring me down, constructive or a subjective view. etc. I weigh it up, and if I think it’s rubbish, I carry on as I always do. If I have to adjust or make changes, I think I will know myself. If it’s well meant, or delivered in a diplomatic manner, it’s still a criticism dressed up in its Sunday best. I’ll decide at the end of the day. It’s worth watching what those people do themselves, and whether they take their own advice or try to divert you away from the real you because they can’t handle competition.

Margo
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Margo

A very helpful guide. I’ve had to learn how to adopt some strategies to cope with criticism over the years from various people. I quickly realised they had more issues than I did, and I thought and their criticisms were more about them, than me. It wasn’t constructive, it was either jealousy, to pull me down or an issue they had with themselves, or an opinion, as you mentioned. It was their “perception”?, and they were not in a position where I would have respected their criticisms anyway, rightly or wrongly. However, I won’t say they didn’t hurt, and I did consider them for a while, and would alter my ways to suit the situation. I either avoided them, took them on board, dismissed their nasty insults or just carried on as normal. Actions speak louder than words. If they thought I had listened to them and changed because of their views, I stayed the same, they noticed they had no affect on me and then I got criticised for that. Lol. Criticism is how you describe it. Thanks for the useful tips about how to handle it. I can’t believe what some people see in the mirror though. Some people should take a good hard look at themselves first. If the criticism is meant to help me, I will try it. If I don’t like it, they can have it back, and I’ll continue as I please. Thank you

Cheryl
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Cheryl

This read is nothing short of amazing. Really. I have been dealing with some criticism and negativity concerning the direction of my life at this time. I wont say a lot because i truly handle the negativity better than ever. I may even listen but i discern motives and intentions better than ever. I tend to listen at somethings to cultivate and to bring out the best me. Again great read.

Ron Blanchard
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Ron Blanchard

Don’t sweat the small stuff; it’s all small stuff!

prabhakar rajarapu
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prabhakar rajarapu

VERY NICE ARTICLE THANK YOU

Sheela Chilloyee
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Sheela Chilloyee

Very interesting and enriching article. Thks a lot n have a nice day.

filipina masiclat
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filipina masiclat

iam a thyroid a imbalance hormones and acid reflux really relate to your article . iam trying to handle it as well i can. some times easy to react with the some negative feed back … i always pray to keep me calm . sorry for my grammars .

LuAnn V Lambright
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LuAnn V Lambright

I was a hospice RN for many years although in my earlier days I worked in ICU for quite a few years and then worked in an out patient surgery center recovery room for 7 years and then transferred to the preadmit unit where we interviewed patients for out patient surgery and also ordered lab tests to be done. The afternoon before the surgery day we needed to make sure the charts ,labs everything was ready for the next days surgery and it was really interesting. I loved it. I changed to hospice nursing then and we went to patients homes or where ever they were and visited them once or twice a week helping them to be comfortable and to accept the fact that they would expire in the not to distant future. We were also able to interact with their families and help them to accept things which were not to be changed. I have been retired 1 1/2 years and I sincerely wish I were still able to do this but there is a time when you have to realize that you are finished.

Mary aloise
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Mary aloise

Some people have been listening to the same negative feedback

For over 17 yrs. Enough. Is enough.

Mary aloise
Guest
Mary aloise

Thank you for all of these articles..very interesting. Sorry about
My complaining. I just had to move on.

Mary aloise
Guest
Mary aloise

Who needs criticism when you are alone and ill…and the. Person
Doing the critiszing knows it/. Sorry for the poor spelling.

Jackie Wilushewski
Member
Jackie Wilushewski

Just a great way to look at how to handle criticism or even any negative or unfamiliar situations SUPER thank grateful for this article <3

Kenny morris
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Kenny morris

So many people let other’s criticism affect thier daily.use the criticism to strengthen ones inner self for you know what you are capable of doing.treat other’s how you want to be treated,laughter is good for the soul. laughing at criticism instead of anger will show the critic their words are meaningless to you,for they are trying to anger you or make you feel useless.

Gloria
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Gloria

It’s hard when criticism comes from someone who is in a position with more authority than you have so it’s their way or the highway. Instead of thanks for all you do and i’ll Think about what you said .

Vasudevan Bhattathir
Member
Vasudevan Bhattathir

criticism is a thing which we have to face in life this can be positive or negative act it all this depends on factors such as ] who is criticizing, the intention behind it , how we are taking it etc even a criticism is an opinion we may consider the same as we may be wrong sometimes it should be taken into consideration and do it as we think correct
this is a good article which opens our mind . thank you

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