“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill
Sometimes, we put a lot of passion into something – a book or a movie or a product etc. and work hard for months or years. We give our best. We go the extra mile, and we are confident that we did a good job. When we give our work to the world after all these efforts, we may receive unexpected criticism. People may give us bad reviews, thoughtless comments, genuine negative feedback, trolls etc. Some of this criticism could be true, and just but any kind of criticism hurts because we are humans.
All the super-achievers and great people of the world are criticized at least once in their lifetime, if not multiple times. They learned to make the most out of the criticism they received, and they silenced their critics with their phenomenal success. Even the greatest of all – God, is also criticized.
Do you know who is never criticized? It’s the people who don’t try anything new. People, who give up their dreams and who go on with the monotony of life, are spared from criticism. If you are on the journey of following your heart and are passionate about life, receiving criticism is common.
But being stuck with criticism for a long time and carrying the hurt feelings does not bring us anything positive. When we don’t handle criticism properly, it lowers our self-esteem and stops us from trying new things in life. It impacts us negatively and stops our growth. So, it’s important to handle criticism properly.
How to handle criticism in life? Below are ten pointers.
10 ways to handle criticism:
1. Calm down: When you receive criticism, it is common to become angry and hurt. So, the first step is to relax and calm down because only a calm mind can think well. When a person is overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions, it becomes challenging to think with clarity. You can do simple meditation or deep breathing or walk in nature to calm down.
2. Be objective: After you have calmed down your emotions and thoughts, objectively analyze the criticism received. Don’t be subjective about it. For some time, take yourself out of the equation and think that the criticism is given for some other person. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who criticized and think objectively. Go through it with an open mind.
3. Don’t take it personally: Criticism is only about your work and not about you. Note this thin line of difference between you and your work. Your work is a small part of your life, and it’s not you. You are many times bigger than your work. When someone criticizes your work, understand that they are only criticizing your work and not you. Don’t take any criticism personally.
4. Analyze the truth: Ask yourself if there is any kind of truth in the criticism and be honest with yourself. For some time, keep your ego aside and analyze the truth in the criticism. If there is even 10% of truth in the criticism, accept it and think about how you can correct it in your next work. If there is no truth in the criticism, just discard it.
5. Don’t defend yourself: When we receive criticism, it’s common to justify our actions and approaches, but when we do that, we miss the opportunity of using criticism for our growth. So, don’t defend or justify yourself when someone criticizes. Just go through the criticism without any justifications.
6. Use criticism constructively: Use criticism to improve your work. Use it as a tool to become better and better in your life. Don’t let criticism bring down your self-esteem or confidence levels. Criticism plays an important role in improving our work. So, be thankful to someone who provided you constructive criticism.
7. Don’t take it seriously: Don’t take seriously all the criticism you receive. It does not take any effort or time to criticize. So, any Tom, Dick, and Harry can criticize you. When someone criticizes you, check the track record of this person and see what this person has accomplished in life. Also, think if this person really knows about the subject of your work at least to some extent.
8. Don’t be too harsh on yourself: Yes, it is common to make mistakes in life and be criticized for it. But don’t be too harsh on yourself. Understand that we are not perfect and making mistakes is part of life. Learn the lesson out of your mistakes and move on rather than criticizing yourself and being harsh towards yourself.
9. Learn to ignore: Some people criticize very negatively beyond the acceptable limit. Don’t let such criticism impact you. It just shows the negative nature of the person who is doing it. Learn to ignore any criticism that is malicious, derogatory, and has abusive words. Don’t give any attention to such criticism. Just ignore it.
10. Celebrate: This may look exaggerated, but it is sensible to celebrate criticism because only people who did something substantial in life will receive criticism. So, whenever you receive criticism, be glad that you did something important, and others spent their time to give you feedback. Also, criticism gives you an opportunity to correct yourself and evolve further. If no one criticized you, you would never know the areas of improvement.
These are some ways to handle criticism in life.
Whenever criticism hurts you, remember Aristotle’s words – “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” So, if you don’t want to be criticized in your life, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing. But if you want to be something in life and do something with your life, then be prepared to receive criticism and feel proud about it.
Celebrate the criticism you receive and use it as a fuel for your growth. Make the most out of it and scale greater heights in life.
Wish you all the strength, peace, and joy!
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”– Bill Gates