I am yet to meet someone who has become perfect at the skill of accepting criticism. It is a skill that is very valuable in any form of relationship, be it romantic or work based relationship. Most of us find this very hard to handle and in turn make people define us as a difficult person. Whether you are new at a Job, or you are learning a skill, or you’re getting to know your partner, there is always that possibility that you will screw up and make mistakes and when these mistakes are addressed we all tend to pull out our bulletproof vest and our arsenal to make sure even if we don’t win at least we don’t lose. That is a bad way to face the situation, criticisms are part of life and one we should learn how to handle.
Now there are two types of criticism, constructive and destructive. In plain terms the only difference is on how the criticism is offered, if it is offered in the bad way, tone of voice and choice of words it turns to destructive, Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is designed to point out your mistakes, but also show you where and how improvements can be made, but for today we will be dealing on how to handle criticism not how to give constructive criticism.
1. UNDERSTAND YOU ARE NOT PERFECT
This is the major reason why most people are defensive and apprehensive towards criticism, if you can look around and name one perfect person in your life then you are not being honest to yourself, our imperfections are areas we will always seek to improve on. There are no perfect beings so accept that you can make a mistake, accept you have much to learn, approach life as a student with the view that any man can teach you.
2. DO NOT BE EMOTIONAL
The reason you almost react like someone is breaking down your door when you are criticized is because you are thinking with your heart not your brain, you feel your ego has been reduced to tatters and you need to react. For a second pause and think try to focus on the message and its intention to help you instead of focusing on all of the "mean" or "hurtful" things that were said to you. Let your emotions pass through your brain before they come out of your mouth.
3. IT IS NOT PERSONAL
Most times we take criticism as a personal attack to our image, eg your boss says you have not been productive but what you hear is, I am lazy and the bad luck he is having. Try to understand the point they are trying to make. It was never about you as a person it was more of a comment on the actions.
4. STOP MAKING EXCUSES
For a moment be honest with yourself, you know you are better than this. This is not the best you can be, so stop blaming your Ex for making you care less, or blaming your former boss for making you less productive. Life is always about you giving your best at any particular time and your drive for excellence in all you, failures will always find excuses.
5. CREATE A PLAN TO ADDRESS YOUR SHORTCOMINGS
We have heard the comment made about you, you did not react emotionally as you received the comment, you understood what was being said, you gleaned the wisdom in the comment and you understood you are human that you can make mistakes. You have apologized the next step is to actively seek to improve on that action that is being criticized, if you have been told you are not productive at work, start by increasing how long you spend at work, cross check all the task you are told to do, to be sure there is no error, provide additional detail to every task assigned to you. Talk and address people in the appropriate manner. This are examples of things you can do to address you your short comings.
Constructive criticism is the food of champions, because it makes them Grow mentally; then you see the short comings of your paradigm and work on them, makes you grow emotionally because you learn how to be selfless. It helps you grow in self-confidence also because your insecurities will be exposed and you will be able to work on them, the benefits of constructive criticism is too may to mention.
But remember we can’t control what other people will say to us, whether they’ll approve or form opinions and share them. But we can control how we internalize it, respond to it, and learn from it and move on