When it comes to dealing with criticism I will admit that on occasions I don’t deal with it well. I am an anxious person that wants to do things well and worries about what people think of me (which is really not the best way to live!) alongside this I have a bit (understatement) of a temper. The anger that comes from my temper isn’t something I deal with well at all, I become very irrational and channel my anger in a negative manner. I take it out on people that aren’t really the cause of the tension and at the end of the day only really want what is best for me.
Criticism comes in more than one form, from self-criticism to critical criticism with a stop off at destructive and constructive. What we all need to remember is that although some criticism is uncalled for, expressed in a manner that is demotivating and degrading, not all criticism is bad. A lot of the time the way in which we deal with the fore mentioned effects the point of view that we take on what a colleague, friend or family member has said to us. Hell even a stranger. I will say that receiving criticism from a stranger is potentially a whole other kettle of fish, why would a stranger comment on your unless you had done something that was pretty much unacceptable – racism for example. If a stranger criticises you based on how you look then chances are that is good old fashioned jealousy and probably should be completely ignored, never to be mentioned again.
Let us focus on constructive criticism, the more positive of the criticism family, shall we?
At work receiving constructive criticism is important for our career development and growth. Without it we would be going through our working days without learning and developing and that quite frankly would just be pointless. You would go from your first day in the door to your last day when you go out of the door without any constructive criticism from your senior and will have ultimately made very little to zero personal or career developments. That isn’t what you are after when you are wanting to climb the career ladder one prong at a time.
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These are two actions that I am learning to work with when I receive constructive criticism. They are as all ‘advice’ is easier said than done but if you really think about how your reaction to constructive criticism may warp a persons view point of you you can really see the benefit.
Don’t fester in your thoughts
Sitting thinking about things over and over will not help anyone. You will make yourself annoyed or upset rather than taking the constructive criticism as a green light to make a change.
Don’t take it as criticism, take it as development points
Gather together your thoughts (without festering!) and work out a plan of action as to how you will use this as a starting point and build from there.
None of us like being told that what we are doing isn’t really up to scratch or that there are areas that we need to work on but at the end of the day we are all only human. No one is perfect and we all have plenty to learn, develop and master. For me changing the way that I viewed constructive criticism was a positive as it meant that I wasn’t taking it as a personal attack, it was a place for me to start and to build on without feeling like I was worthless or that I wasn’t valued. That is a key characteristic of constructive criticism, it should not be expressed to you in a manner that belittles you or overly highlights a negative aspect.