No one likes criticism, constructive or not. But everyone encounters it. And criticism always seems to have a way of ruining a great day. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been having a great day and criticism has completely thrown my day in the opposite direction. It’s something that happens all the time and to everyone. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing and ruin your day. I could write an entire chapter in my book on dealing with criticism, but for now, consider the following to keep criticism from bringing you down.
Everyone has an opinion, and they have a right to those opinions. I like to remind myself of this because every day no matter what I am about to do or say someone will always have an opinion about it. In my experience, there are more people who will gladly express their opinion than there are of those who won’t. People will respond to something you’ve done. Sometimes those opinions will be positive and even encouraging. That is the kind of response we want to hear and that we look forward to.
But not every response is encouraging, because not everyone will agree with your opinion either. Because of those conflicting opinions, we usually struggle to find how to respond to them. But if you are prepared for various responses, you can usually think clearer and handle the negative responses better.
Criticism is hard to deal with, and it’s even harder when you actually listen and think about what the person had to say. But the right thing is never easy.
You are not going to agree with every opinion or all of the criticism you hear. But that doesn’t mean that some of it won’t speak the truth. And if it does, it is better to use it to correct mistakes or improve something. Listening helps us understand why the person may have formed their opinion or why they felt the need to offer up criticism. Some people want to help you, and their criticism comes from that. Others will offer criticism with the intent of helping, but their criticism comes across badly for their lack of knowledge on how to offer it. And then there are those who have no intention of helping you and don’t care if they discourage you.
Whatever their intentions may be, listen and consider what is constructive and what is not. Listening to them doesn’t mean you have to let that negative response bother you. But it does mean that you are willing to listen to others and give them the same respect you expect when sharing your opinions.
The way you respond to criticism is more about you than the person who offered it in the first place. You have the opportunity to not only show that you have considered their opinion but what you intend to do with it. If you have chosen to use their criticism constructively, share that with them by thanking them for their input. Acknowledge that you value their opinion enough to make the necessary changes.
But if their criticism was not constructive, but rather harmful and discouraging, just be respectful, smile, and move on. That negativity isn’t your burden to carry.
Remember that a person’s opinion is only one of millions. Not everyone will be supportive and encouraging. That’s okay. If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, never let a negative response ruin that for you. The way to deal with criticism is realizing that you can let it hold you back, or you can use it to push harder for the goals you believe in.
Originally published at www.kristinhaney.com on December 12, 2018.