The Love-Hate Relationship with Criticism

I hate you; I love you. But I cannot ignore you.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

The truth hurts. Sometimes people lay it out all in the open. It’s like ripping off the band aid, and now you need to bear the sting.

Criticism is not always destructive. Sometimes it comes out in the open because of frustration. Sometimes it can be seen as an act of care.

Yup, it sounds strange. But when someone makes time in finding your mistakes and warning you towards the upcoming turmoil, criticism is the most indirect form of care.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

— Winston Churchill.

‘You seem off’’. A typical statement by a colleague or a friend. It could result from a tough meeting, or simply nothing goes right in the entire day. Some comment or some feedback keeps hovering over your head. It’s difficult to tell the mind to shut off at that point.

This is the worst time then to make judgements and decisions. We assume the worst and demotivate ourselves so much that it does more harm than good. It’s like giving a huge blow to your self-esteem. But when the mind calms down, you then realise all the negative self-assessment was pointless.

‘I didn’t expect this from you’. ‘How could you do this’? ‘This is not how we perceived the campaign would be’. In a few seconds, your months of hard work feels like nothing. At that moment, no amount of positivity works. You keep replaying the moment where you could have gone wrong. And in the process feel like being at a dead end. As if no matter which turn you take, you land at the same place where you started.

It sucks, I know. But here is what you can do and take off some steam.

‘I Hate You’ Letter

Sounds childlike, but that’s precisely what you need. Write down the worst possible thought in your mind right now. Don’t judge. No thought is a stupid thought. Vent it out and release all that steam. Once it’s all out on paper, read it out loud or in your head. Your mind will be at peace. Suddenly you will feel a sense of calm and you can think straight. (For a while. Do not still make any decision at this moment).

Drink it Down

No. I am not talking about wine or whiskey here. Drink water. Your body is in fight mode. It’s unfair, don’t you think how we ignore the body and only take care of the mind when stressed. Like we don’t consider our body as a vital part of our system. Hydrate yourself. You will feel then like it’s not the end of the world.

Listen to Music and Analyse

Put on happy music. Happy music could be anything that takes you to a different zone. (Avoid break up songs. It will just wash down all your efforts so far). While listening to music, your mind can sit idle and get some breathing space to analyse. After the venting and the hydrating, listen to music and now rethink what happened. Was it so bad that you feel you can’t live to tell the tale? It’s never that bad as it seems. Now instead of focusing on the wrong, start focusing on how you can make things work. Let the music fill your mind and body, and get to work on how you can fix it. You can fix anything. You don’t need anyone else to tell you that. Ask yourself because nobody knows you better than you — Yup, not even that person who loves you more than you love yourself.

Tomorrow Is Another Day

The thing is, no matter how big of a problem. The intensity of any situation wears down the next day and the day after that. If you have been fortunate to go through a breakup and then survived to tell the tale, you know exactly what I am talking about. The day the event happens is the worst. But when your body and mind is rested, somehow you have the energy to deal with stuff the next day. That’s when we realise the importance of detachment. We need to detach ourselves from the situation and come back with a different perspective. When you disconnect, have space to think, you come up with solutions. These solutions come on the spot, and you wonder how. It’s because even though consciously you took some time off, unconsciously, your mind was working. And that’s when the eureka moment happens.

I Am Sorry I Hated You

If someone pinpoints your mistake, it’s very typical to hate that person. But when the high tide turns to low, you realise that the person cares for your growth. (Please note, here I am not talking about those people who are constantly putting you down). These are people who want you to grow and keep pushing you. They see potential in you and know that you have the capabilities to excel in the most unexpected ways.

When you identify such people, let the tirade of emotions pass when they vent on you. They see something in you that you cannot. Thus, we need to go back to our zone, do the work and get back.

And when you do get back with a bang, it’s the same person who is your biggest fan and appreciates your effort.

The negative words blindside us. It’s only when you detach, analyse and think about all the things you survived and can stay this one; only then can criticism become a friend. It sounds ridiculous, but it works.

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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Sujona Chatterjee

Sujona Chatterjee

Living life the only way I know how — one day at a time.

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