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Effectively Dealing with Criticism

People handle criticism in different ways. Whether it’s reading a message from someone or someone telling you directly in person, criticism can be a tough pill to swallow. I used to get angry and upset when I received criticism, believing that the work I did was perfect. I soon realized that this was selfish of me, and over the years, I have learned to accept any constructive criticism and use it to fuel me to do better in the future.

It’s hard not to let someone’s criticism get to you; it can be very overwhelming at times. However, you need to realize what the intentions of the person criticizing you are. Rarely, they may be trying to bully you or make you feel bad, but most often they are trying to provide you with constructive criticism. Even if their personality may be off-putting, you have to think to yourself that they are telling you about your mistakes and flaws for your own benefit. Sometimes it’s hard for ourselves to realize what we’re doing wrong or what we could do better. Having someone tell you can open your eyes to something you weren’t even aware of. In that sense, he/she is doing you a favor.

You should use criticism as an opportunity to reflect back on what you have been doing and how you can do it better. Learning from your mistakes is the best way to avoid making those same mistakes in the future. Criticism can be constructive in the sense that it can help you build better skills. Training yourself to restrain your negative thoughts upon hearing criticism can be difficult, but with a conscious effort to do so, and understanding the reasoning behind the criticism, it is possible find a way to accept it and use it as motivation. If nothing, you should at least be motivated to prove to the critic that you, in fact, can do better.

A time where I had to face and overcome a critique was when I was working on a group project. Each of the members of my group had been assigned a task to work on, and mine was to design a poster board for our project presentation. When I had finished designing it and showed it to the rest of my group, none of them were satisfied with the work that I had done. They told me about how the way I organized the board was unappealing, and how the text I had used would be too small for the audience to see. Instead of getting upset and defending myself by saying that I was inexperienced with designing posters, I understood that they made valid arguments and decided to use their feedback to make the necessary changes. When I showed my group members the changes I had made, they were pleasantly surprised. We were able to showcase an appealing poster board for the audience, and I feel that I developed a skill that I wouldn’t have if not for positively acting on the constructive criticism from my group.

Acknowledging criticism and using it to strengthen your weaknesses can be powerful in helping you grow in your career. Check out this article for more tips on dealing with negative comments:

You can also check out this video on handling criticism like a pro:

-- BitterSweet Coaching Guest Writer


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