Getting criticised is by far one of my least favorite activites. You only want to do your best, and when someone doesn’t agree with that, it just doesn’t sit well, does it? No wonder you take it personally! But the only person who has to deal with this and goes over and over about it in your head is, well you. So how can you learn not to take criticism personally?
See criticism as a positive thing
What is the first thing you do when you receive criticism? Especially when you thought you were doing a good thing? Will you stand up in defense? Maybe even get angry? That is understandable, because you feel misunderstood. There is a tension, a friction that you don’t agree with. Try to take a second en find a way to turn the criticism around. Even though you might not agree with what is being said, you can open your mind to growth en development. What can you learn from this situation? Especially these in kind of situations let you grow and create a breakthrough.
See beyond the criticism
Even though you might see this criticism as an attack on you, try to look at it from a broader perspective. Yes, the tone of voice is far from good and you don’t wish to be spoken to in that way and maybe that criticism is not even fair or right. Remember however that nobody is perfect and that person could be having a bad day. His baby puked on him early in the morning. He fell back asleep and slept through his alarm and was late for work after a traffic jam. And then you came along with doing something wrong. That famous straw that breaks the camel’s back so to say. It is extremely powerful of you when you realize there might be more to a comment than you know and that you don’t know what’s going on in somebody’s head.
See the criticism in a different way
What I often experience is that we get stuck on seeing things a certain way. The person who gives the critic as well as the person receiving it. I can be quite stubborn and have the intention of, besides taking it personally, hoovering over somebody’s opinion, just to be right. What helps is to ask somebody else’s opinion and view on the case from another perspective. Important with this is that you don’t ask a person who immediately picks your side but has an intelligent and objective way of looking at it so that you can reframe the situation. This helps you to see the situation a bit more clear and to create more distance to it.
Say that you need a break
Remember that I asked you if you get angry or defensive when you receive criticism? This is a fear response that happens when a situation occurs that threatens your ego or identity and creates more insecurity. If this happens to you, make sure you take a break. When you receive tough feedback, it is in your complete power to say: “I really appreciate your feedback. I’d like to take some time to think about it, so that I can respond to it, thank you”. In this way you do respond immediately, but you can also collect your thoughts about the situation. You can do this by taking a break and distract yourself from it. Do something that works for you like taking a walk, calling a friend, watch a funny video or dance to your favorite happy song.
Remember that just because you receive criticism, that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you are not good enough. You just did one thing wrong. That doesn’t define you or makes you a bad person. It just means that you are human and that you can take this opportunity to improve. Always ask yourself what you can learn from the situation and stay calm. If you want to learn more about how to respond to criticism, also read this article.