Do you know, all of us could take a little lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, what you do in your spare time, who your family are… do you know I could go on with this list but rather than do that I’ll just say this:
At some point in your life you are going receive feedback in the form of criticism. You had it at school when you didn’t get an A for something, you’ve had at interviews when you didn’t get the job and you’ll continue to get it. Forever. Get used to it because it won’t stop. Regardless of who you are, someone will always have something critical to say.
Often these comments can come unsolicited. Someone giving an opinion on an outfit or your choice of music. Regardless of where it comes from or how big or small it is, criticism and rejection are part of every day life.
So how do we deal with it? Is easy to say you’ll move on, you’ll forget about it, but sometimes this criticism can touch a raw nerve and make it hard to just ignore. It can come with feelings of rejection and those are even harder to remove from your thoughts than the criticism itself.
Here are some tips for dealing with that criticism.
Criticism can become positive if you look at it constructively and not be too hard on yourself. Evaluate the criticism. Was it warranted? Did you ask for it? If you’re answering no to both of those then ignore it. It’s not something worthy of your time. If you did ask for it but it wasn’t the reply you were hoping then give it some consideration. Do I want or need to change it? Is it something I can change? How will I implement this change?
Take out the negative from the comments and look for the positives.
It’s a sad fact of life that some people will say some things to purposely hurt you. There is nothing you can do to stop this. So how can you deal with it? Well this one is simple to say but difficult to do. Words hurt and once it’s said it cannot be unsaid, no matter how many apologies come with it. The best thing you can do is remember that unwarranted and hurtful comments are a reflection of the person saying it, not you. It’s usually a jealous reaction to something positive about you. And more often than not, that positivity isn’t too difficult to see.
If you asked for feedback then take it and work with it. You asked for it for a reason. Look at how you can work with this feedback. If it’s harsher than you were expecting then did you ask the right person? Evaluate everything about the feedback. Who gave it, what did they say, how can you work with it? Staying calm will help with all that.
Staying calm helps best when the feedback or criticism is unwarranted. “I saw your artwork. It was crap!” just smile and say thank you. Trust me, it’ll annoy them.
The heat of the moment is the worst time to start a discussion. Before replying to any feedback or criticism take a moment to yourself. Don’t reply instantly. Say thank you then walk away. Think back to what was said, if it was written down read it over and over until you fully understand it. If there’s something you’re not sure of ask for an explanation.
Taking your time will ensure you’re fully prepared to let the feedback work in the way you need it to.
This doesn’t mean you need to seek counselling because of your feedback. Sometimes you might not understand what has been said and it’s not possible or practical to speak to the person who gave the feedback. So seek out a friend or someone you trust. Explain what you were doing and why you wanted the feedback, then explain the feedback you got and how you feel about it. A fresh perspective on things can often be a great help. Essentially this is feedback on someone else feedback so keep that in mind, it’s not your work they’re evaluating.