Unless you plan to hide in your house 24/7, you’re going to have to deal with criticism. But make no mistake: even if you stay in your house, you’re still going to be criticized; you just won’t know about it.
Criticism is a part of life. Unfortunately, the more significant your accomplishments, the more criticism you’ll have to face.
Learn to deal with criticism and your life will be a lot easier. It’s also easier to be successful. Since you’re going to be criticized no matter what, it would be a good idea to have a strategy for handling critics and what they say about you.
Try these strategies:
1. Take a deep breath. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to see something objectively when you’re not emotionally involved? That’s why it’s frequently easier to see solutions to our friends’ challenges than our own. So take a moment and get as calm as you can before you respond to criticism.
- Learning to calm yourself is a skill that you can strengthen with practice. Get a book on meditation or other relaxation technique. You have to learn how to stay calm in your day-to-day life before you can expect to stay calm in more emotionally intense moments.
2. Ask yourself, “Is it possible this person is right?” Once you’ve calmed down to a good place mentally, ask yourself if they might have a legitimate criticism. No one is perfect, so it’s natural to be wrong about some things.
3. Thank them. This is the best way to disarm your critics. Simply thank them for the critique. After all, they could’ve done a lot of other things with their time but they chose to spend it on you. It really is a compliment if you think about it.
4. Move on. Regardless of whether the criticism was accurate or not, you should just move on. After you’ve gained whatever you can from the interaction, simply let it go. Focus on your next task; avoid wasting time looking backwards.
- If they were right: If the criticism was accurate, figure out a better way to do things the next time. It might take some time, but it’s worthwhile to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake twice. Once you have an improved course of action for next time, get on with the rest of your life.
- If they were wrong: If after contemplating the criticism you determine they are incorrect, then simply forget it and move on. There’s no reason to dwell on it any longer than it takes to determine if there’s any validity to it.
- Think about the most successful people you know and notice how they make it a habit to move on quickly. After all, they have more important things to do. And so do you!
5. Positive reinforcement. Each time you receive criticism and handle it appropriately, take the time to congratulate yourself. Any behavior that is rewarded is more likely to occur again in the future. Be proud that you had so much control over yourself and were even possibly able to gain something positive from the experience.
We all face criticism from a variety of sources on a regular basis. It’s challenging to receive criticism gracefully, but there’s an opportunity to gain something from it. Learn what you can from the interaction.
Use these techniques to handle criticism with class. After you’ve calmly considered the criticism, you are free to either adjust your strategy or simply dismiss it. Then, you can let it go and move right on to the next item in your life. Remember to reward yourself afterwards!