Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Here's a hard truth on which you may or may not agree with me. Many among us hate criticisms so badly that we tend to keep ill feelings toward the person who give us negative or harsh judgments.
Related Post: How and Why Criticisms Affect Us
Most often than not, it really doesn't matter from whom we hear those words-- as criticisms can occur anywhere, at home, in school/ university, in the office, at church, even in public places among total strangers.
The instance we hear hurtful words (as we perceive it), we tend to consciously disregard the motive/s behind those words. We often fail to ask ourselves, "Was it something personal or is he/she just correcting me?"
And why do we neglect to make sensible assessment? It's because we human beings are naturally programmed to protect ourselves from harm--physically, emotionally, and socially. Furthermore, we are easily carried away by our emotions that our rational side of thinking could be clouded.
As we hear words against us, we feel those as direct personal attacks leading us to become either defensive or remorseful.
Criticisms aren't always given to destroy you. Nonetheless, since no one is going to pass this world without facing such situation, it is important that we learn how to face criticisms boldly.
How to Face Criticisms Boldly
Step 1 Expect For It
The first and most important thing to tell yourself is that you cannot expect everybody to be nice to you. Our world is full of predators who are prepared to attack your psyche anytime they want to, and either with good or bad reasons.
Expecting for criticisms does not mean you will be overly distrustful of all the people around you. But at least don't expect that your relationship with someone will always be easy and smooth. Learning how to manage interpersonal and interprofessional conflicts through effective communication techniques is vital.
It also does not mean you should isolate yourself from others because doing so can severely damage your social support which is an important element in managing life stressors.
Expecting that you'll sooner or later hear criticisms, can help you prepare for it emotionally. At least you won't be caught off guard and you are helping yourself avoid getting shocked when it happens to you.
Step 2 Learn to Differentiate Constructive Criticisms From Destructive Criticisms
Have you ever heard of constructive and destructive criticisms? If not, this could be a life-changing day for you with regards to how you handle such unpleasant situations or feelings.
As I mentioned earlier, not all criticisms intend to put you down. Although, out of your emotional nature you may perceive it as direct attack on you as a person, it may not always be the case.
Destructive criticisms are undeniably cruel and sarcastic, and are meant to insult you or put you down on a personal level. It is the dark side of criticisms.
The person who gives destructive remarks is most likely not to specify what makes him mad, disappointed or annoyed on you resulting to his hurtful judgments.
On the other hand, constructive criticisms are intended to correct or to improve your attitude or behavior. The person giving constructive criticism has well-meant reasons why he/she needed to bring to your attention specific matters by uttering seemingly hurtful words.
Accepting and reflecting on the constructive criticisms you receive can definitely help you grow-- personally or professionally. So it is prudent to wholeheartedly accept such remarks.
Step 3 Don't Get Too Emotional
I once heard somebody ask another, "Why do you think is our brain on top of our heart?" The other person didn't know the answer, so the man replied, "So you can first think before reacting."
Indeed it is true. How many times have you got carried away by intense and abrupt emotions that you ended up saying or doing things you eventually regret? Sounds familiar right?
Our emotions can be deceiving most of the time. If we always put our feelings first over our rationality we will soon get too exhausted dealing with life.
Our world is a battleground where only the strong thrive and survive. These people are able to protect themselves from getting emotionally unhealthy. There is in fact an abundance of scientific literature where stress is linked with poor health outcomes.
When being criticized, it would be best to first try to understand the person as to why he/she said those words. It would also be good if you can just listen for a while, and not to focus on the words but rather on the situation. This can help you become more objective and rational.
In times, when pure destructive criticisms are being pointed at you, it is wise to choose your battles wisely. What do I mean? Do you remember the adage, "The best way to win an argument is to keep silent?" Yup, that's true. Fighting another person who does not seem to have well-meant motives is useless, as well as time- and energy- consuming.
It will do you no good, so it's better to trash it. You might also want to read my post about effective communication techniques which I learned from studying Bachelor of Science in Nursing in a university.
If you decide to practice them, you might be surprised how well it can help you manage certain conflicts and build stronger relationship with others.
Step 4 Don't Let Criticisms Shape Your Future
If you are emotionally fragile, negative feedback can significantly damage your life. It means it can affect your relationship with your family members, friends, and colleagues.
In addition, it can even diminish your passion in life which is essential in achieving success. Don't let criticisms affect your sound judgement and behaviors. Instead, use it to your advantage to improve and achieve a better version of yourself.
Remember that criticisms, just like storms, are normal part of our existence. It may come from a loved one or an enemy. Accept the fact that you have no control over others' minds and behaviors.
It is you who have the power to adapt with life's adversaries and to change for the better in spite of the negative judgments you'll receive from others. Your life does not depend on what they think about you. You are solely accountable for your own future and destiny.
Related Post: Happiness, Optimism and Your Small Business Success
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