It's never fun to deal with criticism, whether it's coming from a well-meaning English teacher or your joking friend. If the purpose of this criticism is to build, you can use this criticism to become someone with more character. And if this criticism is meant only to hurt you, just ignore it like you're abandoning a bad habit. Then how to deal with it? Read the following steps to find out.
Method 1 of 3: Changing Your Perspective
Step 1. Know what the difference is between critical criticism and constructive criticism
This is the first step to dealing with criticism. You need to know where this feedback is coming from and understand the intentions of the person giving it to you. If it's from a teacher or boss, there's a good chance this person just wants you to get better; but if this criticism comes from someone we consider a friend, or even from an enemy, you should consider whether or not that person is important to you.
- If you believe that this criticism is completely unfounded, completely false, and intended only to hurt you, you can skip ahead to part two to learn how to deal with constructive criticism.
- Constructive criticism, ideally, is meant to help you. Criticism that drops only aims to hurt.
- Try to focus on the message and the way it is delivered. It can be hard to understand that someone is telling you something sensible to do if this person is busy yelling at you or acting like you're giving him a hard time.
Step 2. Accept that you are not perfect
This is the right way to deal with criticism. If you want to be receptive to a little feedback, you can't keep thinking that you can't do anything wrong. Nobody is perfect, so if you think you are perfect, then you are nothing. (Hahaha…) So really: everyone has flaws, and if you can't see it in yourself, it means you haven't looked at yourself carefully enough.
- Make a list of your top 10 weaknesses. Yes, it is true. 10! Can you think of 10 things that need improvement? How about 15? This exercise is not meant to make you feel bad about yourself; but just wanted to let you see that there is still room for improvement.
- Think about everyone you know. Can you name a perfect person who is not a movie star? And remember that even a movie star has some flaws, even if they may seem very minor.
Step 3. Don't take it personally
If you want to know the best way to deal with criticism, then you shouldn't take it personally. If your boss says you've been a little less productive lately than usual, it's not because he or she thinks you're fat and lazy; but because he wants you, his employees, to do a better job. If your best friend says that you tend to pay less attention when he or she is talking to you, don't think that your friend is referring to you as a horrible, undead friend; he just wanted to communicate a little better.
- If a critique is constructive, then its purpose is to guide you and help you to improve, not to bring you down and make you feel unworthy.
- If your teacher gives important feedback in writing, it doesn't mean that he or she thinks you're stupid or annoying in class; this is done because your teacher thinks you are busy if you need to explain.
Step 4. Try not to be too sensitive
If you're always crying, defending yourself, and often feeling disappointed when someone gives you helpful feedback, then you should start practicing not to be overly sensitive. Try to accept your flaws and learn to hear what things you can improve on. If you're never willing to improve, then you're going to continue like a flat line, and you don't want to be like this, do you? Try to focus on the message and the intention to help you rather than just focusing on all the "bad" or "hurtful" things that are said to you.
- Notice where this message is coming from. It's possible that your boss sent you a short email without intending to startle you or make you feel bad. Your boss may want you to do your job better.
- Control your emotions. You don't have to cry every time someone says something negative.
- Build your reputation. If people view you as being sensitive, it means they don't like telling you the truth, and you certainly don't want people to feel like they have to be on guard when they're talking to you.
Method 2 of 3: Dealing with Dropping Criticism
Step 1. Try to understand what is being said to you
If you want to deal with criticism, then you have to understand the message behind it. If you are of the opinion that criticism is meant for constructive purposes, then you should detail it so you can determine what to do next. At times, you may only focus on the painful side of the feedback and your self-esteem may be so hurt that you can't see what you're really going through.
- Of course, you are not satisfied with a "C" for your English paper. But is your teacher telling you that you are a stupid and terrible writer? Probably not. Your teacher wants to tell you that you need to do more research to support your point of view, and provide more supporting evidence for your claim.
- If your friend tells you that you're a self-obsessed person, this will surely hurt you. But could there be anything good behind this message? Of course: your friend is telling you to be more empathetic, to think more about others and think less about yourself.
Step 2. Notice if there is any truth in it
If this input comes from someone important to you, then you should consider the possibility that there may actually be some truth in what he or she is saying. You may even have heard the same saying before. If ten people tell you that you're selfish, or if your last three girlfriends say you're emotionally insensitive, they can't be wrong, right? Reconsider the possibility that they might want to say something to you.
Step 3. Make a plan to make improvements
Alright, so you've decided that your English teacher, your boss, your boyfriend, or your best friend are completely right, or at least they are. Now, you have to write down the things you need to improve, and make a plan to do them. This can take a long time, it's never too late to start. Once you have a plan, as a way to match your expectations and actions, you can start doing what the criticism says and become a better person.
- If your English teacher is right about the need for you to do more research, make plans for the next one to reread the literature before you make an argument.
- If your boss says that you are less organized at work, start organizing your desk, Inbox, and your electronic worksheets until you feel more able to manage them well.
- If your boyfriend says you're demanding too much, give your boyfriend a chance to spend some time alone or with your other friends.
Step 4. Thank the person who spoke the truth (and also for being kind)
If you receive criticism in a friendly and helpful way, or you just want to be honest and clear, thank this person and say that you appreciate the fact that this person has said something that could make you a friend, girlfriend, student, or a better expert.
Saying thank you to people who have given you honest criticism is also a sign of maturity. Accept everything and say "thank you" even if you want to grit your teeth
Step 5. Stop making excuses
If someone gives you reasonable criticism, stop making excuses as to why this person is completely wrong, especially if you know that there is truth in their words. If you keep defending yourself and making excuses, then this person won't be able to get what he's really trying to tell you, and you won't be able to get the information you need to truly improve yourself. It's natural for us to want to defend ourselves and feel like we've never done anything wrong, but it's important to listen to the other person before you interrupt to prove that you're the perfect person.
- If someone is saying something that can help you improve, don't say, "But actually, I already did…" unless you don't think this person is saying the right thing at all.
- If your teacher tells you that you should try harder, don't give a weak excuse for being lazy. Instead, pay attention to the input and work towards it.
- It takes maturity for someone to stay quiet and not make excuses for saying why someone else is at fault when you get your input right.
Step 6. Remember that constructive criticism can make you a better person
Of course, it can be difficult to deal with even the best-intentioned criticism, especially if you believe that you are perfect and can't make mistakes. But if you really want to be an awesome person, remind yourself that recognizing your flaws and mistakes and making plans to overcome them will make you an even more amazing person.
If you hear constructive criticism, accept it! To quote Kelly Clarkson: "Anything (criticism) that doesn't kill you will make you stronger."
Method 3 of 3: Dealing with Dropping Criticism
Step 1. Find out the real motives of this person
If you feel that the criticism is meant to be down and hurt, then you can find out why this person said that so you can feel better. Maybe a girl is jealous of your new outfit and says you're dressed like a bum. Maybe this person is telling you that you're not a good writer out of jealousy that you've just published a story. Maybe this person is in a bad mood and is feeling annoyed with someone. Whatever the reason, remind yourself that this has nothing to do with who you really are.
Try to put yourself in other people's shoes. Know how this person is. Even if the words are still stinging, they can make you feel better. If your coworker yells at you for no reason, then you remember that he or she is in the process of getting a divorce, then you'll be able to understand more easily, right?
Step 2. Look for the seeds of truth
Perhaps this criticism was conveyed in a very rude, inappropriate, and hurtful way, and above all what was said was completely untrue. Maybe your coworker says you're a "troublemaker" or your friend says you're "very selfish" which you think has absolutely no reason. Think again, do you need to improve your organizational skills? Have you been known to be a bit selfish all this time? If so, you may have to consider your actions without feeling hurt by the way this criticism is presented to you.
Of course, it can be very difficult to deal with someone properly if they are yelling at you, scolding you, or generally treating you with disrespect. This will make it even more impossible to take seriously what they have to say. But if you want to be a bigger person, try to find the underlying message if there is one
Step 3. Remember that our words can never hurt you
What does the message from your mother say that "words" can never hurt you? Of course at that time you may have been very innocent, but now that you are older, these words make more sense. Dropping criticism isn't made of bullets, swords, or atomic bombs -- it's just a string of words connected together in a way designed to make you feel really bad. So remind yourself that criticism is just a bunch of words.
Criticism can't steal your money, slap you in the face, or destroy your car. So don't let this get to you
Step 4. Stay confident
The most important thing you can do is maintain your confidence. No matter what other people say about you, you have to stay strong, remember who you are, and don't let other people influence your self-esteem. Feeling confident doesn't mean that you don't have flaws, but it does mean that you love yourself and how you look. If you really believe in yourself, you won't make people who hate you make you sad and feel small about yourself.
- If you are not happy with yourself, ask why. Make a list of some of the things you don't like about yourself and find out what you can change.
- Feeling confident also means accepting the things you can't change about yourself. If you don't like how tall you are, have you made a plan to keep slouching for the rest of your life, or are you starting to like your long legs from now on?
- Hanging out with people who make you feel good about yourself will also make you feel more confident. If you hang out with people who always make you sad, well, of course you won't be able to feel good about yourself.
Step 5. Keep doing what you are doing
So…you've heard that someone says you're a snitch. Will you be less involved in class? Or your coworker once told you that you are a very Type A person. Would you stop being who you are if you could? Of course not. If you are facing untruthful criticism and you know that people are saying it simply because they are jealous, angry or have a bad spirit, you don't need to change your routine just to please these people.
- If this criticism is completely unfounded, then the best you can do is ignore it.
- Don't be disappointed if you can't get rid of these negative words right now. It takes practice to stop caring about what other people think.
- If a critique turns out to be wrong, simply ignore what was said or contact the person who sent it.
- Criticism means constructive advice by pointing out your faults. If you are facing insults, read the related wikiHow articles.
- You still have to be polite to other people so they don't use harsh words towards you.
- Don't keep telling someone that they're in the wrong and "don't make you mad," this doesn't make a difference whether they're right or not.
- People may think you're weird if you ask other people to criticize you.