‘Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” ~ Winston Churchill
I have seldom found people, who are open to criticism; who like to be criticized. We all become defensive and go into a denial shell once someone tries to criticize us. This perhaps is human instinct – to defend ourselves at any cost. We have picked up this instinct while living in Stone Age, surrounded by all those dangerous beasts and animals, and even today we persist with our defense. But the greatest mistake we can commit in our lives is not to open ourselves to criticism. Criticism is like that bitter pill which no one likes to eat but it cures us from our ills.
Someone told me a long time back – ‘only the LUCKIEST of us get the correct feedback on time. But only the SMARTEST of us appreciate the important of the feedback’. Not all feedbacks are positive; in fact they are more often negative and negative feedbacks are ‘criticism’. Now please read the text in bold again. If you are getting criticized and the criticism is true then you are one of those lucky ones. But question is are you also smart enough to appreciate it?
Self improvement from criticism has three steps –
1. Open your self
It is the first and most important step for self development. Please drop your guard against the negative feedbacks and come out of the denial mode. Do not involve emotionally and start taking it personally. I know it is hard not to take criticism personally at times, but we must try it.
Never attach ego with the criticism – Managing ego is very important. Our ego is biggest hurdle in the path of self development. DrLeon F. Seltzer, a Ph. D. in Psychology has written in his article – “Criticism, even well-intended criticism, can be understood as a direct assault on our ego. “
Best thing in this situation is to take it as a feedback and delete the word ‘criticism’ from our dictionary. Once we have opened ourselves to criticism, next step is to validate it. Dr Leon has further mentioned in his article – ‘If we’re to overcome our habitual defensiveness to criticism, we must first learn how to become more self-validating.’
2. Validate the criticism
Not all criticisms are well intended; some of them are indeed personal in nature. But we would not know which ones are well intended and which one are the personal unless the criticism is analyzed properly with unbiased and open mind. It is for this reason, we must first open ourselves.
In the validation, pick up the ones you believe are valid points. As for the invalid criticism, please do not throw them in the dust bin now. For them go back to the critic and ask why a negative feedback was given in the first place. The discussion with the critic will have the added advantage to cleat misunderstandings, if any. Also, a discussion with the critic will help you understand the other’s perspective.
3. Accept the valid criticism
This must be the easiest step of all three. Make a plan for improvement for all the valid criticism. Invalid criticism (or false criticism) is even easier to handle, simply ignore them. Do not offend or develop hostility towards the ones who have falsely criticized because negative thoughts always drag a person backwards.
If you like this article, then please comment and let me know how you find it. It will give me valuable feedback and hopefully I will be able to write better article. Please also share how do you deal with criticism yourself?
Related Readings –
- Do not Afraid of Aloneness. Enjoy and Appreciate it.
- Control your mind to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts.
- Are you living an Unhealthy Life?
- Reduce Stress with 10 Finest Methods.