People start out with a good idea and seemingly unshakable confidence until some individual takes the wind out of their sails and criticizes their work. Even if it was just some constructive feedback that was being offered, what often happens is that people give up on the goals that they set for themselves because of the criticism.
All of a sudden, they lose their composure and they shrink away into a puddle of self-pity. The problem is not that they received the criticism, but that they did not know how to deal with it. Here is some insight into embracing constructive criticism.
1. It Serves as a Source of Motivation
Dale Carnegie once said,
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
This is easier said than done, but it is also true.
When we get criticized, our first response is to be defensive and we want to attack back. We so desperately want to justify our work or our situation that we forget to tap into the motivation that the criticism can provide.
Instead of jumping on your high horse and resenting the person that is constructively criticizing your work, take that anger and put it to some good use. Improve on yourself, no one is perfect and if you really listen, you’ll be able to spot the areas where you can improve.
2. You Open your Mind to New Possibilities
When you don’t receive criticism for anything, then there is a good chance that you might be missing out on an opportunity to build better ideas and a creative mindset. We are creatures of habit and once we get into our groove, we start to dig ourselves a trench.
The longer you dig at that trench, the harder it becomes to get out. A good dose of criticism can knock you out of your stupor. It can help you open your eyes to the horizons that you have been missing.
I know it’s hard to soak up critique because it may feel like an attack on yourself. But, if you can shove your ego aside and listen objectively, you might be surprised at how much constructive criticism can offer!
3. You Become a Critical Listener
Not all criticism is good and you don’t have to take everything that people say and beat yourself up about it. I was very sensitive to criticism of my work. Especially, because I thought I gave my work “my all”.
I felt that if anyone had anything bad to say about my work that they didn’t know what they were talking about. I started to become sour towards those people and missed out on some very valuable insight.
It was only after I learned how to listen critically that I was able to use the criticism to my advantage.
4. It can Improve your Relationships
I once had a friend who told me that offence is always taken, it is never given. Although it sounds kind of cliché, it is your choice to resent the person who is being critical or not. You can choose to listen and grow from their constructive criticism. And who knows? Maybe you could end up making an honest friend along the way.
If you are anything like me, you probably hate it when people are dishonest with you. If people didn’t criticize my work, they would essentially be lying to me.
By allowing the criticism, I have been able to speak more freely to others. I don’t hold grudges anymore and people have come to trust me more. They know that they can be honest with me and that reputation has served me well.
5. It can Reduce your Stress Levels
When you are constantly worried about what other people are going to say about you, you start stressing. You cannot allow other peoples’ thoughts and opinions to ruin your day and impact your health.
People will always have opinions and views. There will be times that their views will differ from yours. That does not mean either of you is correct or incorrect. That just means you both hold different views and that is perfectly okay!
The sooner you can learn to accept that people are different and that not everyone thinks like you, the sooner you will be able to embrace criticism.
6. You can Accept Yourself for who you are
Not everyone is perfect and if you spend your life trying to be perfect, you are going to miss out on living. When you receive criticism, you are reminded of the fact that you have flaws and that is okay.
Everyone has flaws, but some people tend to work on their flaws more easily than others. Their secret is not that they have better will power. But rather, they understand that they don’t have to justify themselves all the time.
When you feel like you have to justify your every action, then you will not grow. Being open to constructive criticism means that you are open to change and that you aren’t too proud to accept help either.
7. Separating the Chaff from the Wheat
Indeed, some people are just out to get you and break you down. They will hurl undue criticism your way for any reason and you need to know when this is happening.
You need to be able to discern between toxic criticism and constructive criticism. One of the clearest indicators of the toxic kind is when the criticism is aimed at your character and designed to hurt you, rather than build you up.
Sometimes it’s harder to know the difference. These are the times where you need to enlist the help of your trusted advisors and closest friends. If they are your friends, they will tell you the truth in love.
8. Set your Tone for how you Receive Criticism
Taking criticism is one thing, but you don’t have to stand there and be humiliated in the process. If anyone wants to criticize your work, they are free to do so if they do it professionally. It is your job to be assertive and let the people know that you are open to criticism, but that you won’t stand for rude or arrogant behaviour.
Everyone has their flaws and everyone can improve in one way or another. Letting your peers know that you are aware of your flaws and welcome any insights into things you are missing, is liberating.
Although it might take some time to adjust to criticism as being healthy, you will be better off for it. You will start to grow as a person both in your social life and your professional life. It allows you to be free and not worry about what other people say about you, but rather use what they say to your benefit.