04 May How to make the most out of criticism
Criticism comes in many different shapes and sizes and is hard to digest but the simple truth is, we are all better for it. The challenge with criticism comes in learning to accept it positively but with practice we can all learn to make the most out of criticism.
When faced with feedback it is our bodies natural response is to go into fight or flight which brings us to our very first challenge – staying calm. The ability to stay calm and truly open yourself up to feedback is the first step in learning to make the most of it. One great way to help your mind and body stay calm is to breath. If you feel yourself wanting to interrupt or react, take a breath. Another proven technique is to write down what you hear and what you can potentially take away from the conversation. Staying calm also allows you to partake in active listening which is when you focus on what the person is saying opposed to getting defensive or trying to think of a response while they’re still talking!
Now that you have heard the feedback or criticism you must process it and decide if it constructive or destructive. According to skillsyouneed.com Constructive criticism “is designed to point out your mistakes, but also show you where and how improvements can be made. Constructive criticism should be viewed as useful feedback that can help you improve yourself rather than put you down.” In a perfect world this is how everyone would deliver criticism but every now and then we are also subjected to destructive criticism which according to skillsyouneed.com “is often just thoughtlessness by another person, but it can also be deliberately malicious and hurtful. Destructive criticism can, in some cases, lead to anger and/or aggression.” In either scenario allow yourself to sit on the feedback to gather thoughts an internalize what information was given. If someone has presented, you with destructive criticism try to remove the tone and emotion and work at taking what was said at face value, was there any truth to what was said? Try to take a step back and see if anything can be gained despite the manner the feedback was given. In the situation of constructive feedback try to embrace and further the conversation is there anything else that can be learned? If you feel the person providing feedback is showing compassion and with good intentions try to see this as an opportunity to improve yourself and your work and practice gratitude along the way.
One and maybe the biggest challenge will be learning to not take criticism personally. You may not always be right, but neither is the person giving you feedback. Learning to not take things personally comes from trusting your own judgement as inc.com says “It’s also good to remember that someone else’s opinion isn’t necessarily fact. There are times when you need to trust your own judgment.” Once you can remove the emotion and see the criticism for just the advice in between you will be well on your way to making the most out of criticism. Allow the feedback to help you learn and grow!
Lastly, it’s important to remember criticism can be hard to hear even if it is said positively or constructively. Allow yourself to feel the emotions and process them without letting them bring you down or anger you. Practicing compassion, selfcare and reminding yourself of your strengths during these times can help outweigh any negative emotions.