Nobody likes to receive criticism. It’s typically negative and, depending on who’s giving it, can be a little harsh. As much as we’d like to avoid it, feedback of any kind is essential. It helps us learn and strengthen our skills. The problem comes when we’re faced with it and take it personally. This prevents us from taking anything meaningful out of it. That, in turn, can make us closed off from all critique. Here’s how to handle criticism in a way that benefits you no matter the situation.
Watch your initial reaction
Whenever you get criticism, it’s easy to get offended, use it as a way to shame yourself, or let it shake your confidence. If you’ve put your heart and soul into a project and someone points out anything “wrong” with it, it’s easy to focus on your pride instead of what the person said. These reactions are normal, but don’t let them take over. They’re temporary.
Revisit the critique
Because your first reaction is typically incorrect, it helps to take a step back and really look at what was said to you. Did you read too much into it? Did you project your insecurities onto feedback? Rereading or repeating what was said will provide a fresh interpretation. Reading this to someone else will help even more.
Know what to take and what to reject
Not all feedback that’s given to you is constructive or valuable. Saying something sucks but giving no real reason as to why is not serviceable in any way. Whenever you come across that kind of “critique,” kindly ignore it.
But not all unhelpful feedback is that direct. You have to learn to discern between good and bad. Ask yourself “Is this helpful? Do they have a point? Do I agree with it?”
Use it to learn from your mistakes
The whole point of criticism is (or should be) to improve a person’s performance. So, if you’ve determined that there is some valuable input, apply it, and keep in mind that it doesn’t make you wrong.
Criticism is inescapable. No one is perfect, but we can get as close as possible with some improvement and levelheadedness.