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How to Handle Criticism without Falling in a Heap

Criticism can come as a hurtful blow if it is delivered in the wrong way, and for this reason most people find it hard to take any form of negative feedback, even if it’s offered in a diplomatic way.

We’ve all been the subject of unfair personal attacks, and sometimes the memory of these unpleasant events can trigger feelings that impede our good judgment.

For some people, fear of criticism holds them back from living a fulfilled life. They don’t feel good about themselves at the best of times, so they aren’t able to differentiate between constructive criticism and attacks that are more personal in nature.

Some forms of feedback are actually beneficial, as they help us to grow, learn and reach our highest potential.

The Value of Pausing

When you receive negative feedback, often the first reaction is to get angry or defensive. We may feel hurt or betrayed, and want to punish or attack the other person, without really trying to understand what motivate their comments.

That’s why it’s often helpful to pause, take a breath and avoid the impulse to respondright away. It’s also important to understand that there’s real value in constructive criticism.

Identifying our weaknesses or areas in which we could improve helps us to be more successful in all areas of life.

The next time you receive this kind of feedback, don’t respond immediately. Say: ‘thanks for the feedback, I’ll have a think about what you said’.

This gives you time to ask questions to get further clarification, and formulate an appropriate response. On the other hand, when you respond in a reactive way, it stops you from making a sound and rational evaluation.

If you have a tendency to get caught up in negative emotion or have trouble thinking before you speak, this problem can be overcome with the help of a good hypnotherapist. Click here, if you want to talk with Hypnotherapist.

Pay Attention

Once you’ve created a bit of distance by pausing, you can come back and engage in proactive dialogue with the other person.

Sometimes when another person is talking, we want to jump in before they finish so we can start defending ourselves.

Try not to do this. Instead, listen closely, and allow them to say their piece without interruption. You’ll get your turn later on, so be patient.

Just concentrate on understanding the perspective the other person is offering. For example; let’s say you’re getting some feedback on your performance at work.

In most cases, this is a reflection on your work, your performance or your behaviour – not on you as a person. Pay attention and appreciate the opportunity to learn!

Be Opento Feedback and Advice

Some people find it difficult to accept any type of feedback because of past experiences that created trauma for them.

My client Jan had a very bad experience some years back where she was badly bullied in the workplace.

The trauma from that time kept coming back to haunt her to the degree that she was terrified of receiving any kind of performance review from her new workplace, for fear of being bullied again.

If you struggle to accept feedback, take some time to investigate your own thoughts and feelings.

Ask yourself: ‘What needs my attention right now? Often what we find are deep-seated feelings of fear, hurt or shame, and many times these feelings are the result of old baggage from the past.

In these cases, it can be helpful to remember that constructive feedback is not rejection; it’s useful information that allows us to course-correct if necessary.

What if the Feedback is Unfair?

Sometimes, as was the case of my client Jan, the feedback offered is unfair. If that is the case, you can take steps to resolve the situation yourself or seek assistance from your union or the appropriate department at your workplace.

So how exactly do you tell the difference between fair and unfair feedback?

When you’re receiving constructive feedback, it is usually focused on your performance or your behaviour.

On the other hand, if the other person is attacking you personally, such as calling you names or shouting at you, this is not something you need to take on board.

The key is to recognise the difference between the two, so you can respond appropriately. Whatever the case, you can learn to accept criticism in a respectful and dignified way that allows you to grow and improve both personally and professionally.