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How to Stop Taking Criticism Personally

Does anyone really like criticism? I don’t think so. As humans, we want to be liked, fit-in, and interact positively with others. So, naturally, when someone begins to criticize us or our work, we can take it personally. Sometimes we might overreact, get defensive, or feel the need to attack back.

First off–let’s not.

It’s understandable why you’d feel this way, but reacting negatively to criticism isn’t going to help anything. Think about it. What’s the reason for the criticism? Could you become better from adapting to the suggestions? More often than not–yes you could. Think of it as an opportunity to improve.

How to Take Criticism Positively

  1. Stop your first reaction: it’s normal to feel angry, attacked, and defensive, but these emotions will only intensify the situation. They don’t allow you to actively listen to the feedback. Stopping these negative emotions is the first necessary step when receiving criticism.
  2. Keep in mind the reasoning for feedback and try to understand: quickly remind yourself about the benefits of criticism. Overall improvement–this can apply to your skills, productivity, relationships, or expectations. While your listening to the feedback, don’t interrupt. Actively listen to the feedback, and ask for clarification after they finish talking.
  3. Say thank you: even if they come across harsh, it’s the polite thing to do. Acknowledging your critic’s time and effort regarding your feedback will be appreciated.
  4. Adapt the changes: this is your opportunity to do better and to be better. It won’t go unnoticed if you actually try to apply the feedback and make a change. You’ll also feel more confident in the work you produce because you’re putting more effort and energy into it. If you feel like you may need more guidance, schedule a follow-up meeting.

Written by GUADS staff member Toni with contributions from www.zenhabits.net and www.hrb.org 

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