Coping with Criticism

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The world is full of critics. There are many times in life in which each and every one of us will be criticized for one reason or another. The manner in which we handle a certain situation, our lifestyle, our choice of friends, and our appearance are just a few of the examples of things which can, and often do, fall under the scrutiny of others. There is little we can do to avoid it, yet there is much we can do in terms of changing our perspective of criticism, and our reaction to it.

First and foremost, it is crucial to remember that every person on the face of the earth has opinions which they are entitled to, including ourselves. Human nature dictates that, at times, these opinions will be expressed, whether they are solicited or not. There then comes a point when we are forced to make a decision. Do we take the criticism to heart and let it affect our feelings about ourselves? Or, do we decide to believe that the criticism is based on opinion, not fact, and therefore, simply move forward secure in the knowledge of who we are? The fact of the matter is that most individuals will opt for a combination of both. Initially, we may be hurt by the comments of others. Later, however, we are hopefully able to set the hurt aside and be comfortable with ourselves as unique individuals, and the manner in which we live our lives.

Criticism can indeed be hurtful, but it does have some positive attributes. Taken in the right context, criticism can be an opportunity for growth, and a tool for examining ourselves and our motives. For example, perhaps we have been making poor decisions in our lives which are proving to be detrimental to ourselves and others. The criticism of others, particularly those who are hurt as a result of our behavior, may force us to investigate what is causing us to choose to go down a road in life that does not serve us well. The realization that we have strayed off the straight and narrow may prompt us to put a stop to the actions and behaviors that are causing us, and our loved ones, harm. People tend to become defensive whenever they are criticized, but it can prove to be a catalyst for positive life changes when viewed in an open and honest manner.

Criticism is an inevitable aspect of being a human being, for there will always be people all too willing to offer their opinions on the actions we take, and the way in which we go about the business of living. However, seen in its proper perspective, criticism can be an aid and a positive force in the betterment of ourselves.

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