Psychology

Coping with Criticism



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No one, absolutely no one, likes to be on the receiving end of a complaint, a criticism, or a bad review. We all tremble when the finger of responsibility is pointed at us. This is easy enough to understand as nothing stings the ego like being told we've made a bad decision or supervised a failed project or performed below expectations. It's even more difficult when the criticism turns out to be correct.

But mistakes happen. Arguments arise. Complaints, both legitimate and exaggerated, arrive day after day. Customers are unhappy. Nobody is on target all the time. Admit your mistakes before anyone else has a chance to point them out. Laugh about them if you can. Never seek to minimize the impact they've had.

So how do you handle the knowledge that nobody's perfect but criticism is hard to swallow?

1. Admit readily to your own mistakes

Readily admitting your fault is one of the best ways anyone has ever invented for shifting momentum when blame is being distributed. Be the first to admit mistakes. Everyone else will rush to reassure you, "No, it's not so bad; no, it doesn't really matter; no, they probably were to blame; no, it all turned out fine in the end." By admitting to your mistake, you are setting the example for others. You can't expect from others what you're not willing to do yourself. This is true for all relationships whether it be inside a company, a family, or a group of friends.

2. Accept your share of criticism

Each one of us has to deal with a certain amount of criticism from time to time. There is just no way to escape it. The more we try to escape it, the worse it gets. Thus, just learn to deal with it and make the best out of it. In every criticism we get, there is a least one grain of truth in it. Take it for what it is and try to learn from it.

3. Don't allow unjustified criticism to immobilize you

Acknowledge the fact that there are people in this world who have a need to be critical. Instead of looking for positive qualities in people, they keep focusing on negatives. This is an unfortunate tendency that some people exhibit as they can accomplish much more with honey than with criticism. Don't act on it right away and as if it is an emergency. Unjustified criticism should not be taken personally and allowed to immobilize you. It is just somebody's observation about you and their opinion. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion for what it is worth it. While you can not change other people, you can certainly change your attitude towards criticism and not allow unjustified criticism get to you.

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