Another week is here and as much as I want to be motivated I am still reeling from how short that weekend was. This post is inspired by something I read recently in fellow blogger Ella’s post that got me thinking. She shared the following quote in her post –
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” –Norman Vincent Peale
Criticism and me
The quote got me thinking about how badly I personally take criticism. I’ve grown up with parents who pushed me to always be the best and in the process often criticized me. While I am not a fan of their parenting style, I appreciate that they did this in their own funny way to keep me motivated. But owing to a history of having so often been criticized, I slowly shut myself off from all criticism even positive.
Recently, I was discussing something related to my business with my mother and she criticized a decision of mine, and I was SO enraged. I ended up saying something rude to her at that moment that I regretted instantly. (before you start guessing what I might have said – I said that she has no business acumen) I hate getting angry because right after I lose my temper, I feel so so drained out and guilty. Looking back, I realize that criticism is something that I don’t take well. When criticized I shut off or get angry or become defensive or distance myself from that person.
I am also very awkward with sharing constructive criticism because I am scared of inadvertently offending people. I try to sugarcoat the criticism as much as possible. I avoid generally criticizing people because I hate confrontation. Eg: A vendor I am working with messed up the packaging of a product twice and I am avoiding having a conversation with him about it. ARGH.
How To Improve
This is something I really want to work on and do better at. The quote really puts it all into perspective. But there’s a difference between constructive criticism and plain negativity. Identifying who is a naysayer and who is trying to help can be a challenge. We often get the two mixed up. We ignore the helpful criticism from a well-wisher and let the negativity of a naysayer get us down. It is also important to identify false praise and not let it get to your head. I think you get better at identifying the difference between these with age and experience.
- The first step is to not be defensive when receiving criticism. If you are able to calmly listen and absorb the advice being offered – you can think it through and see whether it is useful or not. If it is something you agree with – thank the person for their advice. If it is something you don’t agree with, either calmly share your opposing viewpoint or let them know that you’ll think about it later.
- The second step is to set your ego aside and actually analyze the advice offered.
This is a self-improvement project that I have undertaken for the year – to accept both criticism and praise better.
How do you deal with criticism both giving and receiving it? Do you let it get you down or use it to better yourself?
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