How To Deal With Criticism?

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

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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

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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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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Hilary Tan says:

    Tbh I don’t handle criticism well. I was yelled at yesterday by a work colleague and it ruined the rest of my evening. It was hard to shut off my mind after work as I kept replaying everything in my head. I tend to stay up very late because it’s the late night hours that allow me to process my emotions. There is something calming about peace and quiet during these late night hours.

    It could be that we are people pleasers and don’t want to upset people, and thus, we take their feedback very personally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I use the term ‘feedback’ rather than criticism. When I receive it, the first thing I say is thank you, and then take some time to mull it over rather than immediately responding. And I don’t give myself a hard time, as it’s always easier to know what should have been done with hindsight and an external viewpoint. When I’m giving feedback, I ask first to check if it’s a good time and if the person is ready to hear it.

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  3. I’ve struggled for a long time with feeling inherently defective, so while I almost expect criticism, I still take it hard- working on this though πŸ™‚. I love @charliefarlie99 suggestion of using feedback.

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  4. Girrrrrl we’re the same of course! I never thought this about myself but my ex used to point it out, and I definitely get upset if any comments come at me that are less than essentially some form of worship 🀣 However I think I also react strongly because of being bullied in the past and just deep-seated insecurities. And finally, I really appreciate the way you share criticism gently. Because I think most people actually do come across as really mean and don’t take the time to be thoughtful about it. And I think that makes all the difference actually. I’m still thankful that you pointed out to me how I can include a link in my Instagram stories and I know you were nervous to tell me but you did it perfectly!!

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  5. Nice one and very informative…❀️

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  6. Ella says:

    I am working on how I take criticism too, especially the one that isn’t constructive. I am also learning that even if something is meant as an insult, it doesn’t mean that I can’t learn from it. If I don’t learn something about me in the situation, I certainly learn from the person talking to me. This has lower my reactivity towards what other people think and say about me and I think that it has also made me a better person. Thanks for the post, I was actually going through a criticism crisis, so to speak recently. Its nice to know you are not alone working through something.

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  7. petespringerauthor says:

    Nobody likes criricism, especially if we feel someone is judging us. I had a great relationship with most of my students’ parents during my teaching career, but occasionally I’d have one be overly critical and go off on me. It only happened a few times, but it bothered me. Once I was tutoring kids on my own time after school, and this parent came in and started screaming at me unprovoked. The kids’ eyes got so big because she was rather frightening in her anger. Over time, I learned to let a lot of it go because usually, it came from miserable people who were angry at everyone. It bothers us more when it’s someone we love or whose opinion matters to us.

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  8. Aahna Yadav says:

    Looks like I am in the same boat as you… Even I hate getting criticised for something that I put hard work into… And then I blurt put some angry words and feel guilty immediately… This is a really helpful post. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this insightful post. I have struggled with this too and holding people accountable. Have you read Twelve and Half by Gary Vaynerchuck? He offers some wonderful insights into this subject and many others

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bosssybabe says:

    To answer your question, I deal with it… whether I deal with it well is another question lol… I tend to take criticism personally but I do end up using it to my advantage… My automatic reaction is to always take it personal… I start to think it’s me as a person that’s a failure, that they don’t like my work, they see issues with my productivity etc.. but often times, I find criticism comes from a space of wanting everyone as a whole to improve… all in all, because I know how I work (especially in a setting where I am an employee), I tend to keep bosses and coworkers at arms length because I know I am someone who takes things personally, especially if we are closer in relation it tends to murk the waters a bit and that causes confusion and resentment when criticism comes from that source… hope I am making sense!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. such an important read Ru. It’s so hard for most of but truly where we learn and grow!πŸ’–πŸ’–
    love his quote.. Great truths shared! πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pooja G says:

    I think I get too defensive when I get criticised and it’s definitely something I have to work on. For me, it’s the opposite of your experience. I think my parents shielded me too much and never pushed me beyond my comfort/limit. And that made me sensitive to criticism. Great post- gave me a lot to think about!

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  13. I handle criticism well. I’ve kind of learned to use the critics for my improvement and over the years it has gotten easier to take them as they come.

    Even when I give out criticism, I try to make it more casual just so that it’s received well, more like a positive critic than mockery

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