6 Ways To Stop Taking Criticism So Personally

Criticism is a necessary part of life in order to grow and improve, but when taken the wrong way, it can oftentimes lead to confrontation.

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People will critique nearly everything you do in life. Whether it be the way you write, the work you do, the performance you gave, the paper you wrote, or the skill you put to use, someone will always be waiting to provide the kind of feedback we don’t always want to hear. But just as it is important to be intentional when providing feedback, the same can be said about how you choose to respond to the critiques you receive.

Here are 8 ways to avoid taking a person’s criticism so personally:

Consider The Motive

Ask yourself: Is the person providing the feedback someone I have known for a while? If so, are they someone I oftentimes go to for advice? Have they offered me unconditional support throughout my journey? If the answer is ‘yes,’ chances are their critiques are genuine. On the other hand, there will always be people looking for opportunities to bring a person down so be conscious of the reason why this person might have felt the need to speak their mind on the matter.

Question Yourself Honestly

Allow yourself a moment to digest the criticism before responding. Do your best to ignore the feeling of being offended long enough to be introspective. Consider what you have heard and see if it fits into the situation. It can be easy to be taken over by the kind of denial that’s driven by fear of disappointment; however, by taking this approach, you are only hindering yourself.

Take a moment to replay the situation in your head and ask yourself whether or not you can honestly say you agree with the criticism meted out to you. Don’t ignore the possibility that an outsider could perhaps have seen something you have overlooked so easily up until this point.

Analyze The Circumstance

It’s possible the person providing the criticism is having a bad day. Before assuming it to be either accurate or of use to your life, take a moment to think about what could have led this person to choose the feedback dished out.

Consider The Person Who Said It

Similar to the first point, it is important that you consider who is feeding you the criticism. Is this someone who has skin in the game? Furthermore, is this a person who has authority over the situation? If neither of these scenarios applies to your relationship with this person, then perhaps their criticism holds less weight than you are adding to it. There is a fine line between critiques and full-on judgment.

Remember It Isn’t Always About You

In fact, one of the more important techniques when dishing out criticism is to make it less about the person and more about the work itself. It isn’t you that failed the test, but your approach to preparation for it that resulted in a failing grade. This can easily be used as a gateway to more strategic study habits and greater diligence. Understand that in most cases, criticism isn’t about you. If you have found yourself receiving troubling feedback or a mind-boggling email that has you doubting yourself more than you ever have before, consider scheduling a follow-up email or phone call. Allow yourself to adapt our response to fit the person on the other end of the conversation.

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally.”

Avoid Saying The First Thing That Comes To Mind

More often than not, we have a quick, emotional reaction to the feedback we receive from others and that only makes the situation worse for everyone. By allowing yourself a moment to take a deep breath, you are drastically reducing the chances of speaking out of impulse and ultimately, making a fool of yourself by missing the point of the feedback entirely. This is why taking a moment to pause and think if there is any truth to what they are saying and any opportunities to learn from their suggestions is a necessary part of the process. If there is, then consider their decision to share the criticism with you as a favor. If not, don’t give it another thought.

One of life’s realities is that you will always find detractors along the way — those who are trying to hold you back by way of criticism. When you come across these individuals, it is important that you do your best to take their words with a grain of salt. You can either use criticism to break you down or build you up and that choice is ultimately yours.

Written by

Writer. Poet. Philomath. Dog Mom. Traveler. Creator. Wanderer. Teacher. Empath. Author of “Unapologetically Human” - available on Amazon

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