We all deal with critics. I have a few. Goggle my name if you don’t believe me. Some people are married to critics. Some people are the sons and daughters of their biggest critics. Critics are found in the marketplace, in athletics, online, neighborhoods, and pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Like the dandelions in my yard these days. The point of life isn’t to avoid criticism. That would be impossible unless you lock yourself in your basement, which will create a whole new set of issues for you. A better aim of life is to handle the predictable and sometimes relentless criticism you will inevitably receive in healthy ways. Here are six steps.
- Listen to the constructive variety of criticism.
Some criticism (destructive) is mean and not helpful. Some criticism (constructive) is given in love because the giver genuinely wants what is best for you. Listen to constructive criticism. Ask good questions to clarify. Seek advice on how to improve. Thank the person for sharing.
- Address constructive criticism.
You understand the constructive criticism comes from a trusted source and is full of truth and grace. Make a plan to improve. Daily implement the plan. Request additional feedback. Become better.
- Stop being so sensitive.
The world is tough. Be tougher. Getting defensive and upset doesn’t help you deal well with either constructive or destructive criticism. Don’t allow an imperfect person, especially a hurting, dysfunctional person who is dishing out destructive criticism, determine the quality of your day or the quality of your life. Brush it off and move on to bigger and better things.
- Consider the source.
Not all criticism is created equal. If your best friend says something full of grace and truth—listen and learn. If a stranger or somebody who hates you or a person dealing with their own issues or a person who is impossible to please offers some harsh feedback—let go and laugh. Healthy people help people. Hurting people hurt people. Consider the source.
- Don’t let the critics continue to hurt you.
So harsh words are spoken by others to you and about you. Even with callus-like skin developed in step three—the sting still can penetrate and hurt. You are human after all. But it doesn’t have to keep hurting. You have a choice to move on. You don’t control what words come your way. But you do control what you do with them. Option “A” is to let them continue to hurt and harm. Option “B” is to let them go and listen for better words. Your choice. Choose option “B”.
- Don’t be a critic.
You have better uses of your time. Like being a servant. Being an encourager. Being grateful. Recognizing the imperfections in others and not expecting perfection from them. They will be less anxious and you will be less disappointed. And both those are good things.