Hi! I'm Milan, an LA based founder and writer, architecting impact-first businesses.
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You can never be truly successful without the input of others. When taken in stride, criticism can improve relationships and make us more effective at what we choose to do.
In the era of social media, it's far too easy for criticism to come your way, as anyone who has spent a decent amount of time on Twitter can attest to. If you don't learn to deal with criticism well, you'll spend your life letting other people define who you are.
Above all else, if you learn to take criticism well, you will gain a powerful tool that can propel you forward personally and professionally.
Types of Criticism
The ability to respond positively to criticism requires being able to identify it. Here are the various forms of criticism that you might encounter:
- Aesthetic Criticism
This type of criticism is part of the broader field of aesthetics, which has to do with determining what is beautiful, how it connects to our emotions and other issues concerning human sentiment. Aesthetic considerations have a place in most parts of human life, so there is potential for much criticism.
- Logical Criticism
A logical criticism is an objection to an idea, argument, action, or situation because it does not make rational sense. The critique usually refers to assumptions, coherence, implications, and intent.
- Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism is a suggestion for improvement—how things could be done better or more acceptably. Good constructive feedback helps you grow and learn and creates an open-minded culture.
- Destructive Criticism
Destructive criticism is negative feedback that directly hurts people and their creations. It often takes the form of an attack on a person's character or personality or an emotional outburst. It may be based on prejudice or result from the critic's frustrations and insecurities.
Receiving criticism can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By adopting these key traits, you’ll be able to handle any criticism effectively:
- A strong self-esteem
- Emotional intelligence
- A solution-oriented mindset
Constructive vs Destructive Criticism
Each person is unique, and so are their opinions. As an entrepreneur, I find criticism inevitable. The people I work with have differing experiences, mindsets, and creativity, often leading to disagreements and opposing thoughts within the team. To benefit from such conflicts, I engage in civil discourse within my team to give everyone a fair chance to express their ideas and constructively criticize each other's viewpoints.
Constructive criticism is a method of providing feedback that intends to improve. To be effective, it must be addressed in a way that acknowledges the person's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, it should provide focus on areas for growth and improvement.
In contrast, destructive criticism is negative feedback intended to harm, insult or destroy someone's creation. It's malicious and focuses on belittling the person at the receiving end.
Tips to Deal With Criticism
No one wants to be criticized, but if you want to build something exceptional, you must be willing to take it. The best way to fight criticism-related anxiety is to learn how to deal with it.
Here are some tips to help you handle criticism effectively:
- Be calm and patient
Receiving criticism can be difficult, but if you lose patience, it will only increase friction. The best way to take criticism positively is to engage in civil discourse. This helps people conduct a productive discussion while respectfully accepting the criticism for improved results.
- Don’t be tempted to criticize back
The way you respond to your critic is crucial. Thank the person who offered the best suggestion they could come up with. Stay focused on learning and improving rather than reacting defensively to justify your motives.
3. Project Positivity
The way you hold yourself during a confrontation is your biggest strength. Smiling gently, nodding in agreement, or relaxing your eyebrows can turn even serious disagreements into friendly debates. Open body language creates an atmosphere conducive to productive criticism and keeps the critic motivated to provide valuable feedback without personal attacks.
- Listen actively
By listening patiently to your critic, you can handle criticism well. We're not always the best judge of our situations. But, if you are all ears to the limitations someone else can foresee in your innovations, it will improve your methods and get you profound results.
How to Improve Accepting Criticism
Collaboration encourages you to accept criticism in the interest of better results. If the intention behind the critical feedback is constructive and focuses on improved results, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Instead, use the feedback as fuel to refine your work and create incredible results.
Start accepting criticism like a winner by following these steps:
- Don't let your emotions get the best of you
A calm mind is the first requirement for handling criticism. A raging sense limits your capacity to think objectively. Don't interrupt an argument, even if you disagree at times. Instead, take deep breaths to calm your nerves and postpone the conversation to a time when you're in a relaxed state.
- Ask questions to seek clarity
While dealing with criticism, it’s crucial to keep the communication to the point. Ask questions that add clarity to the discussion. It keeps the criticism constructive and helps you benefit substantially from the feedback.
- View criticism as a challenge to overcome, not an excuse to retaliate
The way you handle criticism matters more than the criticism itself. Remind yourself that your critic is here to help you improve rather than belittle you. Evaluate the critical points rather than reacting negatively to their perception.
- Acknowledge the critic’s efforts in providing insight
It takes courage to give genuine feedback, mainly when that feedback differs from your perspective. But on the other hand, expressing gratitude helps foster understanding and prevents conflict.
- Avoid taking the criticism personally
When dealing with criticism, it's important to view it rationally. You're not perfect and making mistakes is a normal human tendency. If you take feedback personally and let it get to you, it will hinder your ability to take it in stride and grow.
To thrive in this competitive world, you must learn how to handle criticism. When you receive feedback in your life, view it as an opportunity to grow. A critic becomes your ally when you accept their viewpoints as opportunities for growth. The ability to receive criticism without taking it personally is a skill that will allow you to live a happier, more successful life.