Dealing with criticism positively is an important life skill and has a lot to do with your confidence.  If you get very upset when criticised, you might want to look into confidence building. In this article, we are going to be looking at the types of criticism and how to deal with them.

At some point in your life, you will be criticised; both in a professional way and a personal way. Sometimes it will be difficult to accept – but that all depends on how confident you are within yourself. Often, increasing confidence can go a long way towards dealing with difficult situations better.

You can either use criticism in a positive way to improve (or ‘feedback’), or in a negative way that will serve to lower your self-esteem and cause stress, anger or even aggression. Confidence coaching can help by teaching you how to improve your confidence and introducing you to powerful communication methods that will make massive difference in these situations: they’ll create ‘Win-Win situations.

*Ask for a complimentary consultation if you feel you need help with confidence building.

There are two types of criticism and you might have heard of these terms before: constructive and destructive criticism.  Learning to recognise the difference between the two can help you deal with any criticism you may receive.

When challenged by another person, it is common to react in a negative manner. Consider how negative reactions make you look – and more importantly how they make you feel.  The way in which you choose to handle criticism has a knock-on effect in various aspects of your life, therefore it is better to identify ways in which you can benefit from criticism and use it to your advantage to be a stronger person.

Constructive and Destructive Criticism

The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the way in which comments are delivered and how they are subsequently accepted by you.

Although both forms are challenging your ideas, character or ability, when someone is giving destructive criticism it can hurt your pride and have negative effects on your self-esteem and confidence.  Destructive criticism is often just thoughtlessness by another person, but it can also be deliberately malicious and hurtful.  Destructive criticism can, in some cases, lead to anger and/or aggression. Sadly, people who deliver destructive criticism are not the ones who get hurt; it’s only you and your self-confidence that suffers.

Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is designed to point out your mistakes, but also show you where and how improvements can be made. Constructive criticism should be viewed as useful feedback that can help you improve yourself rather than put you down.

When criticism is constructive it is usually easier to accept, even if it still hurts a little.  In both cases, always try to remember that you can use criticism to your advantage.

Dealing with Critical People

Some individuals are critical by nature and do not always realise that they are hurting the feelings of another person.

If you know a person who is critical of everything, try not to take their comments too seriously as this is just part of their character trait. If you do take negative comments to heart it can create resentment and anger towards the other person, resulting in damage to the relationship.

Remember, people who criticise everything or make scathing remarks to be hurtful are the ones that need help – not you!

The key thing to remember is that whatever the circumstance is, don´t respond in anger as this will cause a scene and create bad feelings. You might also end of feeling disappointed in how you handled the situation.

Try to remain calm and treat the other person with respect and understanding. This will help to defuse the situation and potentially stop it from getting out of hand.  Show that you are the stronger person and try not to rise to the bait, do not use it as a reason to offer counter criticism.  If you challenge the other person you may start an argument that is probably unnecessary.

If you do feel that you may lose self-control, or say or do something potentially damaging, walk away. If you are in a meeting at work, politely excuse yourself and leave the room until you have had time to gather yourself.  Even though somebody´s negative remarks may hurt, it is more harmful for you to allow their criticism to be destructive to your confidence.

Taking the Positives Out of Criticism

We all make mistakes all the time, it is human nature.  As we go through life we have plenty of opportunity to learn and improve ourselves. Therefore, no matter what kind of criticism is aimed at you, analyse it to find something you can learn from it. At work, school or social clubs for example, try to take criticism on board to help you improve.  When somebody is attacking your character it is hard to accept, but that does not mean you should ignore it.

Also bear in mind that the criticism aimed at you may not make sense at the time. Generally speaking, there is usually some truth in criticism, even if it appears to be given out of spite and bitterness. Take a step back and try to see things from the other person’s point of view; perhaps ask a friend for their honest opinion – use criticism wisely and as a learning experience.  See if it is possible to learn a little about how others perceive you; you may be able to use criticism to improve your interpersonal skills and consequently boost your confidence.

We all learn by making mistakes, and learning how to deal with criticism positively is one way that we can improve our interpersonal relationships with others.

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