How Can We Grow from Criticisms?

Written by Adrian

Is there a world without criticism? Unfortunately, the answer is no. In our lives, critique is a reality. We will face criticism regardless of what we do or where we go. Some criticisms are ill-worded and hurtful. Some are well-meaning and helpful. My mother always told me that when teachers criticize a lot, it means they care. After all, criticism is not an attack. It can be a very helpful way to grow if you take it positively. So, how can you make criticism beneficial? Here are some ways I find the most effective:

1. Be a true Listener: 

Feedback can be extremely difficult, particularly when provided in a brutally honest way. It is not always easy to hear, whether it is your friend who comments on your behavior or your boss who scolds you during your work. In such cases, your commitment to be better must be greater than your commitment to protect your ego. You will be better off being modest, and grateful for your constructive feedback than being defensive or arguing. If we argue, our emotions can overtake our perceptions and hearings. Listening to what people say enables you to hear any of the truths of the criticism better. It is difficult to remain silent, but it is the best way to deal with criticism, especially harmful ones.

2. Don’t make excuses, we all make mistakes:

This is not the time to put the blame on others for your doing or try to make reasonable excuses such as lack of time or health conditions for the mistakes. Instead, be grateful for the feedback. It is time to take responsibility for what you have done. Tell the person you appreciate his or her time and you’ll have to think about what they said in turn. If you keep trying to ignore or justify yourself, you will only succeed in appearing weak. 

3. Don’t take criticism personally: 

The feedback may be brutally honest which is very annoying. However, you should not be what the criticism is about, so don’t make it about you. It should relate to your role or your job performance.  As soon as you personalize it, it becomes the matter of who is right and who is wrong that accomplishes nothing. It may also depend on the person who gives the feedback that decides your attitude towards it. In my case, feedback from my teacher and boss might be easier to take in than my classmates and colleagues. For example, over-generalizations such as “You always,” “You never,” “I hate you when you,” etc. can be used by friends or colleagues. It can sound more of a complaint than feedback. Therefore, it is important to be objective and reach the core of what the other person tries to communicate. Questions like, “Can you give me some examples of what you are talking about?” will help.

4. Finally, professionally take in criticism will eventually grow your relationships:

Criticism offers a choice of peace over conflict. When receiving a critique, our instinct may be to fight, creating unnecessary drama. However, people around us do not want to judge us. Nothing shuts off an open mind like stubbornness, which is bad for personal development and harmful to relationships. Therefore, taking in feedback professionally by listening also makes the person who gives reviews feel that they are being listened to and respected. Also, critique offers you the opportunity to tell others how to treat you. If somebody doesn’t do so properly, you can take this occasion to say something like, “I think you are making some valid points but if you didn’t raise your voice, I would obtain them better”.

While we prefer to avoid criticism, the intention of the feedback is important to recognize. Don’t allow the fear of being criticized to hold you back. We all have bad days, and sometimes others can notice that. It’s a huge weight off your mind somehow to accept that, too. It is very beneficial when we acknowledge the fact that constructive criticism is meant to help and not hurt.