Don’t be fooled by so-called ‘constructive’ critics, who tear down your self-esteem. The truth is the power of criticism can be used both for good and evil and oftentimes we simply don’t know how to use feedback appropriately. That is why today we’ll be looking at how to give and receive feedback in a constructive way, to make you happier and more confident!
Why do people dislike criticism? When we were little and did something wrong, our parents criticised us for it. Often times because of our childhood we associate criticism to negative feelings. Not being good enough or doing something wrong. As a result of criticism, we would feel bad. It is therefore perfectly natural to become defensive when you’re being criticised.
How do you criticise yourself? But yes, there is such a thing as a good and bad criticism. Statements such as “You’re are stupid”, “You’re good for nothing.” or “You can’t do this” are great example of it. This type of information does not provide you with any value regarding your abilities nor does it offer you room for improvement.
By the way – do you ever say these type for things to yourself? It doesn’t matter whether this information is coming from someone else or your own head – discouraging criticism will leave you feeling powerless. So instead of saying – “I’m stupid” consider “My reaction in this situation might have been stupid but I am taking it as a learning experience.” Shifting your focus towards the positive is what turns destructive criticism into constructive feedback.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the power of our memory. If something is repeated often enough, we begin to believe it whether it is true or not. Being labeled as lazy & stupid or smart & capable as child gives you a standard to live up to. So what standard do you want to live up to yourself?
Why do people criticise others? There is a number of reason why people have the need to criticise others. Sometimes we find the fault in others than we know we have ourselves. Feedback and the way it is given, often times tells more about the other person giving it than the person on the receiving end. People might also criticise you as a type of constructive feedback, because they care about you and what to help you grow; and sometimes what we perceive as criticism was simply supposed to be a joke.
How to handle criticism? We often overvalue the opinions of other and trust their judgement more than our own. That is why criticism can be dangerous. Examine what the other person is saying to you – is it his opinion or a fact? It is in your power to choose what you do with the information you are confronted with. You are not obliged to accept everything said to you and you can make a conscious decision in your head to reject the feedback you’ve been given.
If you are not sure about the other person’s intention behind a specific piece of feedback, consider asking why they are giving you that specific criticism. To be able to accept criticism as a constructive block in our self-development we need to have a clear idea about who we are and what we can do. If you know you are a hard working person, the critique of your latest project will not be an attack on you or your abilities. It will be simply a piece of information you can choose to use in a constructive way.
It’s all about having healthy self-esteem. Think of yourself in a positive light and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Remind yourself that it’s ok to be make mistakes. That’s how we learn and improve and it’s a natural part of being human.
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