Few things have the power to crush your confidence any more than receiving harsh criticism. We live in a time in which social media has made it easy to criticize others, oftentimes anonymously. News and talk shows live off of criticism, some valid and some less so. While criticism can be very painful, it’s a fact of life. Your ability to handle criticism well will not only make you more successful, but will make your life more enjoyable. Here are three things to remember when it comes to handling criticism:
1)It’s Not Personal
Critics may attack the work you are doing or the words you are saying. No one is perfect, and our work and words will often contain flaws. We can handle criticism about our performance when we remember that it's ok to not be perfect. We can not however, survive long when we take criticism personally. To believe that you are less valuable as a person because of the criticism you receive can be devastating. I’ve said it before, but it bears writing again, you are not your performance. Who you are is more than what you do. We all need to remind ourselves of that daily!
2)Know Which Criticism To Ignore
There are critics in the world who just enjoy tearing people down. They were the kids in kindergarten who walked around kicking over your blocks and legos once your tower starting getting tall. They were annoying then and they are annoying now. Also, they are worthless (well, at least their criticism is). Their greatest joy in life is to point out flaws, real or perceived, wherever they see them. They don’t care as much about their own work as they do about criticizing yours. Since they have no real concern for you or the project you may be working on, they must be ignored. Even if they are occasionally right in what they are saying, which brings us to the third point…
3)Have your own team of critics.
Sometimes we need help to see the flaws in our work. We are often too close and can’t see where things might not be working. In those moments a critical eye can be very helpful. The key is to cultivate a group of people that you trust to be your team of critics. When you know that they have your best interest at heart you will be more able to receive their insights without becoming defensive. Make sure your team knows that you are expecting them to find the holes in your work, and not to just encourage you regardless of what they see. Friends who can be honest with you and care for you at the same time are priceless!
Criticism is a part of life, if we let it discourage us or make us defensive we will become less effective and less satisfied. Get a handle on the criticism that surrounds you today!