Sooner or later in your study journey you will come across criticism. It may come from a variety of sources – your peers, your lecturers, other professional contacts or even yourself. In fact often, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to criticism. Many struggle to deal with criticism. Often it can leave us deflated, and even affect our self-esteem. Sometimes this is made even worse if it comes from people we admire or respect. Criticism comes in 2 main types. One is healthy, constructive and should be sought, the other is projected and should recognised and considered in the context from which it comes and generally ignored.
Projected criticism says more about the person delivering the criticism than the person to whom the criticism is directed. As the name suggests, it is merely a projection of a person’s psyche and is the result of their own envy, insecurity or anger. For example laughs at or criticises the way you dress, it means they are insecure or self-conscious about their own appearance and feel the need to lift themselves by bringing you down. Sad, but true.
The best type of criticism, and the type that you should actually embrace and welcome is constructive criticism. For anyone wishing to improve yourself, constructive criticism is a gold mine. It basically answers the question what could I do better? Constructive criticism, if accurate can really ehlp ypu better yourself and/or situation.
But whatever type of criticism, it can sometimes be difficult to take. So how do you take criticism and turn into a positive rather than a negative?nHow do you take criticism with grace?
Stop breath. Listen
Often when, someone provides criticism, it can be an almost reflex reaction to defend ourselves. We see criticism as an attack, and may lash out. By stopping, taking a deep breath and listening to not only what the person delivering the criticism is saying, but also how they say and consider the context in which they say it, can help us assess what type of criticism it is and react accordingly in an appropriate non defensive way.
Remember criticism is a gift.
Rather than reacting, ask yourself the question, what can I take from this? Does this criticism say something about me? Or the person saying it.
Perspective is everything.
Remember that sometimes other people may see things that you can’t, and even if you don’t agree with their criticism, make space for the possibility that others may be right, and use that possibility to look within yourself.
Ask questions to avoid misunderstandings.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their statements. Why do they feel that way. Clarify key elements of their criticism.
Remember that it can be difficult to give someone feedback, so thank them for the criticism they have given.
Do not let the criticism bring you down.
Constructive criticism is one of the best ways we can improve as people. When we’re defensive, instead of being accepting and gracious, we run the risk of missing out on this important insight .And, if it’s not constructive, you can ignore it, remember it says more about the person giving it than you.
So whatever criticism comes your way, take it with a grain of salt, and use it to gain understanding of yourself or your situation.