How To Handle Criticism
Human beings, as a species, are flawed. We make mistakes. Even the things we do on purpose are often stupid. No matter how hard you might try to keep on top of everything, chances are there will be something left that doesn’t have your full attention.
And the expectations that others have of each of us can be difficult to meet. Especially if we’re trying to please a lot of people who want different things of us.
Sooner or later, someone is going to find some way to find fault with the things you do. It’s impossible to please everyone and eventually someone is going to be less than satisfied.
And if they are at all capable of handling their problems, they’ll speak to you about it. They’ll have the diplomacy and the sensibility to be able to discuss their issues calmly and fairly with you in order to avoid friction in your relationship.
When someone brings up a problem they have with you, it’s easy to get upset or annoyed. Especially if it’s someone you care about, someone who’s opinion you cherish. Most people’s gut reaction is to feel hurt by the criticism, to feel personally attacked.
But that doesn’t help the situation. Criticism is key to self growth, to developing who you are as a person.
And if you’re trying to improve any aspect of your character or skill, being able to understand how other people see and evaluate your flaws is hugely valuable.
Some tips on how to handle criticism;
THINK ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF THEIR COMPLAINT
Consider the thing they have a problem with. Maybe you haven’t been as considerate as you could in your behaviour, maybe you have been imposing on them without realising it. Think again about how your actions affect others. If it feels necessary, try to evaluate your behaviour from other angles as well, in case there are other repercussions of your behaviour you haven’t yet acknowledged.
BE HONEST IF THEY ARE BEING UNREASONABLE
If someone tells you that you are at fault, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right. Their complaint might be completely unreasonable. Evaluate it properly, in terms of how the compromises they offer might impact you. Remember that whatever they have a problem with was once your decision. If you properly thought that decision through at the time, then there may be no need for issue.
EXPLAIN YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY
If they won’t accept it then, no matter how valid their problem, they’re not treating you with the same respect you’re affording them. Let them know your reasoning for your behaviour, let them know the thought process behind your actions, let them know that you are happy to take their thoughts into consideration.
THINK ABOUT HOW THINGS CAN CHANGE IN A WAY THAT WILL BENEFIT EVERYONE
If you ever expect to please everyone, you all need to be prepared to compromise. Discuss, calmly and openly, the options available from this point onwards and think about which is going to be the most satisfying way to proceed for everyone involved.
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