We often take criticism personally. We usually react by putting our guard up as our feelings are hurt. It is a very common reaction as nobody wants to hear bad things about them.
But actually, what is criticism? Criticism is feedback or input often coming from someone who has a different point of view than yours. Being able to receive this feedback without reacting negatively can shift your relationships in a positive way and also even prevent you for making avoidable mistakes.
How to Take Criticism less personally
- Pause for 10 seconds and take deep breaths
- Take some distance from the situation or the person that gave you the negative feedback. At this point, invest yourself in an activity that would disconnect yourself from overthinking about the comment: take a walk, go for a run, listen to music or if you are at work, take a break and move on to the next project.
- It is important to acknowledge and deal with the hurt, the anger or the resentment: my favorite technique is to express yourself on paper (you can then burn the paper and release the bad feelings). It will help reduce the intensity of your feelings and will also reorganize your thoughts.
- It is then time to analyze the feedback. Here are some useful questions: What can you learn from it? What insights did the person have, no matter what their delivery style was? Was the feedback legitimate, if yes or no what can I improve or do about it? Can you come up with a better idea or a new venture? Why am I sensitive about this subject and what can I learn about myself ?
Don`t give up if you don`t succeed with implementing these principles at first; it takes time and what matters is setting the intention. Once you`ve mastered these principles, you will have a new sense of inner freedom.