Do you feel attacked, not good enough or like a bad person when someone criticizes you? Do you get defensive or throw a temper tantrum? If you are like most of us, it can be tough to hear criticism from others especially those close to us. Most people can react very angrily to what feels very critical to them. While others will do anything to avoid blame by trying to be “perfect”, so when someone finds fault with them, they lose their temper!
Here are 5 strategies to help you or someone you know handle criticism:
1) Respond versus React (or Delay Your Reaction). Many of us, if we just step away and take time to think through what was shared, how we are feeling and what we can do to respond in a productive way to let others know that we are safe to share with and that we care about other’s feelings.
2) Seek first to Understand, and then be understood. Instead of just acknowledging that the other person is speaking to you and forming your retorts at the same time, try to first truly understand their point of view. Depending on whom you are talking to, you may want to take notes as the person is talking, because it can occupy you and keep you detached in a healthy way. You can rephrase what they are saying (often referred to as the “mirroring” technique) by repeating back what you heard, so you can know if you are getting what they are trying to say to you. This also helps prevent just snapping back a quick response.
3) Define those people that really matter to you versus those that don’t. It is good to stay open and honest before resorting to getting defensive and apologetic. Negative words can be stronger than positive ones, so you want to be careful what you let inside and from whom. However, not everyone’s opinion should really matter to you, especially if they are not someone who is important to you or your life. If you feel like there are comments that are hitting you hard from those that should not matter as much, you might want to process why these comments have such an impact.
4) Change the way you look at criticism. Rather than seeing a critic as attacking you, why not say to yourself, “this person is really helping me, I welcome criticism.” If we look at it from the point of view it can help us become better (of course depending on its validity). After all, if we did not get feedback from others, how would we really improve ourselves?
5) Admit that you are not perfect. We all make mistakes in our life. People actually respect us more when we take responsibility for what we should take blame. We can all think of that person who never accepts responsibility and points the blame to others, pretty frustrating, huh? Don’t be that person; rather be open and humble in allowing others to respectfully communicate with you what is bothering them.
When we show that we are approachable, open, mature, thoughtful, it actually gets people to respect of us more and it also allows us to be better in improving what needs to change. I know it is a lot harder when the rubber hits the road, however, it is worth the journey. I don’t know one person who looks back and says why was I open, honest and mature when listening to others feedback.
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About the Author: Relationship Expert, Janie Lacy, LMHC, NCC offers expert advice to Local and National TV News, Relationship Websites and provides phone or face-to-face counseling in the Orlando area. Janie has a relational approach and a unique ability to connect with individuals. Drawing upon her broad range of experience in private practice, not-for-profit organizations, hospitality and the medical industry, she has helped countless people in many arenas of life. She offers keen insight on all aspects of relationships – family, marriage, parenting, dating, and personal growth. Connect with Janie on Facebook or Twitter.