Accept criticism with Grace and appreciation

How you handle criticism was the question put to me when having a chat with a client. This got me thinking on making it a good subject for my forthcoming article. 

Well most of us do tend to react by being defensive or lashing back. Personally,  I strongly believe that there is a far more positive way of dealing with criticism which can work wonders in the long run.  whether you take criticism in a positive or a negative way will eventually make you look at things in a more subjective manner and make you walk towards the path of a stress free life. Some of the constructive options that you can consider when dealing with criticism in your respective lives are

Hold your reaction
If your first reaction is to respond either by being defensive or offensive then I would advise you to hold your horses and give it some time before you eventually ride the emotional wave. What this does to you is that by giving yourself some time in responding, you can logically think and react in a positive and constructive manner. In this way it will save you from getting sucked into the negative energy syndrome and also make you confident of eventually handling any critics in a calm and composed manner. I have seen many people who have considered criticism as a God send and made the best use of it. Personally I used to get angry when criticised but eventually worked on this and have become much more calmer and composed when faced with one. Say for example if I  receive a particular email which is very negative and criticizing I do not respond to it immediately but rather wait for some amount of time say, 24 hours,  before responding to it. At times when I  face criticism in person I tend to walk away and take my time in responding rather than saying something in haste and regretting it later.
That cooling off time allows me to give it a little more thought beyond my initial reaction. It allows logic to step in, past the emotion. I don’t have anything against emotion, but when it’s a negative emotion, it can cause more harm than good. So I let my emotions run their course and then respond when I’m calmer.

Turn a negative into a positive
One of the key things I believe in and practise is seeing a positive in any negative situation or in this case, criticism. You can do the same with a criticism and look for a positive in it for you. Well if you do look deeply you are sure to find a nugget of positivity in any criticism however critical it may sound. The idea is to use the correct words to reprogram  your mind in looking at things from  the negative outlook to a positive outlook. Already exposed to unnecessary stress in our life it is a worthwhile habit to inculcate in order to manage stress related to office politics and negative people.

Thank the critic
Even if someone is harsh and rude, do Thank them for their criticism and give them the benefit of doubt. They might be having a bad day or basically just  a negative person. By thanking them for their criticism you will catch them off guard and who knows over a period of time they might become your biggest proponents. Even if the critic does not take your Thank you in a good way consider it doing for yourself which will make you more humble in the long journey of Life.

Learn from criticism
Once you hold your reaction and thank  the critic, do not get back to your regular routine. Give yourself a minute and see what is the learning you can derive from this particular incident. This might be a difficult thing for some people who think that they are always right, but do understand that one cannot be always right and committing mistakes is a part of the learning curve. See if there’s something you can change to make yourself better. And then make that change. Actually strive to do better the next time.

Be the better person
Many times we take criticism as a personal attack. Well, perhaps sometimes it is, but we don’t have to take it that way. Take it as a criticism of your actions, not of you as a person. If you do that, you can detach yourself from the criticism emotionally and see what can be done. But the way that many of us handle criticisms is by attacking back probably saying  “I’m not going to let someone talk to me that way.” Especially if this criticism is made in public. By attacking the attacker, you are stooping to his level. Even if the person was mean or rude, you don’t have to be the same way. You don’t have to commit the same sins what the other’s are already committing.
If you can rise above the petty insults and attacks, and respond in a calm and positive manner to the meat of the criticism, you will be the better person. And guess what? There are two amazing benefits of this:
 1.Others will admire you and think better of you for rising above the attack. Especially if you remain positive and actually take the criticism well. This has happened to me many a time, when people actually complimented me on how I handled attacking comments during my work as well as my personal life.
 2.You will feel better about yourself. By participating in personal attacks, we dirty ourselves. But if we can stay above that level, we feel good about who we are. And that’s the most important benefit of all according to me.
 How do you stay above the attacks and be the better person? By removing yourself from the criticism, and looking only at the actions criticized. By seeing the positive in the criticism, and trying to improve. By thanking the critic. By responding with a positive attitude, you will eventually become a better person.
I hope you find this article inspiring and you are most welcome to share your thoughts as well as what you liked or disliked by mailing me on or on my face book fan page