Receiving negative feedback can derail even the most positive person’s day. I know because I consider myself a positive individual and I was recently knocked out by unnecessarily harsh criticism. Like a fighter down for the count, I was so stunned I was initially unable to move forward. I spent several days turning the words over and over in my head.
I knew no good was going to come from my blenderhead state, and I reached out to my mentor for guidance. Perhaps if I had been thinking more clearly, or more productively, I would have taken my own advice from the start. Oh right, I’ve experienced criticism before.
Talking with my mentor helped me shift my focus from the other person’s unkind words to my reaction and response to the criticism. I don’t control what anyone thinks, says, or does and taking personal ownership of someone else’s opinion never ends well. I was reminded of important lessons I’ve learned before and I realized I needed to be mindful of those lessons to make the best of my present situation.
Here are a few wisdoms I’ve practiced to deal with criticism through the years:
Just because someone said it, it doesn’t make it so.
Other people’s opinions are just that- opinions. Opinions aren’t facts. No one’s opinion defines me. My behavior, my attitudes, my values define me. When I receive criticism I have learned to use it to inform, not define. It is, after all, only someone else’s perspective, not my truth.
Just because it’s true, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
Any kernel of truth within the criticism doesn’t define me, either. We all have our own values and goals and mine are just as valid as anyone else’s.
If I did err in this situation, chances are I didn’t have the knowledge, information, and resources I have now to do it differently. Every day is an opportunity to do better.
I’m a whole person, with talents and strengths and a lot left to learn.
My weaknesses are just part of a whole, and that whole is pretty awesome overall. One setback, even a handful of setbacks, doesn’t make me any less awesome. It actually makes me more awesome because as a perfectly imperfect human being there’s always room to learn and grow. I’m evolving in this moment and it’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.
I can’t move forward if I’m holding myself back.
I have the opportunity to make the best of my mistakes, but it’s hard for me to do so when I get stuck spinning over someone else’s words. It is oh-so-tempting to hold myself hostage with other people’s opinions- don’t we all want to be liked? Liked or not, I can’t make the best of my life if I’m giving up my voice to criticism.
Dealing with criticism is never easy, but you can face it with dignity and grace. Even if take it, you don’t have to take to heart. You are awesome today and you have the opportunity to be awesome again tomorrow. If you let criticism get you down, you can get back up again.
I love your comments! What’s the hardest part for you when you are criticized? How do you deal with critics and criticism?
Image courtesy of Brett Patterson