How to Receive Criticism and Make it Work for you

Criticism comes in two forms: Negative criticism and constructive criticism. Negative criticism is purposed to bring you down while constructive criticism is purposed to see you grow and become better. You might resolve to accept the latter but what would you do when the former is dished out to you? The fact is that it really doesn’t matter. Criticism is something that you can use to your advantage even when it is negative.

I can preach about criticism being a good thing but, to be honest enough, it’s not always easy to receive.
Seeing our mistakes being pointed out by our parents, a teacher, a friend or a mentor isn’t always beautiful. As a result, we tend to build emotional walls and end up being defensive. This actually is very easy to do but it definitely isn’t the best.

As much as we would hate to hear it, criticism isn’t meant to be ignored, it is meant to be faced head-on.

But hey, you can always make lemonades out of the lemons that are thrown at you, right?

Here is a number of principles you could adopt to make it work for you.

1. Everyone Gets Criticized

Have you ever had a test in school and ended up with horrible results? Reflect for a second. How did you feel? You felt bad, right? Now, reflect again. How did you feel when you looked around the class and realised that there were other students who equally had results as bad or even worse than yours. With all honesty, you felt good, right? Now, I’m not encouraging joy in failure but the truth is that the feeling of failure is better absorbed when you realize that you are not the only one in your shoe.

The same thing applies to criticism.

People have the right to criticize you just as you equally have the right to criticize them.

In a nutshell, we all live in a cycle in which everyone is and can be criticized. So, you are not the only one susceptible to this epidemic. Criticism is dished out to everyone at some point in time or several times in their lives. So, ‘take a chill pill and relax’ as my sister would say, lol. It’s not much of a big deal now that you are aware of the fact that you are not alone.

2. Don’t Take it Personally

It’s easy to take things personally but it’s not necessary to take everything personally. If you get criticized, try to find out the person’s intention. The feedback you receive most of the time is usually directed towards your behavior and performance and not your character or personality.

So, it’s not you that they are trying to attack. It’s your work they are trying to see change in and improve.

3. See it as an Avenue for Growth

It’s possible that you might rest on your oars and get complacent if you are never criticized. In life, momentary unpleasant things like this happen to propel us to the place of greatness we are supposed to reach. If someone finds fault with your work, it means that there is still room for improvement and that’s good.

Beyonce wouldn’t have been the great singer she is if she hadn’t been rejected when she first started her journey. Oprah Winfrey wouldn’t have been the great woman of influence she is if she had backed down when they told her she was too fat for a role. Pastor Chris wouldn’t be one of the greatest vessels used by God in our generation if he had given up with all the taunting.

Stay calm. Criticism is working out for your good.

4. Not Every Criticism is Relevant.

It’s okay to receive criticism, however, what’s not okay is allowing every bit of it to always affect you. If someone says they don’t like chocolate, that doesn’t automatically make chocolate suck. If you’ve been working hard on a project and get a negative feedback like ‘You haven’t achieved anything so far’, you should understand that the individual is simply trying to be spiteful, looking for a way to downplay your essence.

It’s just an opinion they are entitled to. The bright side is that not all opinions are factual.

Sometimes, you don’t need to be bothered in the least by what people say. It really isn’t worth your time or emotional energy. Receive it and let it bounce off of you. Let it go.

I hope this has been helpful. If you’ve read this far. Congratulations! I’m encouraging you to practicalise what you’ve just read. Because it’s in the application that words truly have their value.

Keep being your best self!


How do you handle criticism? Feel free to share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post. 

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