Hearing criticisms can be distressing and downright devastating. But as humans, you know criticism is something you will likely deal with everyday whether you are successful or not , got something doing or not , and even if you are busy or idle! Yes! People will still judge your idleness, is it their idle?
Unfortunately criticism is typically given to us even without us asking for it . It could be from a co-worker , a neighbour or even from a supposed friend or relative always pouring out unwelcome opinion. Some would even stylishly say , can I critique this?? Who azz you ?(in my best jenifa tone).
There are two types of criticism;
Constructive criticism – which points out faults and includes advice or suggestions on how they can be corrected. E.g “Always do your research before putting anything on social media.”
Destructive criticism – which seeks to tear down or directly attack the person and does not include practical advice for improvement. E.g “You’re doing it all wrong.”
The major difference between constructive and destructive criticism is the way in which the comments are delivered. Also a bit about the intention / reason for the criticism which may include but not limited to the following.
Pure Hate: I mean if someone doesn’t like you , there’s nothing in this world you would do that they will not criticise. So just live with it.
Genuine love :They genuinely love and want the best for you.
Complex : Some people will just criticise you to make themselves feel better especially if they see you are doing better than them. So they want to pull you down a bit because they feel insecure about themselves. With this one, they would most likely offer their ‘criticism’ from a place of supposed superiority.
Many a times these remarks are discouraging and can totally cause one to doubt his/her own very existence and abilities and just generally create unnecessary worry in one’s life . Whenever criticism comes my way, here are a few questions I ask myself .
What is the attitude of the person criticising ?
If someone comes at me with a downright condemning and negative attitude all in the name of criticising me, best believe I just write them and their criticism off.
How much does this person know me? One of the things I have had to learn is that just because someone has an opinion about something does not make them an expert. A lot of people act before they think and make snap judgments on your character or actions based on what someone said about you or one line you said in passing, when in actuality, they don’t know the background of your story or the reasoning in which you made your decision.These are the ones not to listen to . After all chances are, you probably don’t have the time to try to convince them you’re a good person and explain your intentions . I genuinely listen to those closest to me and welcome their encouragement and rebuke .
Is this criticism popular opinion or just hate? Do you have those moments where everything is seemingly going so well for you and you are getting praises and compliments from everyone but then just one person has something negative to say (which is probably not true) and you just unconsciously ignore all the positive comments, focusing on that one negative remark! Don’t do it! It’s not worth it. One negative review shouldn’t override all the positive reviews you get.
Is This Worth My Time? I used to be that girl who wanted to explain and fight every single ounce of criticism that came my way. Then I realized it was impossible, I just can’t. Now , I just decide what is worth my time and address those . In the end, we all have good things in our lives we need to focus on..
How best to respond or deal with criticism
Depending on the type of criticism , the intention behind it and how it was presented i.e Constructive or destructive criticism I would just normally do the following ;
- Say thank you genuinely and remain silent while I process the information I’ve been given.
- Ask the person to expatiate further incase i don’t understand some things they said or I just need specifics to get to the heart of the matter . After all how does one correct or amend what they don’t understand?
- Filter the facts from feeling – This is particularly important to me ( and it should be to you as well! ) because it helps me to remain objective and take away from the criticism what is truly important and needs attention.
Recently someone criticised my business badly and even though it was an uninformed criticism , and i can tell you it was downright derogatory and destructive. It took a lot for me no to fight back / get defensive and literally breakdown. I just said thank you ,kept quiet and totally blocked the whole conversation from my mind. Some conversations are best left forgotten!!!
Criticism can cut deep, but it doesn’t have to be crippling because it is very essential to self-development and other people can see our shortcomings more clearly than we do at times. We all need a few people around us who are willing to tell us the truth, especially the hard truths.
How do you deal with criticism ? Have you ever been criticised destructively ? How did you deal with it? Kindly leave a comment so we can all learn from your experience .
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