Accepting Criticism: Dealing With Criticism Is A Mark Of You As A Person

Accepting criticism can be something hard to swallow. With no self esteem dealing with criticism well is a real test. You are in the spotlight and don't like the experience. Increasing self acceptance and respect is the first step to overcoming any (including self)criticism put your way.

Praise and criticism can seem equally hard to deal with. Both highlight you as being the (present) center of attention. As poor self image gives low self respect, dealing with criticism and accepting any critique seems to cut into us to our core.

Self criticism can take the form of fault finding, disapproval of looks, thoughts and actions. Critical self talk can be hurtful as we believe it to be true, as we said it. And we cannot seem to be able to get away from it.

Censure of any description makes accepting criticism almost a step too far.

Dealing with criticism

How well do I take criticism? - and included in that scenario would be any form of self-criticism . . .

And the answer?
  • Do I take it on the chin and respond with thanks and with love?
  • Do I sidestep the issues involved and say what has that got to do with me?
  • Do I avoid the censure by trying to avoid all issues, saying it was nothing to do with me?
  • Do I avoid all negative critical self talk or accept that I cannot seem to do much about it?
Or what might I be doing?
  • Seeking the approval of others, people that I respect
  • A case of mistaken identity - but do you say or not?
  • Or do I say that it was not me and try to deflect the blame or the responsibility
  • Or do I listen and respond defensively and not really take the advice or suggestions on board
  • Or do I accept what is said and know that I am better than that, that it does not reflect on me and my self image, acceptance or respect?
And your reaction would be?

No self esteem

But what else can I do, you may ask.

With no self esteem, this whole aspect of life is a trial. A picture of self contempt, where one (very) strongly dislikes oneself. And the first steps to getting over this, to overcoming the stigma of accepting criticism. Accept yourself more and don't treat every word as personal and against you. We so easily look on the dark side of life when we do not have to.

Things are often quite innocent, but we blow them up and create a literal mountain out of a molehill.

Dealing with criticism does not mean:
  • always feeling that we are always wrong (or right) - a sure way to have a fall
  • invariably feeling that we are fallible (or infallible) and never wanted to be
And we should be grateful for any help and support that we can get. If someone stands up for us have the decency to thank them. And next time try to help them, or someone else, back. Repay the favor.

It does not ask too much of us and goes a long way to creating bridges between us and other people. To making friends. To thinking of others and not just ourselves. And takes those steps (which can become strides) to helping us feel good about ourselves. Not just to respect others but ourselves also. And this helps to leave that no self esteem situation behind, and for good.

That is what we really want. To feel good about ourselves and the things in our lives. And we can do that with a little bit of effort on our part.

Why not start right away?

Dealing with self criticism

And when things go wrong, what should we do then?

We start to take it out on ourselves. Negative and self directed talk can be most debilitating, and we may not be aware that it is happening, and that we are putting ourselves 'through it'. Fundamentally it can hit our very definition of self concept. That is the way we see ourselves and our place in the world. That can be easily clouded if and when we feel at a personal low.

Learning how to take criticism is an essential hurdle to our quest on how to build self esteem. Learning how to overcome guilt is but a small part of this process.

We need to become cool about accepting criticism as a part of life, but one that will not rule you or decide how you live your life. And that can include yourself. We need to be able to take criticism without the need to feel we should deflect it on others or away form self.

If you try it you will find that you can listen to life and to others and accept the responsibility for your (thoughts), words and actions. Then if you can ask for help and assistance as to how you should have conducted things and how you might learn and improve for the future, you will have taken a big step forward, but only if you put some of the suggestions (you will know which ones) into action in the future. And you will be rewriting your definition of self concept, in a good and positive manner.

Humility is important. We do not know everything, nor can do everything. If we err we probably did not do it on purpose. Apologize. And show that you are sorry for causing offense or disagreement or whatever. This can easily defuse the situation - if you are genuine - and both sides can take heart and move forward together and be more productive or work better together in the future.

Equally, be prepared to accept another's apology and help them (and you) to move on.

Arrogance and thinking that you can do no wrong gets you no where. And not accepting sincere help or advice is seldom productive and may well cause an escalation of events and things may get unnecessarily out of control.

Try to live with dignity and that accepting criticism is but a small part of life. Respect yourself and others. Realize that you are still learning. Realize that you need help others from time to time, and not just once. Understand that you too have many things to learn, to see, to observe, to reflect on, to move you, to touch you, in your future life.

Take this on board and you will start to see the person you'll be able to become, irrelevant of your (supposed) starting position.


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Praise and criticism

Hard to accept praise and criticism? Join the crowd!

A lot of people will find accepting criticism is easier than accepting and dealing with praise. Who me? No. Did I deserve that? No, can be the familiar cry.

A little praise can go a long way. Both on receipt for what we have (selflessly) done, or given (passed on) to others for what they have done (and not necessarily for us).

Dignity, integrity, loyalty, friendship. These qualities are within us all. Just with some of us we have hidden them well. Some think that is good to take the high ground and feel good for doing so - but if not based upon firm foundations and backed by a touch of humility - we know where this may well lead.
On the other hand take life with a more gentle touch. A lightness about you. If someone is critical of you or what you have done. Stand your ground. Respect yourself and them. Don't be walked over.

Learn how to respond to criticism. You will not regret it.

Accepting criticism but feel free to say you think it is not justified. Or thank them for their honesty (and courage) and try to move on together.

The promised land is waiting for those who can help others and themselves in life.

I hope that you found this article useful. Let me know by sending me your feedback using this link.

All best,

Martin W


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