Join Our Community

Can You Handle Criticism?

Heal Your Life Blog

Can You Handle Criticism?

Loretta LaRoche
Loretta LaRoche More by this author
Jul 29, 2011 at 03:00 AM 0 comments

Most of us respond to criticism by becoming defensive, shutting down (pouting), or running away (and running toward something unhealthy, such as overeating). We develop a lot of dysfunctional strategies as children by watching and imitating our role models.

My mother was extremely deft at verbal aikido, but my grandmother took the passive route. I became a combination of the two until I realized that neither served me well. Learning to diffuse and handle criticism can not only empower you, but can ultimately bring you closer to a peaceful mind. Try these following techniques to handle criticism: When you receive criticism that feels accurate, simply acknowledge it and move on. Remember that you have created an entire story to support your behavior patterns in order to feel right. Your friends and family have come to different conclusions. It makes perfect sense to pay attention to what their saying. Simply acknowledge, reflect, and then decide if they have any information that might help you.

If you receive criticism that sounds unfair to you, don’t make excuses or practice “tongue fu” so you can win a battle that is essentially futile. Remember that the person talking to you wants the same validation you do. For example, if your mother (or significant other) says, “You’re always working. It would be nice if you spent more time with me,” just respond by agreeing, “Yes, it’s true—I do work a lot”. Then wait for the next statement. If your mom continues nagging you, use a technique called probing: “I understand you think I work too much and you’d like to see more of me. I’m willing to try to do better. Do you have any ideas for things we can do together this week?” Some of my favorite ways to respond to negative criticism is to try and get some distance, which in turn takes the heat out of the comments. You can also say: “What you’re saying is very interesting, let me get back to you on that.” The bottom line is that we all would like our needs met. If we use collaborative methods, we may actually get the brass ring.

Lighten Up Your Week:

You can benefit by not getting aggravated by people’s criticisms. This week, listen with an open mind and don’t jump to conclusions or be over-reactive.

Share Your Thoughts Below