Let me brag a little, Adam (who wrote this post and this) told me that I tend to take negative criticism well. Something that he told me after giving me some constructive criticism concerning an article I wrote, which by the way I so love getting feedback and hearing other people’s minds on different subjects I write about. But anyway so I am writing this post to share on some secrets or tips I use that help me receive constructive/ negative criticism positively, hoping that they maybe helpful to you.
Let me address something before I share tips, it is actually normal to not like to hear something negative about yourself, perfectly fine. We are social creatures, we love to be admired, loved and accepted by the social groups in which we belong to. So it’s totally understandable why negative criticism would hurt, it’s kind like it’s exposing our flaws and in our minds we think that will stop us from being loved, or sometimes it can feel like we are being told straight to our face that we are bad people, even though that’s not what was communicated by the giver of feedback. And that’s why we need to train ourselves to receive them positively, even though this doesn’t come naturally to us, even though the comments may hurt in the moment. So if you want to learn the skills that will help you nod as if what was said didn’t shatter your heart, here are the tips;
- Don’t take it personal
I know you hear this advice a lot but when receiving constructive criticism as they love to call it, take it as an advice on the matter not on you as a person. Be an observer as well, see it from their point of view, see the issue as an outsider would. Well I guess unless they are giving the feedback on you as a person, but I also hope they are skilled enough to offer the feedback in a constructive way to not go straight ‘attack you’ mode. This is an important tip because if you take it personally you will want to defend yourself and when you do that will cloud you from trying to observe yourself so that you can work on whatever you were told. You will want to prove him wrong, instead of taking the feedback as something to observe on yourself/ your work or life.
Adding more on looking at the issue like an outsider, i think that comes easily when you don’t take it personally. Then you can easily and without bias try to see the issue for yourself as well. Since it was mention, I’m pretty sure it will be easy to see it, I want to believe that most times when people give us constructive criticism they mean well, to help us grow so take it as if someone gifted you this perspective that you have never observed about yourself before to help you grow in that area. So evaluate yourself.
- Know their true intentions
I said most times people want to help us grow by giving us these negative feedbacks, but I also want to acknowledge that sometimes it is to hurt us, you know sometimes when they are angry, jealous or having some other emotions or intentions. We have a lot of emotions and judgement that lead us to say something and sometimes even the people who give us feedback can be biased, so seeing from their point of view or seeing where they are coming from to get to that feedback that they gave us will help us to not take it too personal but also to take the feedback while understanding the person who gave us.
An example is someone can comment on your fashion sense, something that can help you to take it positively especially if they are delivering it so negatively is trying to see their point of view or where they are coming from. I think by knowing that, you get to judge if the criticism was well intended but badly delivered or came out of some other intentions or hurt on their part. At the end of the day you decide whether to work on it or not, whether the feedback was well intentioned or not, you have the power and the final decision.
- Prepare your mind for whatever they will say
Especially if it’s an arranged setting, I understand sometimes you can get a feedback without preparation, but if you were prepared and someone said they want to give you feedback, prepare yourself for the worst. Again the worst won’t be a reflection of you as a person but the fact that we all have areas we need growth in or we slack at, which comes with being human. I have found that if I prepare my mind for the worst, no matter what they say seems small compared to what my mind was prepared to take. I don’t know if this is bad psychologically, if it is please tell me in the comments but yeah, it works.
What are the things that help you to positively take negative feedback?