Criticism can be really painful, especially if you’ve been in any type of emotionally abusive relationship. However, it is possible to learn how to handle criticism without letting self-doubt and insecurity creep in. Here are seven tools to help you take criticism like a pro and stay confident.
Handle Criticism by Wrapping Your Faultfinder in Love
People often criticize when they are projecting their pain onto you.
Sometimes people criticize others when they have had painful experiences or fears themselves. For example, someone once told me that I would never succeed in business. I later realized that this person was projecting their own fear of failure onto me, and was trying to protect me from the pain they felt about failure.
Other times people criticize others because their shame is triggered. They may feel insecure because you have a different opinion or way of doing something than they do, and they may subconsciously be feeling the need to defend themselves.
It is helpful to recognize this and have compassion for the naysayer. Their criticism may really be a reflection of their own pain. This doesn’t mean you have to continue to subject yourself to their painful words, but you can lovingly have empathy as you set healthy boundaries.
Value Your Own Opinion Above Anybody Else’s
Maybe they said the nitpicking with love. Sometimes considering someone else’s criticism can open your eyes to something inside yourself that needs healing.
However, after you have weighed their opinion, ask yourself if YOU agree…not if others agree…if YOU agree. If you struggle with deciding whether this criticism is valuable to you or not, check out this article for more tips.
At the end of the day, you will never be able to please everyone, and you shouldn’t have to. The most important thing is to follow your own intuition.
Keeping an open mind is good, but once you have done some consideration, one of the healthiest things you can do is feel confident in your decisions and have your own back. Plus, changing your mind is always an option if your heart begins to open up to other ideas.
Consider if Criticism is Triggering Shame Inside You
Sometimes we may feel criticized when no feedback was even given to us, or when feedback is constructive. Sometimes, this can happen when we hear someone expressing a different opinion than the one we hold, or when we fear we have done something wrong.
This sentiment may have triggered your shame. Shame is a feeling that makes us want to hide. If our shame is triggered, it is normal to feel defensive, angry, depressed, or afraid.
If you are feeling shame, it can be helpful to open up to a trusted friend and take some extra time for self-care to get yourself into a better spot. For more ideas on self-care to practice, read this post.
Criticism Hurts, Handle it by Letting Yourself Feel What You Feel
Feel it. Acknowledge it. Express your hurt with an I feel statement, but after you take the time to process, decide how long you want to stay in that emotion. Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel, take some extra time to care for yourself, and get back into your high vibrations.
Try Using Gratitude to Help Your With How to Handle Criticism
Gratitude is the fastest way to lift your mood. Something that I learned recently was that it is important to really take the time to FEEL gratitude, rather than just saying thank you. Something that helps me do this is expressing what I am grateful for about the experience and WHY. Then stopping to really let that emotion sink in for a minute can make a huge difference as well.
Ask Clarifying Questions to Understand the Criticism
We might take offense to something when none was intended. It can be helpful to ask clarifying questions like “This is what it felt like…is that what you meant?” This can help clear up any misunderstandings and save you from unintended wounds.
If the Criticism Feels Constructive, Don’t Make Yourself Wrong
If you hear this person’s criticism, and it feels like something you want to work on, don’t make yourself wrong. Self-compassion is key here. Opportunities for personal growth are a great thing. We all need them! Think of it as a baby learning to walk. You wouldn’t scold them when they fall down. You would clap for them for trying, and encourage them to pick themselves back up and get going! Remember to do this with yourself too. I think you’ll find yourself feeling a lot happier and making a lot more progress too!
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