If you are one of those who are said to be getting upset often rather than seldom, you are probably having a very bad time with comments about you or your actions. However, the criticisms are beneficial because they make us progress.
For accepting to be criticized, it is useful to repeat to yourself that the criticism speaks as much of the one who formulates it as of the one who receives it, the childish tirade “the one who says it is the one who is” is of impetuous relevance in this case. This little trick will allow you to take the role of the observer (“What does he tell me about him / her?”) and to place yourself in expectative regarding what is happening (not to be emotional upon receipt of criticism).
Criticism speaks of those formulating it
If you accept it at least as a hypothesis for the work environment that the one picking on you is choosing his own weaknesses /obsessions, you will gain a little comfort. When someone words himself by the judgment “It is not very interesting what you tell us”, what he admits in fact is that he judges himself most often, that he questions his own ability tomake himself interesting to others different contexts. He doubts in certain moments about his capacity of seeing the world not only through his own prism.
Criticism speaks about who receives it
There is criticism to oneself, that is to say being criticized and the content of the criticism. “To be criticized” means to be caught in flagrant with an imperfection. As if perfection was a human trait! To accept criticism means first of all to give up on omnipotence over oneself and the world (we do not control everything, not even what is supposed to depend on us) and what the criticism says in itself. After all it may be entirely true that what you are saying is not that interesting to others. Here you have hence a way to progress! And if it were true? What could you do to make the content more attractive?! Our enemies are our best “friends”, those who help us better ourselves. Our friends love us for who we are, no matter what.
Four possible behaviors in the face of criticism
Faced with criticism, we have the choice between several behaviors. There is no good or bad behavior but a reaction suitable or not to a situation and to a goal. Sticking to a single behavior is a sign of rigidity, which does not leave much room for flexibility – which is necessary for human relationships.
- Escape criticism as from a threat
Criticism can surely be unbearable in its form (be it yelled or threatening) or in its content (generating desire to destroy the other), so that it often makes one run away from it. You can escape it through glances (lowering your eyes, looking the other way) or simply by leaving the room. Not looking towards one’s direction is to refuse playing a game that we dislike. It can also be completely harmless and with no intention of harming. Running from visual contact is to give up in the first place facing each other (“What am I running from?”) and to give the other a very great power over ourselves (he has the power to harm me ).
- Attack to dissuade
When you attack you have to be sure you have the upper hand. This is why if you are someone particularly kind, harmless and attentive you will serve as an outlet for those who receive criticism from others without ever saying anything. If you are one of the attackers, you may have understood that attacking is an effective defense strategy: “Do not come closer!” / “Stay away from me!”. Generally this works and even a little too much since nobody ever comes to speak to you again not even for criticism.
- Manipulate by using strategy
“Manipulation” ranges from humor to intimidation. Not everyone is capable of it since it requires a certain acceptance for playing. In the best case, we will speak of “reframing”, that is to say changing the context of a proposition to give it another meaning. Let’s imagine someone honking you in a continuous and insistent way (1 horn). If you respond to it in a different pace (1, 2, 3) each time he stops he will no longer honk, he will make music with you. But it may also be intimidating. You are told “You are not on time” and you answer “What hour was it yesterday when you were not here?”.
- Assert yourself and be constructive
We can also decide not to accept the criticism as it stands and ask for our right to rectification. Here’s how to build something positive from a bad review (it’s the same process as in case you want to make a criticism)
a) Describe what is bothering you based on specific facts. Example: “I was focused on my work, you entered without knocking to tell me the specific criticism”. It’s also the way of saying things that raise problems.
b) Express the negative consequences of the behavior that bothers you. Example: “When I get interrupted during my activity I become angry and I can neither listen nor hear what I am told” or “When I am criticized, I feel attacked and it demotivates me”.
c) Come up with solutions. Example: “When you have comments to make about my work or my behavior, I prefer that you do it when we are alone” or “I want you to start with positive comments” or “I need you to say clearly what you want from me in this situation”.
d) Express the positive consequences to be arising for everyone. Example: “If you do this then I think I will be able to welcome your criticism positively and that you will also be able to express what bothers you”.
Criticism can therefore be seen as an opportunity to progress and advance professional and private relationships, provided of course that one wants to.
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