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How to take Criticism well

We, humans, are social animals. We usually talk a lot (including us), probably not in front of everyone, but in front of someone at least. One can relate if you’ve watched Tarak Mehta’s Daya ben or Jaskier from The Witcher.

Many times, there’s a change in perspective with colleagues at work, parent at home, friends at gatherings, relatives at weddings, and teachers at school. There comes a time when their viewpoint blurs out our framework of thought process and bammmmm! It goes blank!

Then comes this feeling of danger, which is evolutionarily hardwired in our brain to detect and feel where you feel threatened when others criticize you. This could be very common while tackling criticism or a different perspective which might feel offensive and one significant point to remember is that, it is very natural to feel this way in an instance.

If we were to take a dictionary, it defines criticism as: “the construction of a judgment about the positive and negative qualities of someone or something”. That would be with criticism and the dictionary, but what about the adrenaline rush that we feel about the “perceived danger” by our brain?

There are many ways via which these “perceived dangers” can be made easy to deal with and develop better relationships with the criticism over time, hopefully! There are a few ways listed below to deal better as follows-

If someone appears disinterested or agitated, don't assume anything; just ask them what they are thinking. If they show worry, determine how much they disapprove

- A healthy discussion is a key to such blur moments and ideas for a clear way to head straight to your goals!

It might sound formal while trying out the first time, or might sound odd with someone stranger to you. And giving it a try is always worth doing. Rather than concluding without communication; it’s always a better option to tackle by getting your thoughts communicated properly. You can let them know “it seems that you are disinterested in something, would you mind letting me know what makes you feel that way?” or “Can you share a few more insights on what you feel about this?”

Determine whether their response is an indication of a bigger or smaller issue

At times, our perception may not be that clear to steer out the content of the criticism, and this mainly happens due to the “selective attention” that our brain is programmed to execute. While functioning, our brain tends to select a stimulus (object) in or around a particular situation or instance only; which results in keeping the possible hurdles in a blind spot for our brain, while others can see them and that’s when we get to step back consciously and look out for the problem.

Focus the criticism on your role rather than on you

There would have been times that you sense the criticism directed towards you as a fast-heading arrow, and due to a reflexive thought one usually can’t avoid the pressure. It is okay to feel that way! Most of the time, people want to let you know where they want you to improve and focus on. And we may not be clear as to what they’re attributing their comments on. Make sure you take that same criticism with a different perception where you attribute it to your ROLE rather than YOU.

(While working on a given task, the most common drive to work on it is – to prove oneself. Here, the role set that one is working for, is put at rest. It comes up on the ego and the superego is resting. We need to activate that phase while working for a role set!)

While working on something, one typically has the will to work on it with ego. Criticism, if shared, attacks the ego. Keeping this in mind that while being the receiver of criticism, you can try to activate your superego and keep your ego at rest for a while. For reference to ego and superego, check this illustration.

Request assistance and advice from others regarding criticism

It is always advisable to take a helping hand regarding criticism from people whom we trust. Maybe not always we can see what’s in the rational view. People around us might have a more rational, clear, and adaptable way of looking at the situation and dealing better with it.

One other way to try to look at criticism is to take a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat. Diving each section accordingly and giving attention to an individual section is a great way to work on analyzing the situation properly.

Ensure that you are looking after your physical and emotional well-being

After all, we are humans and not robots. We function physiologically, emotionally, and psychologically. All these dimensions are to be focused on while showing kindness to ourselves. In your daily routines, make sure you take out time for your hobbies that keep you sane and do activities that help you feel good. It could be walking in a garden, exercising, hanging out with friends, and meeting your loved ones.

Hope you found this article helpful. If you or your organization is interested to learn more about such attributes and behavioral skills at the workplace, feel free to get in touch with us at RGB Training Services!

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