Monday, April 16, 2018

Dust that Dirt Off Your Shoulder! (How to Deal with Criticism)

Criticism is never a nice thing to receive because as humans we thrive on praise (although it can sometimes leave us with reddened cheeks!). But, be it about our appearance or a project we have sweated over, criticism can leave us with a considerable lack of confidence, and even cause us to question the motives of our faultfinders. 

If you are sensitive like me, the effects of criticism can be devastating. I remember crying my eyes out after learning that a handful of my wedding guests had said some unsavoury things about my special day! Thankfully, I have grown a pair since then (I hope) and can share some things you can do to 'dust that dirt off your shoulder'.

1. Helpful or hurtful?
Figure it out by listening carefully. Is the critique constructive and coming from a genuine place, or is the person simply being rude? You'll be able to measure this through different metrics. For example, what is your relationship with the person? Have you given them permission to offer their feedback? Are they criticizing something that everyone else seems to have taken no issue with? If you deem their feedback helpful, then best to distance your emotions from the criticism (easily said than done, I know!), and just come back better. But if they are being hurtful, have your time to privately vent, cry or kick a door, then move on. Pay them no mind!

2. Delay, digest, deconstruct
The first thing we usually do when faced with criticism is to be defensive. And why wouldn't you? The truth is criticism can hurt, and biting back is what we do when we feel under attack. But refrain from making excuses or lashing out. You'll come across as salty or unteachable. Gather your thoughts first, and take as long or as little as you need to digest and deconstruct what the person is saying. 

3. Pull out the positive
In order to separate yourself emotionally from the criticism, pull out the crux of your critic's comments and measure it up honestly against what they are criticising. This can be difficult to do, so turn to another person you can trust if possible. If their comments were truthful but delivery harsh, write out what they said in your own words. That should make it easier to digest.

3. Gracefully give or get an explanation
So you've stopped your impulse to cuss out your critic. Well done! BUT Sometimes, the ones who have the most to say about how we look, or how we conduct our business often do so from the safety of their proverbial soapbox. So, if you feel the criticism is not valid, simply ask for a breakdown of their feedback because you might stand corrected! Otherwise explain with reasons, why you think the person is judging you erroneously. I once calmly told someone that since I didn't think they were really concerned about my health, I wouldn't be accepting their opinion about my weight. OK - be more graceful than I was, but you get my point!

Smile through it!

4. Express gratitude

Take some time to thank the person for their feedback. If they meant it for your benefit, they will appreciate you taking it in good faith. Not only can it strengthen your relationship with them, it will help you to improve in the area under scrutiny. If they meant to be hurtful, you have immediately one up'd them by responding to their cruelty with kindness. Most often than not, you will have disarmed them with your cool demeanour.

5. Don't persecute yourself
Hey, we all make mistakes right? So, it's OK to not always get it right, and sometimes, unflattering feedback is a consequence of being human. I once read that we all have a chapter of our lives we don't read out loud. So with this in mind, don't allow criticism to lead you to take a dim view of yourself or your work.

6. Learn the lesson
The most important this is that you gain knowledge from any dialogue that does not go your wayIf it was helpful criticism, then simply and use it to better yourself. And if it was cruel judgement, then take it as a lesson in how to strengthen your backbone! Either way, let it better you!

So there you have it. Six ways to dust that dirt off your shoulder! Do you have any scenarios about when you handled criticism well or blew it out of proportion to share? What other tips do you have when it comes to dealing with your critics?



  1. I honestly try not to citricize people, I know I did sometime, but is such a bad and wrong behaviour. ive been criticized too and is not a good feeling, but just like you now i deal with things in a diferent way, i think people that critize a lot are people who arent secure of themselves and they need to find the bad in others instead of seeing what wrong with them.

    1. Doing it unnecessarily is a very b ad habit, and very unhelpful. It's not a good feeling at all, nut hopefully my tips have helped :-) Yes, you are right - it does at times come from a place of insecurity.

  2. Love your post dear! If you want check out my blog.I write about fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.Maybe we can follow each other and be great blogger friends!

    1. Hi there. Many thanks :-) Will take a look at your blog

  3. It can be really difficult to accept criticism. I agree with your ideas - all of them and they will come in very handy as I learn how to deconstruct feedback. Thanks for the post! -

    1. I have always struggeld with it,which is why I decided to research and share with others! Thanks for reading :-)

  4. Always amazing info to be found on this blog. Thanks for sharing.
    From the blogger at Cameroon Lifestyle Blog

  5. I am so humbled to read that. Thank you so much for reading. Please leave your blog url so I can add to my reading list. X

  6. Firstly, I love the title of the post. Secondly, great topic to discuss and strong sound advice.

    1. Hey Betty! I am so appreciative of your support. I am glad to see you are learning lots here!

  7. Great tips. Another effecive strategy is to verbally reflect the criticism back to the critic - "so you think I need to try harder? So you don't think this dress suits me?" (r whatever) which encourages the critic to elaborate further, giving you more time to listen and digest before deciding how to respond. 🕺🕺😉

    1. Hi Cherryl. Yes! That's so true. Thank you for adding this great point. I also feel that it will also rattle them (if they are bot being genuine) because they probably are not expecting that response.


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