No one likes being criticized, and some of us definitely handle it better than others. I, unfortunately, tend to be on the more defensive side of the criticism spectrum. For too long, I’ve been overly worried about what people think of me and take any feedback they give me to an unhealthy, self-loathing personal level. So, it’s no surprise that I’m quick to combat criticism with every line of defense I have, instead of stepping back and receiving it for what it really is: a mere suggestion at how I can improve myself.
As I get older, I’m starting to realize how to handle and even embrace criticism, and it’s made a significant improvement on my well-being. Whether criticism comes from a teacher, parent or loved one, I’m beginning to understand that it’s often said from a place of love and isn’t meant to be a personal attack. And believe it or not, it’s okay to have flaws; in fact, our imperfections are often what make us unique. While this realization is probably coming a little late in life, I do believe it’s better late, than never. So, for anyone else who has difficulties handling criticism, here are five reasons to embrace it, instead of treating it like a monster you need to fight off.
- Criticism encourages humility: Constructive criticism allows you to take an honest look at yourself and admit some of your weaknesses and insecurities, which can only help you grow. If you secretly agree that you don’t engage enough at work, maybe you can reassess why you think that and what you can do to improve upon it.
- Criticism offers another point of view: When someone provides you with feedback about how you could have done something differently, it offers their point of view that you maybe hadn’t considered, expanding your way of thinking about how to handle situations in the future.
- Criticism helps you practice listening: Whenever you listen to someone else’s criticisms, it allows you to practice active listening. This can help you take the time to analyze a situation in your head and consider what the other person is saying, instead of planning a defensive argument.
- Criticism allows you to explore unresolved issues: If you are particularly sensitive to a piece of criticism, there could be an underlying issue from your past that you still haven’t resolved. Self-reflecting and understanding that issue better allows you to release any pent-up pain that you’ve been holding inside.
- Criticism helps you rethink your instinctive associations: Criticism can help you begin to think in less black and white terms. If you start to think beyond the idea that praise is good and criticism is bad, you will recondition yourself in a way that allows your mind to grow and become more empathetic towards others.