In a recent post, we dealt with nastiness and an alternative way of responding to it. In this post, I want to discuss how you can take on board criticism even if, like me, you are a sensitive soul.
Whenever someone criticises you, they are either doing it for good or bad reasons. The good reasons might be good for them because it makes them feel smarter or better about themselves. Also, they genuinely might want to help you to improve. The bad reasons are for many reasons which we discussed in the post on nastiness.
First, if they are doing it to feel better about themselves, the key is to see yourself as doing your part to help them boost their self-esteem. Sometimes, letting someone else criticise you is a gift you give the person. You give them the chance to be right and feel smart which obviously they have a need to feel.
Second, if they are doing it for genuinely good reasons, the likelihood is that they are doing it because they want to help you. The way in which they give it might be harsh but that is irrelevant. The key is to understand that your job is to be the very best you can be and their feedback is part of what is going to get you there. In your head, you can evaluate their feedback skills in how they criticised you. This will help you create distance and avoid taking it so personally. So, mark them out of 10 as to how good their feedback skills are. If they were very harsh, give them a two or three for example. This little exercise really changes how you feel about the feedback.
Last, focus immediately on what you are going to do differently as a result of this feedback and imagine yourself doing whatever it is so much better. When you do this in your imagination it will get you to the point where you almost feel like thanking them for their criticism because, truly, they have helped you a lot.
Criticism can hurt, mainly because of how we interpret it and personalise it. Change the way you handle it, depersonalise it and it can transform the way you feel and the way you work.