By Darlene Haddad
When I was growing up, I was taught to protect myself from criticism by saying “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” Well, I discovered that this wasn’t actually true. Criticism indeed can break so many things. I soon discovered that the more I went into denial about the effect that criticism had – the angrier I became. Nobody is perfect and nobody also has the right to break a person with harmful words. However, we live in a world of bullies that come in all shapes and sizes. Often times we can’t control the criticism from others, but we can control our reaction to it. So what can we do about it?
Firstly, when someone throws out a criticism, we can either take it as a slap on the face or as a lesson to learn from. Normally when someone is throwing out a degrading remark to us, it simply means that they have issues with anger and don’t know how to handle certain situations except throw nasty comments out. When someone tells you that you are stupid or unintelligent, what they are actually saying is they haven’t got the analytical skills or emotional intelligence to define the true strength of a person, but instead are weak themselves. A strong person doesn’t need to point out all the flaws in another person with harshness, but rather lead them to overcome their weaknesses.
We cannot control other people’s actions, but we can control our own! Here are 8 ways that you can be better equipped to deal with it in future.
- Firstly, take a deep breath, step back, look at it from another perspective and try not to instantly react in the same way. This will save you from doing something you might regret and even looking bad.
- Let’s face it; no matter what you are going to do in life, there will be those who are going to try to put you down. The more successful you get, the more that they will try. In this case, try zoning out and thinking about something else. Don’t even listen to what they are saying or try to argue because that is the whole point – they want you to argue with them so they can try to break your self-esteem even further.
- Don’t let the criticism stop you from living your dreams. When someone criticizes your goals and ambitions, it’s often because they are negative about themselves and don’t like what you are doing. However, what you end up doing is creating a wall to defend yourself, and over time, you might eventually just give up on your dreams because of one person’s attitude.
- Think about who is giving the criticism and if there is some value and worth in what they are saying. If the critic is your boss, then you should think about what they are saying and see if there is any truth in what he/she is saying and see if perhaps you did lack in the area they were criticizing. However if it is coming from an angry person on the road, then you don’t have to take any value towards it and just ignore it.
- Believe in your goals and your visions. If you develop a strong belief in what you are doing, there will be no words or actions against you that you will shake your foundation. You will survive the negative remarks! Tell yourself everyday what is so great about you.
- Use a new strategy to diffuse the criticism. Take some old-fashioned advice and simply respond with a positive response such as “Thank you” or “Your viewpoint will be taken into consideration.” When you choose to respond with something positive, it automatically puts the criticizer into an uncomfortable position, and strips them of their negative power.
- Some people are critical by nature and do not always realize they are hurting the feelings of others. When you come across a critical tongue, try to stop, not react, but look the person right in their eyes and repeat exactly what they said back to them. This might shock them and even shock you. It will make them think hard and long and think twice about ever doing that to you or others again.
- Finally, be cool and just smile back at the criticism. Now you know exactly how to handle the situation by being cool and relaxed because you know what kind of makeup is this criticizer, so just smile, be happy, feel sorry for them, and feel amazing inside-because you simply are.