how to handle criticism

How to handle criticism: 10 tips to help you approach it

Many people struggle when it comes to knowing how to handle criticism, which in itself is an art. Of course, it’s a given that it isn’t something we like to have to do, but everyone, sooner or later, comes across a comment, an attack, or a more or less well-intentioned lecture.

Some people have a harder time than usual knowing how to handle criticism, which implies an added problem, both for their well-being and for their relationship with the person who has criticized them. However, we will all face criticism at some point in our careers, we must remember we need to use it and understand what is being said to us in a constructive manner.

Tips to learn how to handle criticism healthily

In this article, you will find 10 factors that you should take into account when facing how to handle criticism, something that will help you both in your personal life and professional life. We have divided these factors so that they are understood more easily. Some of them will come into play immediately after you have received the criticism while others will have to be taken into account at the same time.

how to handle criticism

1. Learn to listen carefully to what they tell you

Many times we are predisposed to listen to things that are not really said.

Keep an eye out for misunderstanding things that are not really being said. Listen attentively to what exactly is the issue and try not to misinterpret it; be careful with reading between the lines unnecessarily with concepts such as tones and intentions.

Sometimes there are messages beyond the spoken word –  that is true – but more often there are not. Stick to the message that is being said to you, in case you are not clear, you can always ask for an explanation or ask someone you trust if they understand the same thing as you.

2. It is important to do a good analysis

Once you have listened to or read carefully what you have actually been told, you have to interpret it properly and reach a conclusion. In other words, you must decide what the true meaning of the message is that you have received.

3. Practice composure 

Do not react impulsively or overreact to any feedback, do not become defensive and attack the person who is giving you criticism. 

It is likely that the criticism or comment that they have made refers to something specific; it is not a representation of you as a whole. They are probably not criticizing you completely but rather something specific you have done or said.

4. Evaluate your response

If you manage to compose yourself, at least to the eye, the best thing is to respond in an assertive way.

Nobody likes criticism or being caught out, but the most mature way is to accept that we are sometimes wrong, that not everyone will always like everything we do, and learn how to handle criticism.

In this case, be constructive and answer calmly, even if you do not agree with what has been said.

5. Look at the whole picture

You have already managed to compose your response and you may have misinterpreted the criticism a little. In any case, remember that you will always have a moment to take a step back and think about what has been said, in which you can think about what happened from a different perspective, right-size it, and reach a more positive conclusion that gives you more peace.

6. Take advantage of the criticism

Whether you agree with the criticism or not, you can always take it as an opportunity to learn. You can learn that maybe certain people don’t like some aspects of you, which will help you in the future. You can also learn that, although they criticize or scold you, it is not the end of the world. These situations can be a good way for you to get to know yourself better, how you react and how others react to you.

7. Be humble

Sometimes we do not like to admit it or it hurts to do it initially, but the truth is that the other person is right. Whenever you have taken criticism in a constructive way, accept it and take note of it. No one is perfect and it is a great virtue to accept this with a positive attitude and mindset.

8. Be kind to yourself

Especially when you perceive that the other person is right in the criticism that has been made towards you, it is important that, as we have indicated before, you interpret the facts in a measured way.

Being at fault does not make you the worst person in the world, but as a human being, remember we all make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up. Simply do what you can if there is a solution and of course, be patient with yourself, especially if there is no solution or you have not yet found it.

9. Take criticism naturally 

Remember, giving each other feedback is a normal way of communicating between human beings, and so it is important to learn how to handle criticism. Of course, you must do it in a constructive way, but we can take criticism naturally: human relationships are not dictatorships where you can not mention anything negative about the other person or something that you do not like. The important thing is to treat each other with respect and try not to hurt one another.

10. Take note of similar feedback

Sometimes, we do not know why or do not understand it or agree with it, but the same feedback or comment might sometimes be made by different people over a period of time.

how to handle criticism

We all have our ways but perhaps it is time to consider if it is something serious that we might have to change or a flaw that would be good to change for the better of our relationships but most importantly, for ourselves.

When something is repeated it is a coincidence, but if it occurs more than that and it’s indicating a pattern. It’s fine, it is good for others to point out things we need to change or improve.

Human communication is complex and can sometimes be very tough, especially when we feel attacked or that we are exposed. If you are finding issues when it comes to communicating and realize it generates problems in your relationships it is time to take responsibility and seek help. Psychologists are used to working with improving social skills and there is much room for improvement. Give yourself the opportunity.

Learn how to handle criticism with ifeel 

Ifeel has created an emotional well-being program for companies, designed by its team of leading psychologists to help companies help their employees manage their mental health.  

Thanks to this partnership, HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to handle criticism, and turn it into something positive for themselves.

In addition, ifeel’s emotional well-being program for companies offers employees a mental health care service structured at different levels depending on individual needs. This way, employees can access various mental health care tools with ifeel’s app. On level two, they can receive emotional support through a chat with one of our platform’s licensed psychologists. If additional support is needed, they can access the third level of the program: online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases such as theirs. 

We hope you found this post about how to handle criticism interesting. If you want more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible. You may also be interested in this post about mental health at work.

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