We all realize criticism and feedback are a crucial part of our personal and professional development. We also realize life won’t be all praise and appreciation. But where we all miss the point is in dealing with all that feedback and criticism we get time and again.
How do you deal with criticism? Do you immediately get defensive and angry? Do you take it personally or get discouraged? Or do you use it to make yourself better?
Let’s keep it real, not many of us have a problem giving OUR opinions and “constructive feedback” to others. But most of us do have a problem being on the receiving end of feedback, especially when the feedback feels more destructive than constructive.
Receiving feedback is an art, and like all other forms of art, you can learn to polish it so that you become the masterpiece you wish to be. What’s imperative is that you practice how to receive, accept and apply criticism to improve your life.
Not all feedback is a personal attack
Feedback will come to you in various forms, sometimes as gestures, even as emotions. Positive feedback is the praise you get on a job well done, and negative feedback is just an indication of room for improvement. Believe it or not, feedback is necessary and can be very useful, even if it feels negative at the time.
It might not be delivered in the best manner. It could be by someone who cares about us or has the right level of sensitivity, but it will be there. It’s important you realize it is there for you; or better still, to help you.
Learning to receive and apply feedback is not always an easy process. In fact, it’s a skill that even I had to learn and develop over time. There was a time in my life when receiving feedback felt more like a personal attack on my character or my abilities. And when I felt attacked, I shut down, which left me unable to receive and process what the other person was trying to share with me.
Many of you must have had this same experience. And because you’re unsure how to receive and apply feedback you work or live your life with little to no input from others; except of course, if it’s to praise or affirm you in some way.
Everyone wants to feel appreciated
Yes! Everyone wants to feel appreciated. It’s a vital part of human nature to know they are being respected for doing a great job. But what about all that room for improvement? The improvement, which ultimately brings you much more praise, comes at the cost of not-so-positive feedback. Sadly, very few people seek critique as a way to self-improve.
When you receive feedback in the workplace from your boss, supervisor or colleague, or even in your personal life from your spouse, family and friends, you take and view that feedback as a negative interaction. Eventually, it leaves you unable to receive it or apply it to improve your life. Most of us internalize the comments rather than analyze the content to see how we can improve or make ourselves better.
So today I want to share some tips on how to receive feedback and criticism, that have worked for me and how you can use them for your benefit.
#1 Get over yourself
No one is perfect or above reproach. Show some humility and be willing to take an honest look at yourself and your weaknesses. Not everyone with a different or negative opinion of you is a hater. We all have room for growth and areas where we can improve. Be open to new ideas and perspectives.
#2 Practice to stay calm
While you can’t control what other people will say to you, you can control how you react to it. Control your emotions! Don’t be so defensive or immediately try to attack or negate the person giving the feedback. Stay calm so that you can determine the validity of what is being said.
#3 Listen, even when you don’t feel like it
You’ll see people around you who immediately start thinking of a comeback or ways to combat every single thing being said to them. Take a moment to analyze yourself. Is that you?
If it is, DON’T drill your brain for comebacks. Hear people out, and then process the information. Practice listening for the sake of listening and not just for the sake of answering back.
Ask yourself this question: Are there any legitimate concerns or actions I need to take or changes I need to make?
#4 Filter out what’s negative and keep the positives
Not everything coming your way is meant to be taken personally. Filter the feedback from the person. While not everyone has your best intentions at heart, not everyone is out to get you either.
Give people the benefit of the doubt. And remember, it can be just as difficult to “give” feedback to another person. The person giving you feedback may be nervous or may not even be expressing their ideas perfectly.
#5 Be grateful for whatever feedback you get
Now, this may sound a little strange dealing with the context of feedback and criticism, but you should be thankful for those who take the time to give you feedback. They care enough about you, and your future to help you recognize areas for continued growth. This also means that they see your potential, even when you don’t. Be grateful for even what you consider to be negative feedback, it can also be used to your benefit.
Instill a desire for immediate feedback
Businesses and corporations all over the world understand the importance of feedback. Take a look at your favorite restaurant or grocery store. They beg their customers for feedback so that they can see what their customers are thinking and are always on the lookout to continuously improve. Doing so keeps their customers happy. Not only that, they retain their customers and remain competitive too.
As an individual, You also need to remain competitive and never allow yourself to become complacent in your growth.
Reconstruct yourself after negative feedback
Don’t forget there is always room to grow, always something to learn, always ways to improve. You need to be open to feedback from others.
Without feedback, you can’t really assess where you are in your personal and professional growth. You can’t evaluate your abilities and see where and how you can improve.
So, regardless of the messenger and the method of delivery, all feedback can be used to make you better. I encourage you to sharpen this skill. WELCOME, SEEK, and RECEIVE feedback and then APPLY it so that you can become the best you that you can be!
I hope that you learned something meaningful and encouraging enough for you to make some positive change in your life. If you enjoyed reading, please be sure to like it and comment below, and share it with others who have a difficulty receiving feedback and criticism from others.
Also, let me know if there is a specific topic you would like for me to cover. I love getting your feedback and suggestions.
Remember, with the right Balance, Support, Determination and Action, every dream is possible. Your Dream is possible!
I would love to hear from you. Comment below to let me know how you put these strategies to use in your life.
Follow for more advice, tips, and strategies on social media: