Respond to criticism and take advantage of it

Respond to criticism and take advantage of it

When they criticize us, we experience it as a personal attack, a comment to hurt or humiliate us that makes us feel bad, that annoys us. This is why it is often difficult to respond to criticism and one of the first reactions is to put ourselves on the defensive.

Being swayed by criticism is not a good idea, especially if it is unwarranted. Instead of getting defensive, we should respond assertively, only then can we take advantage of the criticism and avoid it hurting us.



First of all, It is important to ask yourself a number of questions about criticisms received, because not everyone has bad intentions . For example, what is the purpose of the person who is criticizing us? Why does he do it? What reasons does it have?



If we don't stop to think about why that person is so angry when we are criticized, we are likely to decide to stay on the defensive. However, if we avoid being influenced by our impulses and calm down, everything will be much easier. When you are calm, situations are seen differently. Perhaps the other person is not mistaken ...

Now, if we decide that the person who criticizes us is making a mistake, but we don't say it and accept what they are telling us, we are actually allowing them to manipulate us . Our self-esteem will suffer because we show that we don't respect ourselves.



Person who judges

Dealing with criticism

When a person does not know how to accept criticism, he generally reacts by apologizing or justifying himself, “yes, but…”, addressing criticisms in turn or trying to avoid them at all costs. There are also those who accept them superficially, but without being convinced of the need for a change .

These behaviors are dangerous because it means that those who receive the criticism see it as a personal attack. In this sense, he is likely to feel ill and not to learn any lessons from it.

How to accept criticism?

If we learn to react calmly to criticism, then we will also be able to manage negative emotions. If we are calm, we can better understand what is criticized and take advantage of it. Only in this way can we evaluate the other person's real intentions and understand if they are good or bad .



sensitivity is a gift

In case of constructive criticism, we can learn and use it to improve. If the other person has good intentions, but has not expressed himself at his best, we can point out the best way to say things and avoid compromising the relationship.

In case of attempted manipulation, the best answer is not anger or anger, but the ability to express our thoughts assertively, calmly and serenely . In fact, not reacting with anger means not showing your weaknesses.

If the other person is right and we are wrong, the best thing is to rectify. On the contrary, we need to confirm our position. Better to avoid biting the hook if the other person does nothing but insist with criticism.

When we remain calm and calm in response to a criticism against us, then we can emerge victorious from a situation that would otherwise prove unpleasant. Responding with assertiveness is a way to not feel attacked and to protect ours self esteem .

A criticism is just an opinion. He doesn't have to prove anything. You can always learn from criticism, improve and control emotions without getting trapped.
Couple talking

How to respond to criticism

Receiving criticism is not pleasant, especially when we think what they tell us is not true. Let's see how to respond to the criticisms that are addressed to us and how to make the most of it .

The first step is to analyze and modify our inner speech, that is what we say and think in silence. For example, we could say to ourselves, “I don't have to prove anything because no one is attacking me. Listen carefully because what he is telling you can help you. Try to understand what this person wants from you. The fact that he is criticizing you does not mean that you have failed ”.

Then, we should evaluate the criticism. This will help us decide if we need to change ours behavior or whether it is convenient to reject what they have told us in a constructive way. We should question and reflect on the following points:

  • Ask ourselves who is giving us the criticism . Are you qualified? Do you know us enough? Do you know what you're talking about?
  • What is the purpose of those who criticize us? It might want to cause us discomfort, but also to compromise because something bothers him and wants to push us to change.
  • Ask ourselves if it is a criticism they often address us . Is this the first time we've heard from it or have more people told us the same thing?
  • How much energy must be invested in the change suggested by the critics? Maybe it's not worth it, or maybe it is.
  • Assess the emotional climate . This means that maybe the person who criticized us was angry, so we shouldn't take his words into account. The emotional moment gives a different nuance to situations. We all say things we don't think in a moment of anger. Sometimes it is better to relativize.
To respond to criticism successfully, the secret is to listen actively and know how to manage private speech and then work out an assertive response calmly and calmly.
We also advise you to read: What rights do we neglect when we are not assertive?
People talking while drinking coffee

What to do if the criticism is right?

If the criticism is really constructive, then we can act in several ways, such as:

  • Control the emotions. The ideal is not to get angry, but to manage your mood.
  • Don't defend yourself from criticism . If what they criticize is true, then there is nothing to justify. We would only waste time and energy.
  • To listen actively . An adequate reaction consists in listening actively, in other words paying attention to the message to better understand what our interlocutor wants to tell us and, therefore, responding to criticism in an appropriate manner.
  • Ask for more information and look for data to help change . It's about finding alternatives, not getting angry.
  • Ask for specific information on how to change . One of the key questions is: 'How can I do better?' to address to the other person, but also to ourselves.
  • Summarize what they told us to make sure we understood correctly . Make a final summary and ask the interlocutor if we understand what he wanted to tell us.
  • Establish a strategy for change . Plan and think about behaviors that help change.

As you can see, there are basically two ways of reacting and responding to criticism. If the criticism has no foundation, then we should put ourselves in the other person's shoes and try to understand why they criticize us. If the criticism is justified, then it is better to be assertive and improve the aspects that are criticizing us.

cognitive behavioral techniques for anxiety

Bibliographical references

Goleman, D. (2011), Emotional intelligence. What it is and why it can make us happy , Rizzoli Editore.

Nanetti, F. (2008), Assertiveness and emotions. Integrated training manual for effective communication , Pendragon Publisher.

Destructive criticism: a problem for those who make them

Destructive criticism: a problem for those who make them

we have all been victims or architects of destructive judgments and criticisms in our lives. In fact, the practice of criticizing is widespread