Do you go into “pout” mode, once you find yourself on the receiving end of some scathing criticism, deservedly or not, while you have no problem dishing it out yourself. Some of it may be misplaced, perhaps even slightly mean spirited, constructive, or playful, but it stings to hear it all the same.
Logically, you know that we as humans are prone to blunder, including yourself, to make mistakes, but you think you’re a big boy or girl now, so you’d rather believe that you’re free of it, or don’t deserve it.
Then eventually, once you’re constantly told or reminded, it’s only human nature to instinctively begin believing and viewing yourself in the same way that others do.
What this often creates, is not a very pretty picture of painful cognitive dissonance, that most of us know all too well.
No one really enjoys or are wanting to be criticized, be judged, or are verbally told to do something. We want to imagine that we’re free of flaw, but in reality, we all know that no one is perfect.
No One Is Ever Perfect
The way that the majority of us seeks to resolve ourselves when it comes to criticism, is by avoiding, deflecting, or discrediting any of it that comes our way, whether it’s true or not.
We don’t enjoy criticism about ourselves, or receive undeserved judgement about anything which emanates us, such as the work we do, our material possessions, our opinions or our lifestyle.
We even often become angry, once any associated groups that we’re emotionally attached to and identify with, such as a favorite sports team, comes under any type of scrutiny.
Criticism Should Be About Getting Better
Deep down we know that criticism, much like failing at something, also gives us the opportunity for self improvement.
If no one bothers to tell us that we’re doing something wrong, we’ll then mostly likely just continue doing the same thing, over and over again, going down the same path of error or annoyance.
This is why any external judgement which can sting us, is a good thing. Certainly, we don’t want to hear it, and will avoid it at all costs, including initially denying the fact what we know it’s most likely true.
But the verbal slap also provides the impetus for examining ourselves with a critical eye, so we can then make a positive change usually for the better.
After all, feeling bad once criticized, even just a little bit, what incentive is there to consider the criticism on its own merits.
What We Need To Ask Ourselves
It comes down to two issues, that we should be asking ourselves once someone criticizes us, whether we like it or not:
1. – How are we able to prevent ourselves from dismissing the criticism before we even have an opportunity to evaluate it, and
2. – How can we effectively determine what’s a valid criticism, and what’s an invalid criticism
Accepting The Criticism
Placing the almighty ego aside, the following is how you should be attacking any criticism that’s directed your way:
• Never Respond To The Criticism Immediately
Your first initial reaction and impulse should be dismissal, based on wanting to preserve your self image. Most will also fail at this, but you can always…
• Reconsider The Criticism More Logically Later
Just because you rightly defended yourself against whoever dared to criticize you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should dismiss their criticism, or just forget about it. But to do this, you need to…
• Spend Time To Continuously Improve Yourself
You need to establish this as a habit, and find the time to do so, by having a honest dialogue with yourself. This will give you the opportunity to consider the criticism based on its own merits. This is when you ask yourself…
• What If The Criticism Is True?
You need to honestly ask yourself this question, strictly as a hypothetical, and then begin to explore its true implications
Analyzing The Criticism
What you need to do, is determine if the criticism is valid, or if it’s completely bunk or just mean spirited. Just as any hypothesis which is scientific, it needs to be validated for truth.
If you acknowledge that the criticism is indeed true, then the claim should be able to predict or explain certain things.
For instance, if someone says that you’ve become inappropriately angry, then you should be able to account multiple instances when you’ve lost your temper, and then later regretted it.
Also, if these instances should occur sometime in the future, and if the criticism accurately predicted this future behavior, then that’s a sign that you should take it seriously, and as valid.
Looking At Yourself
At times, it helps to evaluate these scathing criticisms more objectively. Begin by visioning yourself much like you would be watching a movie or video of yourself.
This so you can get a better judgement of your actions, seen through the eyes of someone else. What that should do is motivate you to take the criticism seriously, and face the consequences if you don’t.
For instance, if someone threatens to leave you or can’t trust you if you don’t resolve your anger issues, you’ll then most likely take that criticism a lot more seriously.
So generally, even though you may lament that you should be facing the consequences of ignoring criticism which are true, those consequences, similar to the wrath of the criticism itself, can also be your ally, which should then motivate you.
The reason for this, is because the actual threat of the consequences that can potentially happen, will force you to make the changes that you’ll most likely need to make.