How to handle criticism

As someone who has a perfectionist for a mother, I’m quite used to hearing a constant barrage of comments about my weight , my skin, my career and my single status

Even though my mother means well and she’s a sweetheart who has helped mold me and my sister IMHO to be amazing people (heheh very humble of me), it still sometimes hurts but there is a bright side , criticism is the best and most direct way to self improvement , I realized that after meeting people who were brought up with mothers and fathers who never criticized even when their kid was doing something extremely stupid so I know I don’t say this enough but I really do appreciate my mother very much 😀

However , even when it comes from the one person who loves you the most in the world it does sting a bit but to get the best out of a critical comment without breaking your psyche into tiny pieces here’s how to deal with it

Know your critic

There’s a huge difference between the abusive bf who told you you were fat even when your ribs stuck out, or a jealous colleague who told you that you dress slutty even when you were pregnant and only wore dungarees and someone who actually cares like a family member or a close friend who has proven to you over time and experience that they have your best interest at heart

Even then not all of their criticism is valid it could still be their own point of view and is irrelevant to you

Listen carefully to what people say and how they say it and measure their genuinity without emotions then think about it calmly and rationally and evaluate if this is something you personally think is something you would like to improve

The unwanted criticism

After listening and knowing who NOT to listen to this is how to deal

When someone makes fun of you or criticizes you to put you down the first thing you must know about this person is they are insecure and feed on making other people feel bad so these are the rules

1-Do not answer back with a criticism of your own its mean and makes you look petty and starts a hostile war that you might not be able to sustain

2-Do not show any emotional reaction of being hurt or of being weakened by this verbal attack , if you can ignore it and look at the person directly as if they just asked you what time it is? Do that , not only will they feel bad that they put themselves in a bad situation of seeming like a bully they also realize they have no hold on you .Reacting means the bully won

3-Do not talk to them about it or tell someone to tell them to stop it, only of course in the case of an unwanted critic who you know has other motives to criticize

However in the case of the stupid friend ( the one who has a case of foot in mouth disease) and means no harm in telling you repeatedly that you look tired and have dark circles under your eyes , you can always tell her gently but firmly on the spot to quit it

The “good intention” critic

After establishing and filtering out the wrong type of critics you are left with the people who care

They do care but they don’t necessarily care to mince their words , if you have a friend who does this a lot at first try to take an objective look at the words and incorporate them into you self improvement plan without losing faith in yourself

You could gently tell the person to choose another way to criticize you like writing you a list in bullets to avoid hurtful comments and to protect you from being hurt by the way they choose to hand you the criticism , it’s also a good way to take control of the situation

You have probably noticed that I haven’t told you to tell the person to stop criticizing you regardless whether it Is wanted or unwanted criticism

The answer is simple Ive met a lot of people in my life who are very good at shutting out any type of opinion or comment on any personal or professional issue , even though these people are blissfully “criticism free” they live on with their faults and people choose to avoid them rather than have to deal with their annoying perks (and we all have them no matter how awesome you are)

Last but not least these are the affirmations you need to tell yourself after criticism

1-I am amazing but have room for improvement

2-Fault in action is not fault in character

3-I am loved and cherished


  • At 2011.05.10 21:10, Mona said:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Thanks :)

    • At 2011.05.18 10:00, fadfadation said:

      “Ive met a lot of people in my life who are very good at shutting out any type of opinion or comment on any personal or professional issue ”

      you can say that again!

      • At 2011.05.26 08:04, ze2red said:

        that was very informative, needs practice, but will work on it.
        thanks :)

        • At 2011.06.13 14:28, princess said:

          I can totally relate to this! I’m definitely guilty of shutting out though, there’s only so much I can listen to

          • At 2011.09.30 16:02, jason said:

            critisism is a judgement and one who had your best interests in mind would not apply that to you. one who had your best interests in mind would discuss the issue with you lovingly and with care for your emmotions. If you have to address what they said without addressing your emmotions than they have failed in that. emmotions are part of you and a far more integral part than rational thinking could ever be, to turn them off in any situation is harmful, emmotional repression can and has caused severe and devastating harm to many people. A situation in which a person is driven to change by criticism is just horrible. If your mother constantly barraged you with comments about your weight then she was being abusive, 1 in 4 women of my generation (and i beleive yours, based on other posts ive read.) has developed an eating dissorder, I do not know you or if you have experience with this (and I am certainly not assuming that you do not) and, while there are many things that cause or exacerbate this, mothers doing that have certainly contributed by spewing the same crap that society victimised them with, by applying it to their children they become perpetrators. I will close with this, as you have met people who close everything out, I know well the horrors of what happens when a person cannot help but let everything in. Both of these situations can arise in order for the individal to deal with a critical life; not letting anything in, even non-critical things, because one is terrified of critisism due to being beaten down by it so much, or, letting everything in, doing whatever another seems to want and changing however another seems to want one to because constant criticism has convinced one that that is the only way people will even like them, let alone love. Both of these situations can occur in people as a result of this oh so critical world that is nearly bereft of emmotion due to the war that is being waged on our hearts every day, both of these situations are heartbreaking and both of these kind of people have visited your site… Criticism is not good, criticism is judgement, judgement is comparison, comparison is the theif of joy, and none of the three should be applied to people. ever.

            • At 2012.05.29 01:13, Anne Zablocki said:

              I really felt that this great post needed a comment. You’ve illustrated a very important point. Thanks a lot for posting!