Illustration: Ashley Siebels
Criticism is hard. People naturally lean towards wanting to be right all the time. Who wants to be told you are wrong, or that you need to fix X, Y, Z? Very few. However, there is great growth and development that can occur when we open ourselves to constructive criticism. What do you need to do to get better at accepting “no” or “do better”? Follow these five steps.
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1. Accept that perfection is fiction.
Did you know that you are not right 100 percent of the time? Even if you feel that you are, you are not. You will never know everything, nor will you always know what to do. Constructive criticism offers you the advice and insight that you need to improve in your career and in your life. It might not always be easy to hear, but it is needed to progress and develop as a person. Once you accept this fact, it makes receiving constructive criticism that much easier.
2. Classify the source of the criticism.
When criticized, you should always consider the source. Is the person criticizing you coming from a place of positivity, or are they trying to hurt or discourage you? If you determine that the source is not malevolent, then you can give weight to what is being said to you.
3. Try to live past your feelings.
Joyce Meyer teaches that people need to live past their feelings. Our feelings can betray us more often than we like to admit. Sometimes you might feel hurt or offended not because of what is being said to you, but because you didn’t feel like you should have been criticized or scrutinized. You must separate yourself from your feelings and address the objective facts of what is taking place. You can ask yourself:
Is this constructive criticism?
Was it said with the intention of hurting me?
Was it shared in an offensive manner?
Was there a purpose for sharing constructive criticism?
4. Take the time to appreciate the lesson learned.
I believe there is glory and growth that takes place in the uncomfortable experiences we have. Receiving constructive criticism can feel quite uncomfortable and revealing; yet, it is so needed. How do we become better speakers, writers, doctors, teachers, politicians, scientists, or salesmen without receiving constructive criticism? We do not. Appreciate the people in your life who are providing the wisdom and insight you need to improve yourself. As long as the criticism isn’t provided in a harmful way, then you should appreciate every lesson you learn from the experience.
5. Implement the improvements right away.
One of the best ways to deal with constructive criticism is to begin implementing the improvement it brings to your life. My life motto is to learn something new and meet someone new every day. When it comes to constructive criticism, I try to implement the needed change immediately, so I develop a new habit from the improvement to better myself. What is the point of learning something and doing nothing with it? Learn, accept, and implement. Don’t you agree?
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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