Criticism An inevitable part of life. - Part II

14, Nov, 2014, by Seema Bhatnagar

criticism quote Frank A Clark

Criticism is an art.

Criticism, whether it is giving or receiving, is an art, and thats a reason why it is so difficult to learn and no wonder, many fails at it. It is interesting to note that when it is such a sensitive issue and impacts our day-to-day life, hardly anybody is willing to spend time and energy in learning to handle it.

Learning to handle criticism is a requisite if you really want to enjoy healthy relationships with others, doesnt matter at work or at home. If you feel, it is difficult to learn and is not your cup of tea, I would suggest, you must attempt at least once to bring that finesse in you, I am sure, when you would feel positivity in your relationships, you would feel doubly motivated to achieve excellence in handling it.

The best way of giving criticism is, just imagine for a moment, how you would like to be criticised if you are in a given situation. Once you have this perspective in mind you would never think to make other person feel low and scathed. One must make sure that directed criticism is not hurting but nurturing the spirit of other person. Choose the softest and mildest words for anything which you want to be improved upon. Instead of highlighting the mistake show the better and improved way of doing it. Strong words, for sure are never liked by anybody even if somebody is at mistake.

Another point to be remembered is - before you criticize somebody you must know the readiness and emotional ability of other person, how comfortable and strong that person is about handling criticism. People have different emotional quotient, not everybody can handle criticism in a same way. So, you must craft your criticism according to every individual's emotional quotient.

For receiving criticism, if you know your strengths and weaknesses in advanced then criticism would surely be a value addition but if you are completely ignorant about it than any criticism would be a shattering experience. So it is better you spend good amount of time in knowing self to a greater depth.

One fundamental truth about criticism is it is never about an individual, rather it is meant for an action, task or statement. So, never take it too personal and always think of detaching yourself from it. Though it looks simple to read and write but it is thousand times difficult to practice it, simply because our big fat ego never let us believe in this fundamental truth.

Yoga and Criticism

Indian scriptures laud humility, patience and understanding towards others. Gita says, "One should remain equanimous in situations which are against you or in your favour. One should remain self-established when somebody criticizes or appreciates you. Such a person is dear to God. (Chapter 12, verse 18,19)

Going by our conditioning, most of us feel happy and accepted on receiving praise, but when it comes to criticism, it throws us off balance. But what is required is, one should never feel moved either by praise or criticism - this is a true form of Yoga. When neither praise nor criticism affects you, no situation is powerful enough to throw you off balance and you enjoy relationships which are free from envy, jealous, flattery or hurt.

Daily practice of mediation helps a great deal in exploring personal shortcomings and gives strength to maintain calm during times of harsh criticism and negative situations. It takes you inwards and makes you feel comfortable with inner disturbances which arises due to criticism.

criticism of kid n mom penguin

How to handle criticism?

When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical. ~ Unknown

Yes, I do agree there are people who unnecessarily criticize, only to satisfy personal ego of feeling superior to others. This is so because people feel that causing hurt to others or making others feel low would make them work efficiently, but this is not true, a little prick or hurt might pinch the ego and might push an individual to work to some extent but such relationships do not fair well for too long, there would always be a tinge of bitterness.

For me also, it was difficult to handle unwanted and harsh criticism, but slowly on gaining clarity over common mindsets of people, I have learnt to handle criticism better. Destructive criticism is nothing but a personal ego satisfaction and so it is more of habitual then intentional and directed. It is a temporary satisfaction of feeling superior to others. Handling criticism simply requires a change of personal mindset and a sound self-knowledge.

Following are some mindsets which if adopted can be helpful in handling criticism:-

#1- Change your own perspective of being perfect. Replace it with a thought, I want to give my best to whatever I am doing and I am open for new views and perspective from others. - simply for the reason that your work should reflect not only the best of you but of others also.

#2- Criticism is a way to bring improvement in work. It is a kind of help from others to bring forth those faults and subtle shortcomings which otherwise could have remained unnoticed.

#3- Our own perspective of self and associated ego doesn't let us to be humble and understanding towards others, but by accepting criticism we develop a power to accept our faults. When you learn to handle criticism well, somewhere deep down you are actually working on dropping your ego. So, invite criticism from others without worrying about whether it would be constructive or destructive as it would anyway add to your personal emotional strength.

#4- Do not feel that anyone who criticizes you is your enemy and dislikes you. It is simply a different perspective of looking at things. Working with single perspective is like pigeonhole thinking, opening up yourself for criticism is widening the horizon of personal thinking.

#5- Great things happened in this world only because of criticism. History would not have been so interesting without it. Since it is a great ego pricker, it pushes individuals to work beyond personal limitations. Use it as a performance booster rather than taking it as a personal attack.

#6- Criticism is an essential part of personal growth because it reminds you about your personal weakness and strengths. A constant reminder of personal shortcomings builds up strength to face negative people and situations in life.

Part of success

Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense. ~ Samuel Johnson

My experience says that people are so insecure in their own zones that they want to create the same feeling in others, so it is a personal responsibility to create a protective shield around self and allow only constructive criticism to pass through. This is possible only if we grow beyond normal mindsets and consciously learn to handle criticism with more confidence and openness. Instead of shying away from accepting personal shortcomings from others, one should be open enough and welcoming to improve upon.

Believe me, nothing can throw you off balance if you have a good insight about your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Criticism is an essential part of success - doesnt matter whether you are in business, job, relationship or a career. It helps immensely at every stage of personal growth provided one looks at the brighter side of it.

If you are aspiring to do things differently or want to become a leader in your pursuits, then consider criticism as an inevitable part of life and you must learn to handle it well.

In every relationship, criticism can help you to adjust to each others perspective and can create more acceptance and comfort with each other.

For a growing child, criticism can make or break personality. A very harsh criticism can literally damage confidence and ability to face tough situations in life. As a parent, one should be understanding and thoughtful while doing any kind of criticism. For a teacher also, it is very important to learn how to constructively criticize students, because harsh and destructive criticism can impact interest of students in studies and can potentially impact their career choices.

Learning to handle criticism well will be possible only when you would change your mindset and would consider it as a healthy and inevitable part of life. Once you are comfortable with criticism, your confidence would be rock solid and nothing will ever disturb you from reaching to success.

image©Adam Arroyo
Related Posts
Criticism An inevitable part of life. - Part I
How to handle criticism?

Seema Bhatnagar
, Blogger, Writer, Life Coach and Founder of Abundance Thinkers, site for personal growth and development. Empowering people in achieving and living the best of personal potential.

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