All of us face criticism at times within our personal and professional lives. Dealing with criticism requires a level of self-confidence and maturity coupled with understanding. When criticism is dished out on a regular basis it can impact upon the individual's confidence and personality, creating self doubt and acting as a barrier to natural positive energy. In the long run constant criticism can lead to low self-esteem in both children and adults, who often become easy to manipulate as they begin to doubt their capacity to think for themselves and make good decisions.
When does criticism become intrusive? People who consistently criticise a particular person are actually abusing them through an insidious form of bullying. Sometimes people do this through their misguided belief that repetitive criticism will spur people into action. It doesn't work. People who are constantly told to do something such as lose weight or stop smoking rarely respond to criticism especially if they are made to feel badly about themselves.
Now let's good consider 'good' criticism, the type designed to help us move forwards. When people are very skillful criticism can come across more as suggestion. Example: When shopping, you might pick up a top that seems to drain the colour from your complexion. Rather than saying- that top's dull and does nothing for you, a sensitive person might just offer a couple more tops for consideration. Where this technique is used you create a win-win situation. Even if the person sticks with their original choice, you have presented an opportunity to expand their thinking; the aim of critique.
When we have what we believe to be brilliant ideas it can be hard to accept criticism, especially when we feel flushed with success, but we are all students in life and learn great things from one another. I was criticised by a friend last night and yes, I naturally felt defensive however I have learnt to listen patiently, go away and digest the information. Sometimes I will seek other opinions or research for myself before making a decision regarding the advice received.It is this process that leads to growth. If you receive criticism from an expert, realise that experts usually get it right due to their wealth of experience.The times people refuse expert advice on programmes such as 'Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares,' or 'The Hotel Inspector,' are rare. People often put up resistance initially, especially as people such as Gordon Ramsey deliver their critique likes bulls in a china shop, and barriers may need to be removed before advice can be actioned. If you feel really upset by a criticism, ask yourself why. It might just be they way the criticism was delivered. Alternatively, it could go a lot deeper especially if viewed as personal. Uncomfortable feelings usually point us towards issues needing to be resolved or suggestions that might go against our integrity. Past experiences can be the underlying issues that create a defensive stance. Of course, experts aren't always right so just understand the reasons for your decisions and allow gut instinct to have its say.
At work we receive performance reviews to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses. SWAT analysis are essential tools for large and small organisations, enabling them to constantly monitor goals, input and output. Achievement is key. Ultimately strengths and weaknesses occur in everyone and everything. Pause for thought: the beauty and strength of the flower lie in it's roots, colour, shape and scent however the stem is usually it's weakest point and if bent, can destroy the flower. It's worth remembering that weakness is natiral, especially when feeling vulnerable.
We often criticise ourselves, but how many times have we done something a certain way for years and suddenly discovered an easier way to do the exact same thing? It's part of our purpose as we are here to develop and expand, not to stay still! Good bosses encourage employees to assess themselves and good bosses seek criticism regarding their own performance. This is why organisations send out questionnaires and sales assistants often ask you to go online and comment on their service. Evaluation is an everyday tool so we should embrace criticism, but not be overly critical and too harsh on ourselves- that can create fear of failure.
Criticism activates the mind. We often pay to be criticised- does that sound strange? If you pay for tennis lessons your technique needs to develop so you will be criticised whilst you're learning- and at world class level when you make a mistake! The question is, how well do you give and receive criticism?
Once we accept criticism and decide to act on it we create new momentum in our lives- change activates momentum. People notice when we do things differently and often comment on our growth. As we improve new opportunities reveal themselves leading to more choice and control over our lives.
Be wise- actively encourage criticism and open the doorway to growth and opportunity- alternatively, stay where you are and critise those who critise you, keeping the ball of negativity rolling!
Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org