Criticism is a tough animal to take. Reaction is everything. Of course, for most of us, our first immediate reaction is to lash out, get angry, get defensive and perhaps even storm away. No one likes to be criticized, period. Others have no trouble with criticism and it barely even fazes them. They either laugh it off, brush it off or take notes.
Depending on where criticism comes from will usually influence our response. When it comes from family it’s a little harder to take. It doesn’t always have to be this way though. There are easy ways to deal with criticism. Here is a small list to help you next time you are subjected to someone’s verbal lashing.
1. Kill them with kindness.
It drives them crazy. Downright irritates them actually. How can you be so calm? They just said something really rude and ignorant in the hopes you would lash back and you didn’t. You took it like a champ. Just smile, say something polite and kind and walk away.
2. Don’t take it personally.
It usually has nothing to do with you. Most people lash out or criticize because they are dealing with inner demons or other anger issues and none of them have anything to do with you.
3. Step back to cool down.
You really want to snap back but you know that it probably won’t end well and nothing that you say is going to be very nice. Try your hardest not to respond immediately. Naturally we want to. Resist the temptation to do this.
4. Acknowledge and make it better.
If the criticism really was deserved and you know it was (perhaps an angry customer?) don’t try to justify your error. Don’t make excuses. Just apologize and correct.
5. Internet troll?
Is this where the criticism happened to come from? Let it go. They are looking for attention, a good fight and entertainment. They need someone to feed their small minds and their bullying appetite. Ignoring is the absolute best way to deal with this
6. Walk away.
Sometime you simply need to walk away. Don’t add any fuel to this fire. Some people are looking for a fight and feel you may be a good opponent. You’re not. It’s not a game you want to play. Don’t put any of your precious energy here.
7. Be gentle and curious.
Ask them where this criticism comes from and why did they feel the need to spew it out like they just did. Find out if they are in emotional pain and if there is anything you can do to help them. That will stop them dead in their tracks.
8. Dump them.
If this is a person who does this all the time perhaps it’s time to eliminate them from your life. Yes, even if it’s a family member. Family isn’t always blood, remember? Sometimes it’s completely necessary to simply avoid the criticizing toxic person. Sometimes that’s the only way.
9. Is there a lesson here?
Take a minute, before responding, to figure out if there really is something to learn or gain from this criticism. If it is deserved, then maybe it’s time you fix or change something that is long overdue. Give it some thought.
10. That look.
If it’s a family member getting out of hand at a family event, flash them that look, they know the look, the one that says that is unacceptable, without you even having to actually say it. They know. That look can go a long way in diffusing a situation and people get it.
Criticism certainly isn’t an easy pill to swallow but with the right beverage, it can go down much smoother.