Let me point out the irony first – no one is perfect and yet each one of us has taken the time to criticize and ‘point a finger’ at someone else, telling them that they are wrong. Handling criticism is never easy but it is probably one of the most important and critical skills that each person must have. No one is criticism immune – as long as you are doing something or even not doing anything, there will be someone who will find something to criticise you for. With this premise, the sanest thing to do is control your reactions towards the harsh words directed to you. It is up to you how you behave when criticism is hurled your way – most often than not, it would be unreasonable and uncalled for. By getting angry or aggressive, you pile up stress and tension for yourself. However, if you remain calm and appear unaffected, you will keep your peace, self-esteem and the person criticizing you will realize that their words hold no importance for you.
The world is made up of all kinds of people – some are nice people who add positive value to your life and make you happy. Others are probably the critical kind, for whom taking a jab at someone or speaking harsh words mean nothing – they probably don’t even think that they are hurting anyone. It would be prudent to ignore such a person or at least not make much of their words – countering the harsh words would inevitably lead to conflict and ultimately damage relationships. You could try telling the person that their words were uncalled for and have caused hurt. If they are able to understand – great – you would have helped someone, if not, it is best that you move on. Persons, who unjustly criticize others and don’t give a second thought of how their words have caused harm, really deserve your sympathy and help.
Again, it would seem like a tall command but reacting harshly to a person, who is already in a foul mood and has highly charged negative emotions, is like putting a flame to fuel. The fact is that such situations can and do become ugly very soon and the persons involved end up feeling frustrated and also earning a bad name for themselves. This includes the person who was at the receiving end of the harsh criticism. It is best to remain stoic and unfazed and allow some time to elapse – the errant person would have ‘cooled’ off and it is much easier to reason with a person who is willing to listen and take feedback.
Such situations can present themselves anywhere – at home and most often at work. It gets tougher at work but even then it is best to walk away from the potentially explosive situation rather than walk right into it. From experience, I can tell you it is best to not allow criticism to get to you – it can destroy you, take away your happiness and cause you to feel miserable even though it is no fault of yours.
Instead, learn and remember never to be unjustly critical – provide feedback to people in a dignified and respectful manner. The other aspect of handling criticism is also that even though at the time, the criticism may seem scathing you could learn something about yourself. Maybe there is something you do or a manner in which you behave that is upsetting others. Take time and learn from the ‘negative feedback’ – it will strengthen your character and help develop better relationships with people around you.