5 Easy Steps to Accept Criticism

Written by Dr. Eric Perry, PhD


“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” ~Dale Carnegie

My fiancé can’t stand the way I drive. I, of course, do not agree with her criticism and defend my driving skills as if I am a professional formula one driver. I am not special in regards to accepting criticism. No one likes to be criticized, but it is part of my existence unless I become a hermit who lives in a cave. In the current age where criticism is only a “Yelp” away, being able to accept criticism, whether it is fair or not is both necessary and vital for growth.

Here are five easy steps to accept criticism:

1. Don’t let a knee-jerk reaction make a jerk out of you
Don’t be reactive. When criticized we may want to respond with anger and defensiveness towards the person who we feel is unjustly on the attack.  It is important to learn to control these initial negative reactions so things don’t spiral out of control. Take a step back and don’t personalize the criticism. Remember, the criticism is not aimed at you but at your actions.

2. Listen
Criticism is just a form of communication with a little more spice. Perhaps the person criticizing you is not using the right words. However, they are still trying to tell you something. Perhaps, if you listen carefully you will gain insight that can make you better.

3.Accept
Accept that you are not perfect. We ALL make mistakes. Be open to the criticism and see it as an opportunity to grow. Don’t waste energy holding on to ill feelings about being criticized. Imagine yourself holding the criticism in the palm of your open hand. Accept it. Release it.

4. Learn
Take the criticism that you see as negative and transform it into something constructive. The psychotherapeutic term for this is sublimation. High achievers are experts at sublimating negative feelings into positive actions. Learn to see every criticism as an opportunity to grow. Don’t forget to update the people who criticized you on your progress. Look for their eyes to light up when you tell them about the positive changes you made. Only then does it become evident that they really were just trying to help.

5. Lastly, say thank you
Once we put our ego aside, we need to remember we are actually learning the most from the people who criticize us in a constructive way.  These individuals are going out of their way and opening themselves up to a potentially verbal attack just for the sake of honest reflection. So thank them for their courage and don’t hold a grudge.Once you accept this, you may actually go out of your way to elicit criticism from others to see in what areas you can improve. Remember the next time you are criticized, you are in good company and growth can’t happen in the comfort zone! Good luck!

The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a therapeutic relationship with the reader. This blog does not replace or substitute the help of a mental health professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific mental health questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances.

Kindly,
Dr. Perry


Dr. Eric Perry (5)

www.DrEricPerry.com


Education:
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
M.A. in Clinical Psychology
B.A. in Psychology


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108 responses to 5 Easy Steps to Accept Criticism

  1. This is really good. It is also the first time I have heard of sublimation used in a positive sense. I never thought about how something negative could be taken and turned into a positive thing. Usually I have considered sublimation pushing down a negative circumstance and converting into something destructive. Sublimation has always been something to avoid. I have had a paradigm shift.

    Liked by 8 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Hi Joseph, I am glad you gained something from this post. Thank you for your comment! ✨🌟

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Samantha says:

    I got some heavy feedback in class the other day and at first my reaction was to curl myself up into a ball, lie under a table and cry, lol. But then I realised it wasn’t aimed at me personally, as you said (at least, I got feedback from two people and I am pretty sure one of them WAS being personal as I had just given her feedback she wasn’t happy with), and I was grateful. At least now I know where I’d gone wrong and I can improve myself. Great post!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Bindu says:

    Loved this one. “Knee jerk reaction makes you a jerk!” Will remember that. Think that criticism helps you understand your weaknesses and also helps you realise you are being observed.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. kupilih says:

    Yes ! 5 simple tips and but full. I like all.
    I want to translate it to Indonesia language. And I won’t forget to put your link.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. MakeItUltra™ says:

    Hi Tigre23! Thank you so much for letting me know , will check on this asap!

    Like

  6. hahahha…. I’m laughing from the first sentence, hahahh…. this is a great example to use because though you are most defiantly a safe driver, she is also not a “co-pilot” for formula one …. hahahaa I know this is just an example but a good one.
    This is a wonderful post above because criticism, is a touchy subject. Especially if you care for someone and don’t want to hurt their feelings. Also hearing it is hard and getting over step #1 above is the hardest of all…..sometimes I have to bite my tongue or i find myself apologizing.
    Thanks for posting

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Ana P. Rose says:

    Never thought about criticism in such a way. I separate between constructive and negative criticism, and I do try to remain composed. Other times, maybe most, it’s just almost impossible. But I’ll keep this post in mind. Makes sense and it’s clear, not complicated. Thanks. 👍

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Happiness Lights says:

    Very nicely written 🙂
    Often I find the first step the most difficult, when the ego starts jumping up and down screaming “Attack, attack, you are being invaded!” 😉 I like your suggestion on how to deal with that.
    It is great to see what to do in easy steps, thank you very much for sharing!
    Lucia

    PS: Could I please share in my blog?

    Liked by 3 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and leaving a comment✨I truly appreciate the feed back🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  9. LynDurante says:

    Sublimation is a big word! I remembered our science subject with this though – the state when solid turns to gas… whereas my priest friend says “being lifted to a higher status”. Thanks for this! Great post as ever Eric!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. mindelate says:

    Informative, encouraging and inspirational. A great read that will also compel one to practice self discipline, if these steps are followed. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Janina says:

    This is great! I have been one in the recent past to get super sensitive to criticism, and just shut down completely, feeling worthless and incompetent at life. Now, though, on my path of growth, I actually seek out criticism to help me figure out where more work needs to be done! Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      It definitely helps when one puts a different meaning to criticism. Thank you so much for your comment ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a great post thank you. I’m a teacher and often dishing out constructive criticism so its only fair that I can accept it too…even if the mode of delivery is not so great! I find that difficult… but not becoming a jerk is very good advice.

    Liked by 3 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      I am glad you found this helpful. Thank you for the comment!

      Like

  13. I completely agree! Especially with the “knee-jerk-reaction”. I always have to stay quiet for a few minutes after I am criticized so that I can think through what I am going to say. Otherwise, I look back and regret what I said. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. rebeccaelvy says:

    Another fabulous post – thank you!
    These are such helpful tips, for everyone!

    Another one that I use (to remember not to get upset) is that the feedback/criticism also tells you something useful about the person doing the criticising – there’s something about them that means whatever you did pushed their buttons… that’s a good thing to know! It may even be that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with what you did – but that it isn’t a good way to engage/connect with that person in particular.

    In other words, you still need to listen (and not be a jerk) but it may tell you more about them than it does about you!

    Tara Mohr has a whole chapter in her fantastic book “Playing Big” about this.

    Love this blog – thanks so much!
    Rebecca

    Liked by 2 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Glad you liked it and thank you so much for your comment ✨✨

      Like

  15. N says:

    I needed to read this today.
    It is not only a well written post but it is a helpful one too and it came at just the right time to help me. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Andrei says:

    Nice way to face criticism lightly: think that it is not directed towards your person but your actions. The hardest thing when faced with criticism really is taming your ego not to take over your choice of counteractions. Constructive or otherwise, criticism always leads to growth when taken maturely.
    Thanks Eric. I was reminded of a good thing I once use to practice in life – accepting criticsm in an appropriate way.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. This is a post i believe everyone should read. You make such important points, including asserting that pride shouldn’t get in the way of [potentially] constructive criticism. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Maryanne says:

    #1 and #5 I learned as a professional journalist. Criticism truly helped me grow as a writer and I always thanked editors for taking the time to critique my work.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Like the writer observed, criticism is often hard to take – especially when one feels it is not constructive enough. But truth be told, there is always something to learn from every criticism if one’s ego doesn’t stand in his or her way.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. ifonlymommy says:

    I alway like to start out by saying, “I know” followed by either a true statement of how “such thing” is not one of my strong point. Or if it’s a mean criticism I try a smart ass, funny to me, comment. The latter is most likely not the best approach but it’s better than getting mad. Haha. If it’s about writing or painting and someone is trying to give me advice afterwards, I welcome it.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Lydia Reyes says:

    I like this the most: “criticism is not aimed at you but at your actions.” There’s freedom in that statement! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. jbcanwetalk says:

    A very interesting read. As someone who is grateful for constructive feedback but can be defensive when faced with criticism that I deem to be unfair, I find the idea of ‘sublimation’ particularly insightful – will definitely try to use this skill in the future!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Miri says:

    I think any constructive criticism coming from a friend should be welcome. A friend will see you from another angle, invisible for you. So, our ears should be open to this type of comment about ourself. However, it’s important as well differentiate criticism from bullying, since you may find people in your way that will tell you horrible thing for the sake of hurting you.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. spirithill says:

    Wonderful tips to soften the zingers that can certainly throw me off balance (very easily). Thanks! To desensitize myself, I submitted my current c.v. to the UK for a professional critique. It was brutal. I survived it and for $79.00 it can be fixed to reflect I’m not entry level.

    Smile. Life is meant to be funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr. Perry says:

      Your comment made my evening. It reminded me of a time when I did something similar. Thank you for sharing ✨✨

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I always tend to take things way too personally. I got a positive review on an Ebay sale recently. Yup, it was POSITIVE. He/She criticised my packing though. I was devastated. I work so hard to make sure all my stuff is packed perfectly. I have a wicked case of OCD. I know I have issues… That stuff was packaged per USPS regulations for being covered by insurance and safe delivery of an electronic item. Perfection in my eyes… The customer destroyed me with that single statement. It kills me even now.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. neakris29 says:

    Criticism should be accepted only if it is a constructive, but in many cases it is destructive for your self-confidence, so there is a thin line which you should not let others to cross.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. JJS says:

    Important stuff!! An inability to process criticism well has such a negative influence on our growth. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. When I’m criticized, I tend to take it on, try it for fit, see if it applies or if the person criticizing is attempting to divert attention from themselves and their actions. Especially when it is mean spirited and used to jab and as an attack. Being the gentle tender sort, I freely admit, it usually hurts especially when unjustified. If I’ve made an error in judgement, I welcome the thought – after some thought – and try to go from there. Thank you for steps for dealing with criticism. Appreciated. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ilka says:

    I fully agree with that. I love honesty, and for me, gratefulness for giving me a honest feedback is the most important. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Really true especially remaining silent really helps, and reading between the lines helps us to understand them. When someone criticises me, and when I prove them wrong, I can really see that spark and happiness in their eyes, which says everything about them, that they want us to improve. I am happy that I do not over react to such critics. Thank you for sharing these steps.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. onthepages says:

    Critics are your best friend. Steel becomes stronger by burning out the impurities before its cast. We need the same kind of heat to burn ours out and become stronger because of it. Rejection is super hard to take. 90% of the time, there is positive intent in negative specific feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. As a writer I have learnt that a critic has spotted something in my work and that I should pay attention. Maybe a word is jaring, or I have not explained what I meant clearly. From fearing criticism, I now welcome it as an opportunity to improve and clarify my writing. Of course, there are critics and critics, no one can improve from a comment such as ‘ I just don’t like it’-

    Liked by 1 person

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