Criticism is never nice - especially when you hear negative things about something you've been working on really hard, or something really close to you. Criticism is tricky as well - even though the person criticizing you may not want to hurt you, words can be turned and twisted and hurt your feelings after all.
I have been dealing with a lot of criticism lately - and surviving this means putting things into perspective. I have created a list which might help you deal with criticism in the future - or it might even help you with things you're dealing with at this very moment.
CONSTRUCTIVE OR DESTRUCTIVE?
There are two forms of criticism - constructive and destructive criticism. Analyzing who is criticizing you might help you determine the form of criticism you're receiving. If it's a teacher or another person who'll be happy or positively influenced if you succeed in life, it's likely that you're dealing with a person who's only trying to help you. If it's someone who'll benefit if you fail, lose confidence, et cetera - it's possible that you're dealing with a destructive person. His/her intention might be to hurt you.
DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLYThe person criticizing you might say something about an essay you handed in, something you created or something you did in a negative way. If the person is constructively criticizing you, he/she isn't trying to tell you that you're a failure or that you're bad or mean - he/she's just trying to give you tips on improving your work. It might sound harsh and it might be a tough pill to swallow if you put lots of time and energy in it - but the person is only trying to help you.
If the person is destructively criticizing you, he/she is only trying to get you down. He/she may be jealous, feel threatened - might want to make you feel less and worse about yourself because he or she is insecure. Words can hurt but if the intentions are good, realize that the person hurting you has tried to choose the worst words to hurt you, and it's natural that you're hurt. Just try to stand above that person.
TRY TO BE LESS SENSITIVE
I am a very sensitive person and even though it's not a 'cool' thing to admit - I cry easily. Crying and showing that you're hurt only makes it easier for the opposite person to hurt you if he/she is trying to negatively influence you. If the person is constructively criticizing you it will make you seem less 'tough'. Chances are that the person is not trying to make you feel bad, but the words just came out the wrong way. Being known as a very sensitive person can also negatively influence you in another way - if people know you're very sensitive, they'll be less likely to tell you the truth if they know it's going to hurt you - even if it might be helpful to you.
SEE IF THE PERSON IS RIGHTWhether it's negative or positive, destructive or constructive - the person you're talking to might be right, and their tips/comments might be helpful. There's nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself.
Constructive criticism is there to help you. Destructive criticism isn't - it's there to help the person criticizing you. However - you should be thankful to every 'criticizer'. If you show the positive person that you're thankful he/she'll be likely to help you in the future - and if you're thankful to the negative person, he/she'll think you don't care. Trust me - convincing someone you simply don't care is so much better than showing that the person's really affecting you.
DON'T GET DEFENSIVE
Especially with constructive criticism. Admit that you're not always right and make sure the person who's trying to help you, actually gets the chance to help you.
PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR POSITION
I think this is especially useful when dealing with destructive criticism. That girl might be jealous of your new bag and she may say it's ugly - only because she can't afford such bag and saying that makes her feel better. It's a stupid example but it works that way. If you try to imagine the position that person's in, you might have less struggles with accepting their comments.
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP
Criticism can be hard - it can be mean and it can come at a completely inconvenient time, but it can't literally hurt you. It can't break your bones, it can't steal your house - it can hurt your feelings but it can't physically hurt you.
YOU'RE NOT PERFECT
And don't try to be. Nobody is - everyone has flaws and it's better to accept yours than to deny them. It's easy to start crying and screaming and rambling about how you're right/they're wrong - but try to get something positive out of everything, even if the original intention of the comment was negative.
I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses. - Johannes Kepler
Thank you so much for reading this and I hope this helped you. I personally think this list can be really useful. Like I said - crying is easy and accepting the situation is harder. If you finally learn to accept your situation you'll find yourself to be a stronger person, and you can get something positive out of constructive, but negative comments as well. Think of this list in the future and you'll find yourself leaving hard conversations as a happier person. If you have anything to add, make sure to leave a comment down below. Much love, Sjoukje