How to Handle Criticism while being critical yourself

The title might sound confusing but think about the last time you were either critical of someone ( vocally) or how you felt when they criticized you. There is an art to being critical or handling this very sensitive subject.

Let’s start when YOU are the victim of those nasty / insensitive words. I bet your first response is to get defensive. You tense up and the brain stops from being your usual happy self to defending every aspect of your wonderful personality. OK , you are probably the only one that thinks your personality is 100 % healthy, but that is for another topic. You roll your eyes, and the blood pressure goes up.

If the person who is being critical of you approaches you in a mature, comforting manner, then your response should be less defensive . After all ask yourself , what are they criticizing me for ? My looks , my performance on the job, my driving, or how I handled myself after several drinks in a bar. Some subjects are off limits in my book , such as my looks unless it is a medical issue, not the color of my eye shadow. Now if the “appearance” comments were geared to how to look professional on a job interview, that might be different. Being a victim in the world of criticism is hard. Here are some tips I have used to make the experience a little less painful.

Ask the person to give you a specific reason for saying what they did . Example :

What is it about my appearance , you find troublesome ?

What is your opinion on how I could change it ?

Why should I change it ? How would it help me?

Are you trying to really help me, or is it your insecurities coming through.

Thank them for speaking up and trying to help you. Trust me if they have another nasty motive, that usual shuts them up. You can usually see the hot air coming out of their ears..

Now we come to the time when YOU are being critical of someone else to their face. Let’s admit one thing right now. We ALL say things behind someones back, whether you know them or not. It’s human nature, but why do we feel the need to express it verbally ? Does it really come from concern and wanting to help someone , or does it come from our own feelings of being inadequate . 

I very rarely voice my opinion in a negative way, unless I know the person well, or see a mistake that might hurt them ( safety) or it has a huge impact on me. Here are some of my tips before you open your mouth.

Never give criticism unless it’s been invited.

Make sure you are an EXPERT in the subject that is being discussed. You have studied the subject matter, lived through the same situation, or experience the same emotional trauma that the person has.

Never give feedback when you are angry.

Know your personality style before giving advice. Are you a gentle person , soft spoken, or do you tend to be loud and aggressive in your conversations ?

Always expect people to be defensive at first. For some reason , we think we know it all, so keep that in mind when you are proving that theory wrong !

I hope this helped you become more aware of how we project ourselves in this fast pace world. Kindness goes a long way in making someone respond nicer towards you and other people. Being open to other’s agenda

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