Respond to criticism

Dealing & Responding To Criticism – Shake It Off!

Family gatherings during the festive season or big events through out the year can bring out the best and the worst in people.

At a party on the weekend the conversation turned to what our plans were for Christmas day. It was quickly overcome with comments like:

oh my mother-in law will insist I do it her way

my passive-aggressive mother will drop sly comments throughout the day

my sister will always try to one-up me, whether it’s a gift or a dish she’s prepared

my husband sits back and accepts the praise for hosting when I’m the one who’s done all the preparation and makes sure everyone is well fed and receives a nice gift

Does this familiar?

Most of us are a bit sensitive to criticism. It can churn away inside us, or flare up and cause a blow out.

I came across a great article that can help you understand and diffuse your critics. It contains an arsenal of practical tips that will help you keep your sanity and a smile on your face!

Thirty Reasons You Get Criticised And The Best Ways To Handle It

Melanie Greenburg, PhD, wrote this comprehensive post Thirty Reasons You Get Criticised And The Best Way To Handle It.  It’s a great read, and if you have time I thoroughly recommend it.

For those who don’t have time, here are some of Melanie’s top reasons you get criticised: 

  • They have a controlling personality and have to be in charge.
  • They feel entitled to special treatment or status and do not feel they are receiving it.
  • They feel criticized by you and are counter-attacking.
  • They have strong opinions on a subject (e.g. politics, religion etc.) and see other points of view as less valid.
  • They want you to understand how your actions are hurting or disadvantaging them.
  • They are covering up hurt feelings with anger.

So what’s the best way to handle it?

Each of us will respond differently, plus other factors at play will affect our reaction.

Stress, lack of sleep, lack of time, lack of help are all examples that can lead to resentment.

This means the first person who criticizes us … well, kapow! Tempers can flare. Let’s avoid that with some of  Melanie’s strategies.

Responding To Criticism

In a public forum, where reputation and integrity and are important, try “restating your genuine good intentions or motivations and taking responsibility for your share.” 

If dealing with a family member, young or old, “you may want to let them know you care about them and genuinely want to understand their concerns and perspective, even if you don’t always agree.”

In some situations, you may want to indulge the person’s underlying need by telling them that you respect their opinions or appreciate their efforts.

When dealing with children, “acknowledge that their feeling or need is legitimate but that they need to work on the delivery so it’s more respectful.”

Be honest. If the criticism is legitimate, you may want to take corrective action.

Live Simply & Be Happy

Other strategies you could consider (in the right situation) are:

  • Thank the person for their comment, perhaps they are only trying to help you.
  • Respond calmly and rationally. The criticism may have totally riled you up, but a short laugh and calm response can keep the tension at ease.
  • Silence if golden. If you really can’t imagine responding without a sharp tongue, perhaps it’s best to stay silent. 

Have you got a good tip? Help others out with your best coping strategy.

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