Can Criticism Be Good?
How much has criticism impacted you? Do you keep track of the positive results you have gained from criticism?
Rebuilding my life, after a disabling motorcycle crash left me brain damaged and half paralyzed, gave me plenty of opportunities to be the recipient of criticism.
Many times this was constructive criticism given by one of several therapists, but frequently it came from less than helpful sources.
This started me looking for ways the negativity of criticism could be turned positive.
Thinking of criticism as a gift makes it more tolerable.
Criticism may not always be fun to hear, but we are always free to accept it or reject it. Being humble enough to at least examine it may lead to some profitable changes. Just because you consider it doesn’t mean you have to accept it. If you refuse a gift, to whom does it belong?
Potential benefits of criticism
- Looking for truth in criticism can lead to humility. It’s not easy to take an honest look at your weaknesses, but how can you if you’re not willing to try?
- Learning from criticism shows you ways to improve. Almost every helpfully constructive critique gives you a tool to more effectively create the kind of life you want.
- Criticism may give you a healthier perspective. You may learn new, worthwhile ideas. Whenever someone criticizes you, they give you the opportunity to expand your thinking.
- Critics give you an opportunity to practice active listening. Don’t analyze it and plan your rebuttal. In other words, consider what they’re saying.
- Practice forgiveness when you come up against harsh critics. It’s easy to let criticism stress us out and then we may misdirect it at others. Practice forgiveness by remembering you don’t have to accept the criticism.
- Learn to delay your initial emotional reaction. Think about it and consider possible benefits.
- One possible benefit gives you the chance to foster problem solving skills, which is impossible when you’re feeling sensitive, self-critical, or annoyed.
- Considering criticism helps you explore unresolved issues. Maybe you’re holding onto something someone said years ago—something you need to let go of.
- Criticism can help us question our instinctive feelings; praise is good, criticism is bad. But only sometimes. Unless we consider it, we may miss the gold.
- Criticism gives us an opportunity to choose peace. Often our first impulse is to fight, creating unnecessary drama. Don’t react hastily, respond thoughtfully. People usually want to help us, not judge us.
- Handling criticism well empowers us to overcome our need to be right. Ego closes our mind to alternatives and possibilities for personal growth.
- Critics give us the opportunity to overcome people-pleasing patterns. Relationships based on a need for approval are frequently draining for everyone. Letting people think whatever they want—since that’s what they do anyway, brings a sense of freedom.
- Being criticized gives you a chance to practice your interpersonal skills and teach others how to treat you. Say something like “You make valid points, but I would hear you better if you didn’t weren’t yelling at me.”
- Certain criticism helps you to not sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t really matter that your girlfriends milks the gas pedal. It’s her car.
- Spending time thinking about what they said gives you less time to actually do something with it.
- Improving how you receive critiques saves time and energy in the long run. In other words, criticism as a time saver—so appreciate it!
- Practicing letting go of hurt feelings will help you let go of other time consuming, unhelpful thought patterns. Letting go of past events, even positive feelings, helps you focus on the present.
- Criticism reinforces your personal space. Taking 10 minutes before you respond, helps you respond appropriately and prevents a critical comment from stealing your time by dominating your day.
- In some cases, criticism teaches you how to interact with a person, if they’re negative or hostile, for example. Knowing this can save you a lot of time and stress in the future.
- If you want to do big things, the ability to receive false criticism—that has no constructive value—without losing your confidence is a must.
- When someone criticizes you, and you believe it, maybe you should look at that. If you agree that you’re lazy, don’t ignore it, Find out what you can do about it.
- Move forward after criticism, even if you don’t feel like it. This keeps isolated comments from stealing your dreams. Take whatever is useful that you hear, leave the rest, and keep going!
- Someone criticizing you gives you the opportunity to evaluate and perhaps realign your internal self-talk. Research shows that up to 80% of thoughts are negative. Take criticism as a good chance to monitor and change your thoughts so you don’t drain and sabotage yourself!
- It’s OK to have flaws, everyone has something they could do better. Admitting weaknesses and working on them without getting down, brings happiness, peace, enjoyment, and success.
Criticism is a gift
Active rehab opened me up to the idea that everyone is perfectly imperfect.
In some ways, my disability opened me up to Attitudes and new ways of thinking that make life easier.
Sometimes, other people may notice or comment on your imperfections. Consider it a gift, whether you end up keeping it or not.
Al is a Motivational Speaker who will delight, entertain and inspire your audience. Contact Al and share his insights for your next event.