How to handle criticism and make less painful

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Criticism explained

If someone criticized you then you will only feel bad if two conditions were met. The first is the presence of habit of depending on the opinion of others to evaluate your self worth.

The second is the wrong meaning you give to the comment you received. If you attached a bad meaning to the critical comment then you will feel bad.

In other words, mostly its your perception that makes you feel bad after you get criticized. Two different people can get criticized the same way yet one of them feels bad and the other feels nothing just because of the difference in the way they perceived the critical comment.

Dealing with criticism

If you don’t want to be affected by criticism then all you have to do is to deal with one of those two factors or even both of them.

I won’t talk about the first factor because i already covered it in this article. What I will be focusing on in this article is the second factor which is incorrectly interpreting the intention of the person who criticized you.

Do you know why do you incorrectly get the meaning of criticism?
It’s because of your negative self talk.

Self talk are the messages and phrases that run in your mind as you think. Suppose that someone's criticized you and as a result these phrases came to your mind “why did he tell me so, maybe my performance was really bad or maybe he didn’t like the way I look”.

These negative phrases give new meanings to situations and as a result you might feel hurt.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that if you want to correctly handle criticism without feeling bad then you should fix your self-talk. You need to change it from a negative to a positive one. This can be done by training.

Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively, stop and question that negative idea. If you found that you have no solid clue then discard it.

The root of negative self talk

You may be wondering why you are experiencing negative self talk. There are many reasons that could result in negative self talk such as lack of self confidence, feelings of inferiority or incorrect childhood beliefs.

If the problem was with your childhood experiences then training is all you need to learn how to stop such negative thoughts. If there's another reason behind your negative self talk like lack of self confidence then fixing the root problem will help you get over negative self talk.

One famous, easy to apply and effective method to get ride of negative self talk is cognitive behaviour therapy. By using CBT you will be able to change your negative patterns of thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

The more you keep challenging negative thoughts using this method the more will the underlying negative beliefs weaken. As soon as the negative beliefs disappear the negative self talk will disappear as well.

If you want to get rid of a bad smell then using a fan might not be as effective as getting rid of the source of the smell. In such a case the source of the negative self talk are your negative beliefs.

Final words on handling criticism

As you may have noticed, neither the words made you feel bad nor the critical comment but its the meaning you gave to the comment that made you feel bad.

Deal with these two factors mentioned earlier and you will never feel bad the next time you're criticized.

Did that help?

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