If you haven’t been criticized (yet), I would really like to know where you have been! It must be a very calm place, probably on a deserted island with no other people around for miles! Truth is, we all get criticized at some point or another, but who likes criticism, right? So what can you do about it and how can you use it to motivate you?
What is criticism?
Criticism is the act of criticizing anything. It is the act of judging and finding fault in something or someone, in an articulate way. It is not merely hammering away at someone about how ‘bad’ they are. One should be able to politely give someone feedback, even if it is negative feedback. Criticism can come in many different forms, including direct, where it’s ‘in your face’ and indirect, where it’s simply implied and not spoken about freely. Criticism is not always about finding fault, but also generally about disapproval. It doesn’t have to be unpleasant because it can also be encouraging to some people, like a friend criticizing your evening wear (wanting you to look better, or at least not sloppy).
Winston Churchill said this about criticism:
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Although criticism may be an ‘unhealthy state of things’, it doesn’t have to demotivate you! You can use it to proactively motivate yourself to keep on going. The key to remember is that although you may have been criticized, you are not ‘down and out’. Let’s face it, some people only criticize because they are jealous – they want to see you ‘down and out’. So let’s not count this as the sort of constructive criticism I’m referring to here. After all, jealousy makes you nasty!
To benefit from this unpleasant experience is to not take it personally, firstly. This may be much easier if you are a robot, though. People work on a very deep emotional level sometimes and it can be very difficult to not take it personally. However, this is the first step. Instead of taking it very personally, rather think about what you need to change and how you can make that change easily and smoothly.
Think about how your new behavior or approach will benefit you and those around you. Firstly, you won’t be criticized for it again (unless one of those jealous people come along!). Secondly, you will reap the benefit of the criticism because you are replacing or improving the ‘unhealthy state’. For me, that is probably the best motivational part of it all – I honestly don’t really care about what those jealous people have to say, especially if it’s purely said because of their own inabilities.
Visualize your new behavior or approach and tell someone that you plan to make this change. Use the criticism received in a positive way to make things better. Then enjoy the benefits and rewards!
Most of the time, you cannot avoid criticism and there is not much that you can do about it. So use it to your advantage by mentally preparing yourself for it. When it comes, you’ll know exactly what to do with it. More importantly, it wont negatively affect you. By being able to control your reactions to negative criticism, you should also start working on your own ways to look for and give constructive and productive criticism.
Here are some affirmations to help you manage being criticized:
- I learn from all criticism
- I can adapt my behavior or actions easily
- I see the value in improving myself (for me and others too)
- I welcome criticism because it motivates me to do better and achieve more