Dealing With Criticism

I think many of us have come to associate the word criticism with a negative emotion, usually due to the fact that we’ve previously had to experience it from somebody who didn’t know how to give it properly (i.e. it felt insulting or unhelpful.) I actually prefer the word feedback when it comes to receiving opinions about my work – it sounds so much more positive and helpful. One of the most useful tips I ever read was to try and think of criticism in a more positive way; treat it as information helping you to improve. Like all people I make mistakes and I know that sometimes the criticism is warranted. Unfortunately not all criticism is given in the form of a polite nudge in the right direction.

It’s important to remember bias can come into how people choose to criticise you. For example, some people may respond unkindly due to personal insecurities. Other people do have good points to make, they just don’t know how to deliver their feedback without sounding harsh. The trick is to know which feedback to listen to and which ones to ignore. If you hear the same point being made by several different people then chances are it is an issue that needs to be addressed, otherwise you may choose to ignore it. Nobody can force you to change what you’re doing and in the end you’re the final judge. It’s also important to remember that it is often easier to criticise than it is to do, so even if you don’t receive the feedback you’d like you should still give yourself a pat on the back for trying. Treat it as just another step on your journey.

Before I start to deal with a piece of criticism I firstly take a moment to consider it and calm myself down, otherwise I may end up responding too defensively. If you always respond to people with anger eventually they’ll pick up on it and will no longer want to share their feedback with you. I try to show gratitude; Even if I don’t agree with the feedback, I like to thank people for taking the time to give it. I also enjoy holding discussions with people that hold opposing opinions as I feel that it can help expand my thinking, just so long as nobody walks away feeling offended. If somebody does get personal then it really says more about them than it does about you. You can’t control how other people behave, only how you choose to react to it. So whatever the case try to keep your ego at bay and don’t let it drag you down.

It’s impossible to please everybody and very exhausting to try. The more people that you interact with the more likely you will also have to deal with criticism for what you do. Therefore it’s important to learn how to deal with it appropriately – although I know that it’s easier said than done.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

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