All of us our guilty of destructive criticism and there can be many reasons behind the force and tone in which we choose to express it. We can feel rivalry, anguish, jealousy or even disgust and shame at what the other person is trying to convey and quite often if we are extra sensitive to the statement or message that is being given then our natural instinct tells us to defend or destroy out of habitual routines and behaviours that we have followed. We may contrive a speech or idea that we feel to be perfectly acceptable but the receiver of this information may feel under attack even though we feel as if we have been as genuine, honest and impartial.
But what is important to take account of is that no matter how toxic or demeaning the opinion or criticism is of others, the context in which the information is delivered is often fuelled by personal experience and by the individual’s particular interest or investment. Therefore most of the time we forget that it is just one opinion. And the truth of the matter at heart is that it is actually how we choose to act upon that criticism that will make the situation seem a lot more septic than what it actually is. What is more is how we choose to accept ourselves.
If we have not chosen to accept and appreciate ourselves in full with or without weaknesses then we will of course feel utterly distraught at even the tiniest of remarks leaving us with deeper scars to heal. Sometimes criticism is even the result of being provoked and can be used as a defence mechanism.
In this case it is vital that we maintain our strengths and savour our energy, preparing ourselves for out of the blue remarks that may leave us feeling defenceless. If we choose to accept criticism it may help us to understand where we have gone wrong, but if we don’t believe that we have gone wrong then we must try and understand why it is we feel so passionately about protecting what other people may be trying to bend.
As sometimes it is through such passion that gold can be released, rather like polishing up a rough diamond, the thoughts and notions of others can help us to see beyond a block in our minds. This is what helps us to grow, develop and ascertain our goals. So many opinions and criticisms can become small blessings.
Overall we do have the power to move past negative or unnecessary comments that have dampened our thinking in some way by instigating a new perspective. As painful as it may be to try and step foot in what seems to be someone else’s negative thinking it may instead assist us in finding part of a new journey, a new idea and hence shaping and making the original one a lot stronger.
Things to remember:
- Our brains consistently have to develop new pathways in order to learn new skills and actions. It may be a good idea in this case to treat any critical experience as a learning curb. For example imagine that you are in a foreign country and trying to find your way around, it may be a little tricky at first to accept the differences of those around you but eventually you will adjust and accept that they just don’t do things or see things in the same way that you do.
- If you are infuriated by a comment that you perceive to be negative then find a distraction in your mind until you are able to break it down into logic. For example, try counting all the circles in the room or notice something about the person giving the criticism that you find unpleasant, this will allow you the time and space to regain a sense of control.
- If you have asked for criticism be prepared for trouble or an opinion that you do not feel comfortable with. This way you are already allowing any difficult emotions to rise to the surface through preparation. Then, if you feel the critic has overstepped the mark you may wish to determine whether or not they have all the right information first. Is that you could just express the matter under a different light? Sometimes we have to try and fit ourselves into other peoples’ thinking by allowing ourselves to step into their shoes.
- If you are fearful that you may become over emotional from bad criticism, then work out ways to apply yourself. Ensure that you take several deep breaths before asking for further guidance and then visualise and over protective coat that will defend you from anything that appears biased. Next, consider any misunderstandings and then if necessary ask for further investigation. If for example this is a project that you are working on then treat as if it was a case that has missing details and you are the investigator. This sort of detachment will allow everyone involved to arrive at a sensible conclusion without unnecessary drama or embarrassment and you yourself will feel self contained because of this without losing confidence!