This blog is dedicated to helping people improve themselves in all the aspects of their lives. So I’ll let you in on a little known way to improve yourself. Listen to your criticism! In order to solve a problem, you first have to identify it. What better way to identify your problems than listening to your criticism?
The great thing about criticism is that it is coming from someone else. And because it’s coming from someone else, you can possibly get an unbiased third person point of view. We can be blind to our own faults, but trust me when I say that others aren’t. Especially significant others! The problem (with someone else telling you about your problems) is that naturally, we tend to react by doing one or more of these three things:
- Deny what they are saying.
- Compare ourselves to other people.
- Criticize right back.
How to take the criticism?
What you don’t want to do is to flat out deny what they are saying. Or even worse, write off the criticism as “oh, she’s just jealous” or “he’s stupid.” Even if whatever they are saying isn’t true, the fact that it is being pointed out could be an indicator that you can improve on it. Instead of denying the criticism, ask yourself what makes them think that way? Better yet, ask them! If you can do it sincerely, most people will give you some insight to why they think a certain way.
Another thing that you should avoid doing is comparing yourself to others. When a person compares themselves to others, it’s really just them trying to save face. People will usually say something along the lines of “I may not be perfect, but I’m not as bad as so and so.” Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with saving face, but when you compare yourself to somebody that’s worse off, you tend t0 become content with where you are at with the fault. Thinking about how you aren’t as bad as some people can make you feel as if you have no real reason to improve. And that’s exactly why most people that react this way never do.
I’ve also noticed that many people react by criticizing their critic. Most of us know that this isn’t a good practice but it can be hard not to do. But it’s important that you control yourself and refrain from snapping back because typically, right after you get criticized you are in an negative emotional state. And as all of us have experienced at one point or another, we tend to say things we don’t mean when we get emotional.
We naturally react in these ways because hearing criticism effects us emotionally. Nobody likes to hear about their shortcomings. It hurts our ego and we feel like we are being misunderstood. But if you can move past that, and actually listen to your criticism (advice in disguise) with an open mind, your chances of improving in that area of your life will skyrocket. You will have identified the problem, and will be able to start working on it.