5 Easy Steps to Accept Criticism

Written by Eric C., MA., PhD Candidate

Audio version available | Click here


“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” ~Dale Carnegie

My fiancé can’t stand the way I drive. I, of course, do not agree with her criticism and defend my driving skills as if I am a professional formula one driver. I am not special in regards to accepting criticism. No one likes to be criticized, but it is part of my existence unless I become a hermit who lives in a cave. In the current age where criticism is only a “Yelp” away, being able to accept criticism, whether it is fair or not is both necessary and vital for growth.

Here are five easy steps to accept criticism:

1. Don’t let a knee jerk reaction make a jerk out of you
Don’t be reactive. When criticized we may want to respond with anger and defensiveness towards the person who we feel is unjustly on the attack.  It is important to learn to control these initial negative reactions so things don’t spiral out of control. Take a step back and don’t personalize the criticism. Remember, the criticism is not aimed at you but at your actions.

2. Listen
Criticism is just a form of communication with a little more spice. Perhaps the person criticizing you is not using the right words. However, they are still trying to tell you something. Perhaps, if you listen carefully you will gain insight that can make you better.

3.Accept
Accept that you are not perfect. We ALL make mistakes. Be open to the criticism and see it as an opportunity to grow. Don’t waste energy holding on to ill feelings about being criticized. Imagine yourself holding the criticism in the palm of your open hand. Accept it. Release it.

4. Learn
Take the criticism  that you see as negative and transform it into something constructive. The psychotherapeutic term for this is sublimation. High achievers are experts at sublimating negative feelings into positive actions. Learn to see every criticism as an opportunity to grow. Don’t forget to update the people who criticized you on your progress. Look for their eyes to light up when you tell them about the positive changes you made. Only then does it become evident that they really were just trying to help.

5. Lastly, say thank you
Once we put our ego aside, we need to remember we are actually learning the most from the people who criticize us in a constructive way.  These individuals are going out of their way and opening themselves up to a potentially verbal attack just for the sake of honest reflection. So thank them for their courage and don’t hold a grudge.Once you accept this, you may actually go out of your way to elicit criticism from others to see in what areas you can improve. Remember the next time you are criticized, you are in good company and growth can’t happen in the comfort zone! Good luck!


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59 responses to 5 Easy Steps to Accept Criticism

  1. This is really good. It is also the first time I have heard of sublimation used in a positive sense. I never thought about how something negative could be taken and turned into a positive thing. Usually I have considered sublimation pushing down a negative circumstance and converting into something destructive. Sublimation has always been something to avoid. I have had a paradigm shift.

    Liked by 4 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Hi Joseph, I am glad you gained something from this post. Thank you for your comment! ✨🌟

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Samantha says:

    I got some heavy feedback in class the other day and at first my reaction was to curl myself up into a ball, lie under a table and cry, lol. But then I realised it wasn’t aimed at me personally, as you said (at least, I got feedback from two people and I am pretty sure one of them WAS being personal as I had just given her feedback she wasn’t happy with), and I was grateful. At least now I know where I’d gone wrong and I can improve myself. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Bindu says:

    Loved this one. “Knee jerk reaction makes you a jerk!” Will remember that. Think that criticism helps you understand your weaknesses and also helps you realise you are being observed.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. hahahha…. I’m laughing from the first sentence, hahahh…. this is a great example to use because though you are most defiantly a safe driver, she is also not a “co-pilot” for formula one …. hahahaa I know this is just an example but a good one.
    This is a wonderful post above because criticism, is a touchy subject. Especially if you care for someone and don’t want to hurt their feelings. Also hearing it is hard and getting over step #1 above is the hardest of all…..sometimes I have to bite my tongue or i find myself apologizing.
    Thanks for posting

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ana P. Rose says:

    Never thought about criticism in such a way. I separate between constructive and negative criticism, and I do try to remain composed. Other times, maybe most, it’s just almost impossible. But I’ll keep this post in mind. Makes sense and it’s clear, not complicated. Thanks. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Happiness Lights says:

    Very nicely written 🙂
    Often I find the first step the most difficult, when the ego starts jumping up and down screaming “Attack, attack, you are being invaded!” 😉 I like your suggestion on how to deal with that.
    It is great to see what to do in easy steps, thank you very much for sharing!
    Lucia

    PS: Could I please share in my blog?

    Liked by 2 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and leaving a comment✨I truly appreciate the feed back🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  7. LynDurante says:

    Sublimation is a big word! I remembered our science subject with this though – the state when solid turns to gas… whereas my priest friend says “being lifted to a higher status”. Thanks for this! Great post as ever Eric!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mindelate says:

    Informative, encouraging and inspirational. A great read that will also compel one to practice self discipline, if these steps are followed. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Janina says:

    This is great! I have been one in the recent past to get super sensitive to criticism, and just shut down completely, feeling worthless and incompetent at life. Now, though, on my path of growth, I actually seek out criticism to help me figure out where more work needs to be done! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      It definitely helps when one puts a different meaning to criticism. Thank you so much for your comment ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great post thank you. I’m a teacher and often dishing out constructive criticism so its only fair that I can accept it too…even if the mode of delivery is not so great! I find that difficult… but not becoming a jerk is very good advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      I am glad you found this helpful. Thank you for the comment!

      Like

  11. I completely agree! Especially with the “knee-jerk-reaction”. I always have to stay quiet for a few minutes after I am criticized so that I can think through what I am going to say. Otherwise, I look back and regret what I said. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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