I have never been very good at taking criticism. If my mom was still alive you could ask her and she would agree.
I was always a
weird sensitive child. I have mentioned before that on a scale of 1 to 10 my self esteem as a child and teenager was about a negative 5. Don’t know why. I had no reason to feel that way. I had a loving family–parents who set wonderful examples, who expected the best from me but did not push me to do things that I was uncomfortable doing. You have the picture. But I never was able to take criticism very well. Which made this article I just read in Real Simple magazine from years ago very interesting.
The article is entitled “5 Ways to Get a Thicker Skin”. 5 individuals gave their ideas on how to deal with handling criticism and they range the gamut.
- Be (a little) egoistical. In a nutshell, Jenny Slate, an actress and comedian, says that maintaining an extra positive self image helps her to handle rejection and criticism.
- Remember it’s not you: it’s the situation. Bill Carollo, a big time NFL officiator, has first hand experience of being the target of criticism. His strategy was to allow the person a chance to back off and think about what they were saying.
- Practice selective listening. According to Andy Ricker, an award winning chef, has an unorthodox way of presentation at his restaurant. Many dishes are to be shared and often eaten with the hands. If he chose to listen to every complaint he would not stay true to how his cuisine is to be enjoyed.
- Get angry, not sad. Author Lisa Alther shares that as a new writer she had a really hard time getting published. 250 rejection letters made her more determined to become an author and be successful so that she could “show those people” what they missed out on. To date she has six novels published.
- Focus on something good about your criticizer. Elayne Savage, PhD knows a lot about body language. If the recipient of the criticism can focus on a positive thing (she suggest the fingernail polish they are wearing or a physical attribute) the next time there is an encounter she will remember that and respond, hopefully, with warmth.
So there you have it. I can’t leave this post without saying again that I am horrible when it comes to criticism. I still am. I get defensive. How silly is that?
At my last job (paid job, that is) I had a yearly evaluation and my eval was glowing. However there was one person involved in my assessment that felt that he had to find something other than glowing to bring me down to earth. There had been a little misunderstanding about a scheduling issue with one of the projects I was handling. Though I had documentation that I had prepared months ahead and gone to the right people to make sure that the space was available “he” was one that was affected. And he couldn’t let it go. I was of the mind that I was dealing with adults here and I did not need to follow up weekly on this as all of the information was very visible to all involved. But because “his” group was being asked to move he was not happy with me. So his comments on my form were “measure twice, cut once”.
Whatever. See, I still have problems with criticism. I especially think that social media is a place where people are snarky and mean and critical. While I have happily never really been attacked on my blog for what I have written I could definitely see it happening.
I am learning to have a tougher skin. I also think as I have “aged” I have gotten more of an attitude that I really don’t care what others think. Sometimes, that is.
Let me know how YOU handle criticism. I would love to hear.