I have never been very good at taking criticism. Ask my mom. Go ahead. I will wait.
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 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.