How To Accept Criticism?
All of us like happiness, don’t we? When someone appreciates us, we feel very good and motivated. But as we know life is not always a bed of roses. We should always learn how to deal with difficult situations that may come at any time. One of it certainly is that “how to accept criticism?” Before we deal with this question, let us discuss how important it is to have a mirror in our life.
Did you look into the mirror today before you left the house?
In addition, when you did, you probably combed your hair right; you brushed off and cleaned away the things that are on you; you discovered and decided there is some weight you need to lose, and you straightened your outfit and adjusted everything from head to toe; right?
So, having a mirror is necessary in our life. We all need it. And the reason why we use mirror is:
• Not to establish that ‘I am the best’, but
• To see ‘what do I need to change, enhance and improve in me so that I can get to the best?’
Now, coming to the question: How to accept criticism?
The answer is: Just like, you accept the mirror.
1. When you get up in the morning and look into the mirror, how do you react to what the mirror has to say? – “Not again… I can’t do anything about it now. I give up!”
No! Very comfortably, you change it, comb it, brush it, and get on with the rest of your day.
2. Say one day, you made a mistake and fell in a ditch. You run to the mirror to see your face? When the mirror shows you the result of your mistake,
• Will you hurl up a stone and attack the mirror ‘How dare you highlight my mistake?’ or
• Will you feel hurt and depressed that ‘why on earth did the mirror show me such an ugly face?’ or
• Will you break the relationship with the mirror forever, ‘I don’t want to see you ever again in life.’
You will coolly laugh at what happened, will rectify things and will be careful that the mistake does not happen again.
3. Assume your circumstances are such that you are compelled to use a broken mirror which does not have the ability to give you the correct picture. What will you do?
You will somehow adjust with the mirror, you will easily bypass its distorted feedback and just filter out ‘where are things wrong and what do I need to improve?’ isn’t it?
Thus, very efficiently you manage to get your work done with the defective mirror too.
Just like the mirror is giving you a feedback on ‘what is wrong or lacking in your outer looks in order to help you look your best; here the person criticizing you, is giving you feedback as to ‘what is wrong or lacking in your personality or work’ to help you perform your best!
1. So, never get defensive. Rather than wasting your time and energy in formulating explanations to rationalize what you did and why you did it; accept the criticism as is and invest your energy in exploring where you are lacking and how to improve.
2. Nor attack. Such a reaction represents our weakness; it displays our inability to deal with criticism. And the main reason behind such a reaction is that we have taken the criticism personally.
3. Accept criticism gracefully. There is no problem with disagreement, but with disrespect there is! So, even while you disagree, thank the critic for taking out the time and providing you with feedback; analyze what the person is trying to convey, without your bias; and put forth your counterpoint in a calm, polite and respectful way. If you see the other person not being able to appreciate your initiative, you may let go and, if required leave the scene with dignity, but in an amicable manner.
4. Take it positively. In the form of criticism, nature has given us an opportunity to identify our weaknesses, overcome our shortcomings and progress ahead in life. Why miss the opportunity?!
So accept the criticism with love and positivity, and reach out for your goal firmly and surely.
5. Be a better human. If any criticism genuinely hurts you very badly, remember this experience of yours and make a firm resolve that you will not give such experience to anyone in this world by criticizing others.
Was I able to accept criticism or not?
List down ‘What positive changes did I bring in myself after I was criticized’ and you will know how far you have been successful in accepting the criticism correctly.
Only after receiving the knowledge of the Self from the Gnani can you get to a position where you can remain separate as your true ‘Self’(Soul) from the criticism and look only at the actions criticized, you’ll no more take criticism personally or negatively, nor feel hurt or demoralized, nor accuse or backbite. Until then, whenever you happen to take criticism adversely, repent over it and ask for forgiveness from God.
You will soon see yourself be able to welcome criticism with a broad smile as well as with the correct understanding!!
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