One of my goals for the year was to learn how to better handle constructive criticism, or hell any criticism for that matter. For my birthday this year, I teamed up with a few of my girls to talk about how we handle Life, Love and Business as Taurus women. (Yes, #TeamTaurus Forever!). I mentioned briefly my inability to handle criticism and it led to a deeper conversation. You can check that video out here on my Youtube Channel (and don’t forget to Subscribe while you’re there). I may seem tough but criticism is one of those things that seems to wiggle in and hit me straight in the heart, especially when it comes to my work. If I’d receive negative critiques on how good of a Physical Therapist I was or if a patient wanted to switch to a different therapist, I used to immediately feel insulted. I would spend hours wondering what I did wrong and what I could have done better. It felt like a personal attack on my competence and abilities. It was even worse when it came to blogging. I know now that I’m a Full-Time Blogger this is something I will have to tackle head on in order to succeed.
I am extremely passionate about this space I’ve created. I’ve put thousands of dollars, spent countless hours writing and editing and building this space for myself. A digital world where I can be who I want to be and do all the things I want to do without any restrictions. I don’t have to follow a protocol and I don’t have to answer to anyone. I don’t have to censor myself and I’m free to tell the stories that matter to me. So when someone would write me that they didn’t agree with what I wrote in a blog post, or that my Youtube videos would be better if I stood to the left of the clothing rack, or that I should have used a little more makeup for a shoot, or that my writing portrays me to be un-Christian-like, it used to really hurt my feelings. It’d also make me very angry. I’d call Jen or I’d bitch to Rose about the crazy things people would say or write to me. I lumped all criticism together as negative criticism and I think that’s the root of my problem. Any criticism to me was negative. There was nothing constructive about it. I thought I had all the answers and I thought I was always right and anyone who didn’t agree could find someone else to follow. Honestly, that’s exactly how I felt. I’m sure it has something to do with me craving acceptance (which just goes back to my daddy issues). I still have a tough time accepting criticism. It’s something I’m probably going to have to practice until it becomes innate. Here are 3 ways I cope with constructive (or any) criticism graciously.
Photography by Rose Lazard | Editing by Monroe Steele
GET THE LOOK
Know Real Constructive Criticism is Good Intentioned
Constructive criticism comes from a good place of someone wanting you to succeed. Take a good look at who is giving you this feedback. Is it a friend? Is it someone you trust? Is this a person you love or who loves you? If so, chances are they really just want to see you win. I used to get upset when Jen would tell me that a post I’d written wasn’t me or was too harsh but in the end she was always right. (I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve deleted but it’s definitely less than 3 LOL).
Never React Immediately
This is what was the hardest for me to conquer when it comes to accepting criticism because for some reason my first reaction is to react (and not in a good way). I would immediately go on the defense. I’d try and argue my point of why I was right or why I did what I did. This would always inevitably only make the situation worse. So now I don’t react. I listen intently and if I feel insulted/angry or hurt (which chances are I KNOW I WILL, even if it’s constructive), I thank them for the advice and let them now I’ll circle back later with a response. I’ve stopped reacting. Everything doesn’t deserve a reaction. Even when it comes to responding to comments or DMs on social media or blog posts. This, by the way, is still something I struggle with every single day. I’m the type of person who needs time to process criticism before responding. I have to get over the hump of feeling a little hurt first. I need time to go through the motions and see the truth in what was said to me.
Everyone has opinions. Not all of them matter.
Everyone likes to think their opinion matters but honestly only YOU allow someone to have an opinion that will impact your life. So if someone you know doesn’t necessarily have your best interest at heart, criticizes you, you can take that with a grain of salt or completely dismiss it if need be. Everyones opinion doesn’t matter, unless you allow it to. This is the time to be choosey about who you give power to in your life. Don’t let everything hurt your feelings. It takes entirely too much energy to give people that kind of power.
The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. — Norman Vincent Peale
How do you deal with constructive criticism? I’d love to know.