If perception is reality and a very important part of success, then it must be true that understanding how we are perceived by the world is equally important. Criticism is one of the few different ways the people around us tell us how they perceive us or our actions, but yet it seems that criticism is taken negatively almost all the time. Why would we negatively take someone’s attempt at expressing what they see?
Perhaps it is because we disagree and we often don’t like to hear things that don’t flatter us, however it reminds us of our imperfections. Not all criticism is true and certainly not all is accurate, but it is nonetheless criticism and to a point a necessary evil in our quest for self-improvement. So how can we balance taking criticism and using it to our advantage?
Part of the reason we don’t like receiving criticism is the mere fact that it evoques emotions within us and forces a reaction from us regardless of good or bad. If someone pays us a compliment that re-enforces our existing belief, then it is often received well and the reaction is often a “thank you” or simply “ I agree” as we like to be reminded of things we see as positives in ourselves. On the contrary if someone comes to us and reminds us that we are overweight, we simply change our emotional response to a more negative state like, “ How dare you?” or “ Why would you say that?”
The reality is that we don’t believe anyone out there has the right to critic us for who we are or the decisions we make but regardless we certainly do lose a lot of value by discarding the feedback we receive no matter if it’s positive or negative in nature. Our emotional response to feedback keeps us from understanding the feedback itself, regardless that we agree with it or not or even if it comes from a place of with merit.
Criticism itself should be taken as nothing more than the way others perceive us or a situation we are part of. Someone can critic the way we live and highly disagree but the reality is no matter how accepted our ways of living are, there is no right or wrong but only their belief as to what has been shown to them previously as the right way vs the wrong way. By understanding their point of view, regardless of us agreeing with it or not, we understand how they think and can further understand if their criticism is of value or not. Being emotionally attached to the feedback we receive not only does it allow us to receive valuable information about how others see us, but it also keeps us from differentiating those quality individuals from the not so desirable ones giving us feedback.
Accepting criticism is a very important part of growing. Self-improvement can help you receive feedback from an emotionless state and then allow you to make a decision as to the value of applying the feedback and create real change in yourself.