Monday, July 21, 2014

Accepting Criticism with grace

We all face criticism and how we face it speaks to our inner strength and our ability to understand others and ourselves.

If someone you trust, who you know has your best interests at heart,  gives you advice, invite, listen and think about what they have said. If you are being criticized by someone who you believe does not have your best interests at heart, it’s okay to set boundaries around uninvited criticism. It’s  okay to refuse to listen  to their voice, however,it very worth inviting criticism from the people who are really trying to help.
When you are feeling defensive it’s easy to interrupt and start defending yourself before the person criticizing you even gets a chance to finish what is being said. Resist the urge to jump in and cut off the person criticizing you. Place your full attention on the person speaking and wait until they've finished speaking and think before you respond.
Avoid the tendency to make someone wrong just because they’re criticizing you. No matter how awesome you are, chances are, there’s room for improvement. Be willing to be wrong.
Acknowledge what is being said. Recognize the courage it took for your criticizer to speak up. That doesn't mean you have to own what is being said, but it does mean you create safety for the criticizer by offering reassurance that it’s safe to criticize you. If you can, thank the person who criticized you. Assuming what was said was expressed with your best interests in mind, be grateful that you’re in a relationship with someone who wants to help you live a happier, healthier, more productive, more aligned life. It’s not easy to grow and evolve out of our unconscious habitual patterns. We can only do it with the support of those who are committed to helping lift us up.
Don’t automatically believe all criticism, but don’t automatically reject it all either. Consider the criticism and examine it to see if it feels true when you assess it  discerning what rings true for you and what doesn't is essential for your own personal growth.
Sometimes people criticize you when they’re really criticizing themselves, projecting onto you what they don’t like about themselves.
Don’t let unfair criticism poison your body, mind, or soul. If it’s your boss or your client criticizing you, you may have to just nod and suck it up. But if it’s someone you’re close to and the criticism doesn't feel accurate, voice your honest thoughts gently and without defensiveness.
If your criticizer is right, say so. It’s incredibly validating to the person going out on a limb to criticize you to feel heard and acknowledged if you deem it to be true.
If your criticizer is right, acknowledge the truth of how you could improve, but don’t beat yourself up. 
We all feel bruised after hearing criticism. Do what you can to comfort yourself with something pleasurable. Read a good book or watch a funny movie. Honor yourself for being such a good sport in the midst of criticism. Only when we’re humbly open to criticism can we grow into the best versions of ourselves.

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