Sometime you might receive some negative criticism. Even if the other person is trying to help you, it might hurt to receive it. It is hard to admit that you have messed up! You dont want to face the idea that you made a mistake, or you are not perfect.
Not a Good Way to Handle Negative Criticism
We can let criticism hurt us, and destroy our relationship with the person who criticizes us. Most people will try to defend themselves. It's not MY fault...!
When someone points out to you that you made a mistake or did wrong, you hurt inside. People don't like to feel hurt or guilty of a mistake. Sometimes people will try to escape feeling bad by trying to blame the other person instead of himself. Lots of people do that. "Teacher is not fair! She is mean! She hates me!"
Having shed the guilt by placing it on someone else, then you don't feel that you should have to change, and you don't. But if you dont change, then there is still that negative part of you to still be ashamed of! - - - And the next time you make that same mistake, you feel even worse than before!
A Better Way to Handle Negative Criticism
With careful control of your own attitude, you don't have to be hurt when someone needs to correct or criticize you. Instead, you can use criticism to become a better person. If you can do that you will be happier.
Here is how I handle it. I say to myself something like this:
Ouch! That hurt! Am I really that way? Is there any truth, even a little bit, in what this other person just said? Did I mess up? I dont want to do that again! What can I learn about this and about me that will help me do better, and not make that mistake again?
Let us say that I was wrong. I acknowledge, out loud, I am wrong. I have taken responsibility for my error. I seek a way to prevent that kind of mistake in the future. Once I told a student, "You are right. I made a mistake!" (I had forgotten to record grades from 2 of his papers!) It is important to really take some time to try to figure out why you made the mistake, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. (I figured out a way to greatly reduce the possibility of doing it again. It never happened again.)
Now lets say that I do correct the problem within myself, and it is unlikely to happen again. (Here comes the really neat part!) Guess what? That person (me) who made the original mistake has changed! I no longer exist in that flawed form. I dont have to be ashamed of my new self! Then I can feel really good about myself.
If I have removed some negative trait or a poor habit, then other people will respect me more than before. I will respect myself more. That's two Life-Goals.
Do you see what I have done here? I have taken what would be a negative event for most people, and turned it into a positive opportunity to become BETTER! When people see you do that, they will likely think, "s/he is a classy person"! It is a WIN-WIN situation!
Which ways of dealing with criticism do you chose to use?