How To Accept Criticism In 5 Easy Steps

Last week, I wrote an “Open Letter to Mayor Bloomberg,” informing him he had no right to tell me how much Coca-Cola I am allowed to consume. After many comments about me sounding like “a high school drama queen” and telling me to “calm down,” I felt very discouraged, and even doubtful about my writing in general.

While I did get a few positive reviews, I soon realized that many commenters did not understand the tongue-in-cheek tone I tried to embody, and I decided to carefully read through each comment in effort to learn from what everyone had to say, even the nastier toned ones. Even if you don’t write on the internet and don’t regularly have strangers critiquing your words, we all face criticism of some sort on a daily basis — here’s how I learned to get the most out of it.

  1. Don’t freak out. Your first reaction might be to yell or get defensive. Refrain from doing that. Instead, let the criticism slowly seep in, allowing yourself time to really think about what your response is going to be.
  2. Find the positive. While plenty of criticism can seem rude or even mean, it’s important for you to try and understand where the other person is coming from. Decide whether this criticism could work to your advantage in the future and could be a suggestive for improvement.
  3. Ask the critic questions. By asking questions about the negative feedback, you might be able to get more constructive criticism that you can use in the the future. Ask questions like “What could I have done better?” and “Why do you say that?”
  4. Don’t stoop to their level. If the criticism is insulting rather than productive, be the better person and don’t attack the attacker. In doing this, others will admire you for rising above the mean insults and you will feel better about yourself for being level-headed and controlling your impulse to fly off the handle.
  5. Be confident. You are your own worst critic, so remember to not let anyone get you down. Always believe in what you do, and don’t let criticism overtake your work, but learn to accept your faults and improve on them for the future.

Any other good tips for how to handle criticism? Let us know in the comments.

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