5 Ways To Handle Criticisms



A famous quote from Elbert Hubbard said if you want “to avoid criticism,” then “do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

It means, as long as we are doing something of value, criticisms may follow.

However, not all criticisms are created equal. Some are legit, while others are just thrown to derail us from our goals and vision.

We can’t please everybody. Even Jesus can’t, so what makes us think we can do that. If our aim is to not ruffle any feathers, then we will lose our effectiveness.

The key is to have the capacity to distinguish beneficial criticisms from destructive ones.

WHY DO PEOPLE CRITICIZE?

There are many reasons.

One is poor self-esteem. Those who have low self-esteem tend to see the weaknesses of others first before they notice theirs. This is because they feel condemning others would hide their own flaws.

Meanwhile, some are just “perfectionists” who expect faultlessness all the time. They are hard on others as they are equally hard on themselves. These people are actually pitiful.

Others are plain tactless who does not think about what comes out of their mouths. They just verbalize the first things that springs out of their minds, and, voila! Unnecessary criticisms are said.

However, there are also those who are genuinely concerned on improvement. They “criticize” because they care about the development of that certain person.

Other critics are a level above that, as they only give advice when asked. Most of the time, these are the people who are experts on those certain fields. That is why they treat their criticisms or advice as something precious to give.

PLEASE GOD, NOT PEOPLE

Being a people pleaser is very problematic. It is impossible, because every individual wants something different.

One way to determine if we are people pleasers is when we get defensive easily. We drive people away when we are defensive. No one wants to hang out with a person who constantly tries to explain his or her actions and decisions. 

Another is when we focus more on the criticism or comment rather than what we actually want to accomplish.

As followers of Christ, God should be the One we are pleasing. The important thing is God is pleased with us, and we are doing our best to do what He purposed us to do.

Here are five ways to handle criticism positively:

1. Admit your capacity for error. Presenting an aura of perfection sets you up as a target for criticism.

If we are humble enough to acknowledge we are capable of making mistakes, then the so-called “critics” will be more likely to tone down their criticisms whenever we do so.

2. Resist the temptation to retaliate. Do your best to fight off that initial urge to explain or defend yourself.

Sometimes, we may also feel like criticizing back to the person who criticizes us. We may feel like saying like, “Who are you to tell me that?” or “Are you qualified to comment on my work?” Resist that as well. While it certainly is inside our minds, we don’t need to say that.

3. Consider the source. The same with criticisms, not all critics are created equal.

As mentioned previously, there are certain people who are qualified to make comments and criticisms. We should watch out for these comments because they are of high value and we can learn a lot from them.

4. Shake it off. This is the opposite of number 3. When you recognize that a criticism comes from an unreliable source, then the best thing to do is simply shake it off.

Remember, your value comes from God, the One who called you, not from what other people say or think about you. God’s comment and opinion is what matters ultimately.

5. Recognize constructive criticism. While it would be easy to just shake every criticism off, always be on the lookout for constructive criticism. Even if they come from unqualified sources.

Sometimes you can find golden nuggets from these criticisms even if they were meant to just hurt you. Your ability to identify constructive criticism will help you improve more on your craft.

FINAL WORDS

As we do great things for God, comments and criticisms are expected to follow. Let us remind ourselves that it is God who called us and gifted us to ministry.

Listen to criticism, but learn to identify the good ones from the bad ones. Learn from the good ones and shake off the bad ones.

Have a teachable heart and always be open to ways in improving what you are currently doing.

Always remember that everything we do is for the Lord. We want to please God, and not people.

Do you have any more tips on how to handle criticism positively? Please share them in the comments. Thanks!

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