Handling constructive criticism like an adult

Handling constructive criticism like an adult

by Vanessa Ng 21 Jun 2018

Constructive criticism – as helpful as it may be, it’s never easy to accept. Regardless of the intention behind the criticism, the natural reaction is almost always one of defensiveness. This is typical of social creatures, especially if you have worked hard only to end up on the receiving end of such comments. However, growing up means adapting and improving – this doesn’t change even as a “grown up”.


Take some time – think a little

Time has a way of putting most things in perspective against the greater backdrop of life. Listening and understanding the other party’s rationale can help you improve as an individual. You can follow up with sincere queries on solutions and think about concrete actionable steps to solve it. Treat it as a consultation on self-enrichment. It is a chance for you to learn about what went wrong, or at least know how others perceived or interpreted your actions.


Don’t feel belittled

Besides being open-minded to disagreement, you can try to cope with feelings of negativity by reminding yourself of the things that you have done well. Recall the times when your efforts were well-received, and the success was resounding. In your personal life, remind yourself of moments in which you made a loved one smile or how your actions were not without appreciation. These little pick-me-ups are an indispensable balm for the times when you don’t feel up to par.


It’s not always “all you”

Contrary to how criticism can make you feel, the fault isn’t always yours alone. There are times when feedback has more to do with the situation and/or circumstances that lead to the development in question. Similarly, an absence of crucial information shouldn’t result in the blame landing squarely on your shoulders – there are others who are likely to be involved too. Be it at work or outside, social interactions do not occur in a vacuum and should be regarded accordingly, especially when mishaps occur.


Of course, the suggestions above can be sometimes difficult to remember when bad days are afoot. However, remember that accepting and learning from critical feedback can be very helpful and insightful. Adulting is never easy – if it gets too much, you can always turn to a trusted friend. Some outside (and honest) opinions just might make things a little easier to digest!