In the same way we work to be open and accepting when we fit, these are qualities that are helpful to bring into the challenges of daily life. One of them is the challenge of receiving criticism.
Whether or not it’s warranted, many of us find criticism difficult to hear. We often take it to heart becoming hard on ourselves, defensive hurt, and even self deprecating. Our judging mind jumps in with pointed self criticism, leaving us feeling embarrassed, disappointed, or like we failed.
It’s important to remember that criticism is often constructive and meant to help us thrive, and improve rather than hurt us, learning how to listen to it openly and receptively helps us become less defensive less emotional, so that we don’t miss the point of what’s being said. Of course not all criticism is constructive still listening to all of it openly allows us to respond from a calm nonreactive place.
So how do we accept criticism?
When a boss, friend or family member shares words that feel pointed or hurtful. Well, we can start by taking a few deep conscious breaths while the person we’re talking to is speaking. We can use the breath as a tool to comas, as we tried to remain open, and not take things personally, even if it feels person.
It can also be supportive to rest a hand somewhere that feels grounded, like our belly or chest. The simple gesture can help us feel safe and remain open, so that we can truly listen to the words being said, without shutting down or interrupting. And if we’re overwhelmed or need time to absorb their criticism.
It’s perfectly okay to ask for some space and time to reflect, creating a bit of distance allows us to acknowledge our feelings, and to hold them with compassion. The idea in taking the space is to create a calmer, clearer state of mind, from which we can process what was said, with less judgement, noting the valid points, and letting go of those that don’t serve us.
We can choose which parts to disregard and which parts to use as feedback, the critique becomes an opportunity for growth and self improvement.
So the next time you find yourself on the receiving end of criticism, reflect on the following words of wisdom, take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth, or merit and a criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you gently come back.