How Well Do You Handle Criticism?
Let’s face it, nobody likes to deal with criticism. Especially unsolicited criticism when we are not even asking for “feedback”.
For those of us that are extremely sensitive, trying to shake negative criticism can take days, months, or sometimes even it can cling to us and linger in the back of our minds indefinitely.
One of my favorite tips for dealing with criticism I learned from my Family Medicine instructor, Robert Anderson, MD.
Dr. Anderson taught me to always take a moment to DECIDE first whether or not the criticism is warranted or not. Oftentimes people will make hurtful remarks because they are jealous of us, or simply quite unhappy with themselves and wanting to spread the negativity throughout the land. Why bother then allowing the criticism to cling to us?
If the criticism is determined to be unhelpful, unwarranted, or untrue, why bother even accepting it in to your world in the first place? If the feedback is warranted, useful, and true, then we should simply see it as a growth opportunity, and make the necessary self improvements like a good grown up. It’s okay. No one is perfect.
We all need feedback, positive much more than negative. Below is Dr. Anderson’s rules for “Positive Strokes”, a “stroke” is simply a unit of recognition.
- Give others positive strokes
- Give yourself positive strokes
- When you are given a positive stroke, accept if fully
- When you are given a negative stroke, accept it only after very careful examination for validity
- When you need a positive stroke, ask for it
I firmly suggest you print out that list and post it in your work space so your co-workers are frequently reminded to give you all the compliments you deserve!
An important recommendation on that list is to immediately accept all compliments without hesitation. So often we are given a compliment and will shrug it off, make an excuse, act embarrassed, or not believe it to be true. However, if someone is sincerely paying you a compliment, the statement is most likely true, and should be addressed with a simple “thank you”.
Try getting in the habit of saying “thank you” immediately to all compliments and NOTHING else. This is the simplest way to accept that much needed positive stroke without allowing our minds to argue about the validity of it or not. Positive feedback is often few and far between, so why bother EVER rejecting a compliment?
Frankly, I just don’t see the point in it.
Dr. Anderson also recommends that we actively make an effort to GIVE five positive strokes each day. Think of how much more positive your work environment or family life could be by simply giving out a healthy helping of compliments each day! They say we need 12 compliments to cancel out one negative comment. If you actively give positive strokes the people in your world will be more receptive to any negative feedback you ever have to give.
Also, giving positive strokes is simply just fun!
How many positive strokes can you give out today?
~Dr. Nicole Sundene