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7 effective ways to handle criticism, objectively

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism
Norman Vincent Peale

We’ve all been exposed to criticism, in one form or other. Needless to say, that not all of them are bad – some are genuine with good intent and some are malicious and designed to just inflict hurt and pain. Agreed that there are instances where the intent is good, but the choice of words, tone, and poise are weak. Let’s steer clear of the grey areas and look at things just as black and white!

In my humble opinion, these 8 ways will help you address and handle criticism more effectively.

1. Is it constructive or destructive?

Everyone is bound to have an opinion about something we do, feel or say. The ones who just love to dispense advice are not going to stop at it either. The onus falls on us to decide if feedback is constructive or destructive. Hear them out, the options you have are to reply (honestly, sometimes this just a waste of time and energy) or let go. Listen ONLY to understand.

2. Intention

Honestly listen for the critic’s intention. Maybe they do have a valid point. Maybe they do understand what it is like to be in the position you are in. Don’t reply right away nor get defensive immediately. Listen.

3. Immediate Explosion – Just another defense mechanism

Avoid exploding in the face of constructive criticism. It’s just another defense mechanism that kicks in but consciously refrain from it. The criticism isn't always about you as a person, but maybe it’s about something you said or did. Give the other person a chance to explain where this is coming from.

4. Draw the line

From experience, we do understand that some people say things just to inflict pain and intentionally cause hurt. Grow wise enough to understand intentions and minimize encounters with harmful people. Constructive criticism from someone is ok but draw the line at insults. You have the power to put a stop to it. If you stay quite beyond a certain point, they take that as a personal victory and keep at it.

5. Assumption

The Achilles Heel of any relation is Assumption. Nothing right comes from assuming. Do not assume that the other person just wants to try and hurt you. Instead, try and enjoy the fun of failure or goofing things up. Listen, learn and amend on a lighter note.

6. Plan to act

Once the dust has settled and you’ve come out from a difficult interaction, take a breath. Give yourself time and room to be aware of where you went wrong, and more importantly, what do you do now. Nothing speaks louder than Corrective Actions. Make plans to act on all the constructive criticism that has come your way.

7. Thank and acknowledge

Thank those who offer constructive criticism, for they are the ones who were brave enough to confront you too. It’s not just uneasy for you to hear the things that you aren’t doing right, it’s equally difficult for the ones who truly want to see you grow, say those things. They have faced their demons of confronting too.


Maybe you agree with this, maybe you don’t. Maybe just to bits and parts of it. Irrespective, I am willing to hear your views as well as your critique at my feeble attempt to help you understand and explain Criticism.

Looking forward to your comments, views and opinions!

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