by Victoria Brewster, MSW
I read an article in my local paper today on the topic of criticism and according to the article, when we cannot deal with it, well, it could be our own fault. (The Montreal Gazette, QC, Canada, Nov. 19, 2012)
The paper gives the quote: “Criticism like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots” – Frank A. Clark (1911-1990). I agree.
In order to give criticism, one should be able to receive criticism. Once your defenses go down, run the comments through your head and really give the criticism some thought.
Is the person correct? Do they have a point? How was the criticism stated?
If the person is still standing in front of you, perhaps count to ten or take a few deep breaths before responding. Maybe even wait until the next day to respond.
Criticism can be a growth opportunity if you can get past your most probable defensive reaction.
After you have reflected, go back and have a discussion with the person that gave the criticism, if you can. A very likely reaction is to avoid that person, pretend it never happened and/or close off all opportunity to communicate. Doing so, in a sense, lessens the growth opportunity.