We’ve probably all experienced subtle or overt criticism at work or in our home life. If you’ve experienced this you could spend hours or days re-running the conversation or re-reading the email within which the criticism is contained. My hypnotherapy clients often describe losing sleep worrying about the comments of others and how they can deal with them. This is energy sapping as well as demotivating. Of course, you could just ‘let it go’ but sometimes this is easier said than done. So, how do you deal with criticism so that you won’t lose your equilibrium or give your power away?
Reflect on the comments and decide if there is any validity in them.
DO: If you believe there may be a kernel of truth in the comments, treat them as useful feedback rather than mean or unfair. This will keep you in a more positive mindset which will have a less detrimental effect on your wellbeing. Then create a plan of how you will use the information for your career or personal growth, regardless of how the message was communicated.
DON’T: Counter their criticism with accusations or observations about their performance. This leads to the issue you want to address becoming lost in the back and forth and emotions being heightened rather than diminished.
If the criticism feels unfair and takes you by surprise, it may be that the person who sent the email or made the critical comments is having a hard time themselves and has forgotten (or doesn’t know how) to be diplomatic.
DO: If you feel that you may have simply got the rough end of someone else’s dramas, then pause. Once some time has passed, they may recognise that they’ve been harsh or unduly critical and apologise for their behaviour. If they don’t and you can’t, or don’t want to let it go, arrange a time to discuss the matter once enough time has elapsed for any emotion to subside.
DON’T: Take it personally, especially if it’s not typical behaviour. Even the best friend, partner or boss can be affected by ill health or personal tragedies which may impair their judgement or manners.
If you believe the comments are unwarranted, personal or undermining, it may be that their displeasure is misdirected and that you are a convenient target. Unhappy people often misjudge other people or their actions. Those who are dissatisfied with themselves or their life are more likely to be cruel or overly critical of others. By being negative or judgemental rather than offering developmental feedback they seek to turn their attention away from their own shortcomings or dissatisfaction with themselves.
DO: The important thing to remember here is that another person’s behaviour is not your responsibility. If you live or work with someone who is frequently critical, unkind or unsupportive you need to think about what you want the outcome of any verbal or written communication to be. Naturally, the options open to you will vary depending on whether you’re in a personal or professional relationship with them. You will need to consider if your desired outcome is realistic based on your experience of interacting with this person. If you conclude that you are wishing for something that is unlikely to happen you will need to consider the alternatives and how you can remove yourself from or improve the situation.
DON’T: Accept the unacceptable. Decide on your boundaries and stick to them.
Maybe you’re in need of someone impartial to help you to manage or talk a situation through. A few appointments can work wonders in helping untangle those mental knots you’ve tied yourself in. Book in for a free consultation to find out how I can help.