There will always be things you take pride in, like your work or your hobbies. You’ve probably built yourself into a daily routine that you can handle like a rock star. The things you love to do and what you know you’re good at will build up your self-esteem like nothing else — which is why it can be so hard to hear criticism about it.
Criticism can be given on many different levels. Sometimes it comes across as a passing comment that your hair would look better in long curls instead of a ponytail. Other times, it’s criticism about what you love or what you think you’re great at. That’s when it’s hardest to hear — when it’ll really hurt your heart.
The goal is to be able to hear this criticism and not take it personally, but that’s much easier said than done. Overcoming critics and being a stronger person for it will take some time, but it’s possible to achieve. Here’s how to be less sensitive about criticism, so you can take it in stride and keep moving forward.
1. Recognize Your Insecurities
The only way criticism can truly get under your skin is if it’s directed toward things you’re already insecure about. Take a moment to reflect on what you’d like to improve on. Remember that while criticism may point these particular things out, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep getting better. Once you have a game plan for overcoming your insecurities, you’ll be able to handle criticism with ease.
Insecurities are related or based only on your personality or characteristics. Imagine that you wish you were more of a people person. Your boss recommends you branch out more in the office and connect with people. Your game plan might be to start with one friend at a time. Make small talk at the coffee machine or invite someone to have lunch with you. It may not be easy at first, but the more you practice, the less insecure you’ll be and the more you’ll develop this trait.
2. Try to Embrace Change
You may feel completely confident in who you are and what you can do, which makes criticism all that more difficult to hear. If that’s the case, you may have a problem with change. Change is scary, especially when you feel comfortable, but it can be a great thing. You can try to embrace change by recognizing that what you need to work on doesn’t make you less of a success in the other things you’re great at doing.
3. Remember Your Victories
Tough criticism overshadows what you’re proud of, so when you hear a critique, remember your victories. Think about the last time you received similar criticism, like in a past employee evaluation. Were critiques made then that you took care of? Was there less criticism this time around? Take the criticism to heart, then celebrate what you’ve accomplished so far. There will always be time tomorrow to continue your self-improvement.
4. Value the Honesty
As you go through life, you’ll meet people who never have the privilege of being told honest opinions. There are certain people who can’t hear criticism, so they never get better at what they do.
With critiques, you get to hear honest information that will change your life. You’ll improve at your job or skills and go on to do better things. Even if it hurts, valuing the honesty of criticism will help you learn how to be less sensitive in the long term.
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5. Be Realistic With Yourself
Sometimes it’s good to have a reality check and be realistic with yourself. Giving you criticism is most likely part of that person’s job. They have to provide you with points to work on, even if they personally think you’d be fine as you are.
You also have to give yourself some slack. It’s okay not to be perfect! No one is. Take the criticism with grace and grow from it, because it’s a part of life you’ll never be able to ignore.
6. Craft Goals From Criticism
What are your current goals in life? Can the criticism you hear help you reach those goals and even form new ones? Good criticism may hurt, but you can use it to craft new goals that you may not have thought about before. What you’re focused on accomplishing may even be aided by a fresh look at what you want to do. It’s always a good idea to strengthen as many of your skills as possible, which criticism can help do.
7. Change Your Attitude
Think about the last time you heard constructive criticism. Did the person present the criticism in the most professional way possible? As long as they weren’t yelling, pointing fingers or using unnecessary derogatory language, they probably didn’t mean anything by it at all. Yet, it still stung. How was your attitude at the time you heard the criticism?
Next time you know you’re walking into a conversation where criticism may occur, do an attitude check. Try not to be defensive or on edge before the discussion even begins. Keep your breathing calm as you hear the criticism and watch your thoughts. Try to take it all in with the best attitude possible and use it as a springboard to help you grow.
You’ll rarely ever find a person who can hear criticism and never get hurt. It’s difficult to know how to be less sensitive to it when that criticism may be directed toward what you take pride in or love doing.
There are a few ways you can learn to hear criticism and let it roll right off your back. Make sure you’re in the best possible headspace by maintaining a positive attitude during the criticism. Use it to make new goals for yourself. Don’t forget that the person giving you the criticism is also probably just doing their job, so it’s not as personal as it may feel.
With enough time and practice, you’ll be able to handle criticism like a pro. Time will allow you to look back on how you’ve grown from past criticism, instead of dwelling negative emotions. Always remember that even when it hurts, you’re not alone. Criticism is never easy for anyone to hear, but you can get better at how you deal with it with the right techniques.
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