No one likes to be criticized, fairly or not.

It’s always difficult to deal with, and it can hurt. Whether criticism is intended to be helpful or harmful, you can use it positively.

Evaluate the critic—is it a good friend, a kind person, a mentor? Criticism from any of these is likely to be constructive, and you can probably trust it and learn from it. Is the criticism from a competitive rival? Then use its mirror image -- it's probably something powerful about you that threatens the rival. Is it from a lover or intimate person? Then it can hurt a lot, because intimates know where your soft spots are—and, they often project their own fears onto you.

Whatever the source of the criticism, ignore it for a few hours or a day, until the sting has subsided, and then evaluate its usefulness to you. If a trusted mentor is offering constructive criticism, it may be a great gift to you, once you have absorbed it. Stretch yourself a bit, and look at the comment from an objective viewpoint, and see how much truth you think it holds. Above all, be true to yourself, and know that your own good opinion of yourself is most valuable if it is based on truth.

Another good way is to use a sense of humor: if you can come up with a clever funny remark that diffuses the criticism that is always the most effective way to disarm it. Alternatively, give an “adult time out” to anyone who is negative and critical: emotionally retreat into politeness. Be very pleasant, but distant—say “Yes, please” “No, thank you” and respond politely to any request, but don't share any personal information. This usually causes a negative person to snap out of it. Ignore any negative thing that is said—just treat it as if it didn't happen. In this way, you don't reward it, and the other person will eventually stop.

2205 hours
Monday 12 December 2011