Being criticized never feels good. It can make you feel judged, as though you’re not good enough no matter how hard you try. Most people’s reaction to criticism is to get defensive, make excuses, or blame someone else. None of those options are especially constructive.
It’s up to you how you choose to react to criticism. You can see it as a personal attack, or you can embrace it, get the positives out of it, and move on. If you feel skeptical about criticism having any benefits, here are some excellent reasons why you should embrace it.
1. Use Criticism for Personal Growth
Often, criticism has more than a grain of truth in, even if it’s delivered a bit harshly. That’s partly why it makes you uncomfortable—deep down it rings true, even if you don’t want to admit it.
Think of criticism as another element in your personal development toolbox, one that offers insight you might otherwise miss. If nothing else, observing and managing how you react to criticism can shine a spotlight on your triggers, your unconscious reactions, and assumptions.
2. Develop Emotional Resilience
Criticism usually comes laden with emotions. You feel shamed, upset, and attacked. Learning to embrace criticism can help you become more emotionally resilient as you learn how to sit with your uncomfortable emotions instead of blindly reacting.
Practicing detachment takes you to a mental place where you can use your problem-solving skills. You can listen, assess, analyze, and work out what lessons to take away from the experience.
Embracing criticism can also help you step away from needing other people’s approval to feel good about yourself. Once you see criticism as potentially helpful feedback, it stops being a judgment of you as a person.
3. Improve Relationships
Once you stop reacting (or over-reacting) to feedback, you allow more space for openness, honesty, and better communication. People can talk to you about problems without feeling they have to walk on eggshells.
Embracing criticism makes for much better relationships as there are fewer barriers or ‘no go’ areas. You don’t want to be seen as prickly, difficult, or defensive, nor do you want to have your self-worth depend on other people’s good opinion of you.
4. Boost Self-Confidence
Embracing criticism will free you from the curse of perfectionism. You can accept that making mistakes is human, and that being criticized is actually okay, even helpful. Accept that criticism is part of everyday life and you’ll be more confident, happier, and freed up to be your best you.