In our personal and social interactions, we face many challenging situations. These can effect in many different ways and make us feel frustrated, disappointed, bock down, ridiculed or criticized even. In such circumstances we get confused and don’t get to know how to react and give reply to one’s statements.Many common reactions towards criticism are fear, anger, counter attack, denial, defense, shame and inadequacy.
People usually express such feeling through lash backs or simply gulping one’s own feelings. For a time being such reactions give you a relief but eventually they make you feel shameful or resentful. Consequently you are at dis-ease. Here are some skills through which you can easily get through the criticism without creating any uncomfortable situation for your own self and for others too.
Relax: Criticism can make you feel upset. Before giving any response, take a deep breath, release the tension in your face and body, and just for 2-3 seconds close your eyes.
Avoid Retaliation: Don’t immediately turn up the focus on the other person. They other person make it feel that he is being unheard, so he can become angry or repeat the negative feed back towards you. In this way the situation can get worse.
Hold back: The intention of the critic is to flair you up. So that they can get the opportunity to get back to you and arise negative emotions in you and take you on the guilt trip. Here you really need to clam down your self and hold your negative remarks.
Consider your safety: If you have any experience of physical violence by any one you know already or first encounter by a stranger, its better to maintain the safety first rather than giving any assertive response. Try to exercise caution in such exchanges.
Don’t demand perfection: Some people are not great at providing the feedback. They have their own style which you may not like. But do take this in your consideration what they are talking about actually and what is in it for me.
Validate their perception: You have the right of giving them the mirror reflection of the way they think about the situation. The purpose here is just o get clarity of their view point, so that the sane discussion can be carried on.
Validate their emotions: Do give them the clear feed back about their emotional display. You an say that “Yes, I can feel that you are upset on this”. In this way the critical party would feel that they have been heard carefully, which can contribute in lowering down their anger.
Agree In part: The passive people have the tendency to accept the whole criticism and agree with. Just listen to the critic first, and then agree partially with which you can relate easily. You can say, “Yes, I agree that at times I do get late but that does not mean that I am irresponsible”. Once you openly accept your mistake and take responsibility of it, then the discussion goes on at ease.
Listen and wait: Use the habit “first seek to understand and then to be understood”. Let the critic finish his view points. Listen to them carefully without making any interruptions. In this way he will mellow down and then you get the ample opportunity to speak up and present your point of views.
Narrow and specify: At times the critic is vague in his perception and criticism. You can ask if you don’t get to the point of objection. You can clearly ask, “May I know about which incident you are particularly taking about?” or “When did you observe me being rude to any one?”
Ask for clarification: When you get any critical looks or sarcastic remarks, which you don’t get at once. You can ask for clarification. You can say “I don’t know why did you look at me in this way”? Or “you said that every working women has bad relations at home, I am a working women too, are you talking about me as well?” by doing so, the critic will take the responsibility of his criticism. But keep in mind; he can refuse to give you the explanation. Don’t force him to open up and control them.
Explain without offering excuses: Try to give the brief explanation. The more you give the reasons of any of your act, the more opportunity you are giving to your critic to criticize you. You can say, “yes I forgot to call you, because I was busy” rather than saying, “I forgot to call you because I was assigned to do a certain task, which I had to finish by a certain time and then one of my friend arrived, she was so upset and I got engaged in dealing with her emotions and _____and ____ and______”….. Avoid this.
Don’t try to change their mind: People do have the right to hold their opinion. They are viewing the situation in their own perspective. Don’t keep on trying, arguing, challenging and explaining to them until they agree with you. They may never agree with you. Give their view point’s acceptance and let it go.
Thank the critic: As we always need the feed backs, at times the critical remarks contribute to our personal growth, if you take them seriously. Look what’s in it for me?? If after the feed back you say thanks to your critic, it would give them the feeling as they have been heard. Next time their tones will be lowered down when they would like to give you feed back.
Mention the style: If you didn’t like the style of your critic while criticizing you, you can mention it. You can say, “Well I admit that its my fault but the way you’re telling me I am feeling uncomfortable with it”.