Criticism isn’t always easy to handle, especially when it’s spoken from a place of bad intentions. However, it is important to note that not all criticism is intended to hurt your feelings, there is also such a thing as constructive criticism.

But, if the person delivering the criticism is doing so without you asking, that is an entirely different circumstance. If you are in a situation in which someone is criticizing or judging you, it can be frustrating and in turn, our reactions can sometimes come from a place of anger. So, if you are in a situation like that, here is the best way to handle it.

1. Determine what the intention of the criticism is.

While some people may deliver criticism with harmful intentions, not all people will. And even when the criticism hits home and hurts your feelings, that doesn’t mean it was intended that way. Sometimes, the truth can hurt.

2. Understand if it’s constructive or destructive criticism.

Is the criticism constructive, or is it destructive? Constructive criticism is intended to help you grow. Destructive criticism is meant to hurt your feelings and tear you down. Understand the difference, so you understand what is being said to you.

3. Pause and breathe.

Take a moment to breathe and think about things. Regardless of the intentions of the other person, criticism can be hurtful. Before you react, take a moment to pause and think things through. You might be angry now, but after you have a moment to think about it, you might change how you view it.

4. If the criticism was not asked for, or from someone you have to take it from (a work situation) calmly tell the person how you feel.

When constructive criticism comes from someone who has no right to deliver it, no matter how good their intentions are, it’s reasonable to feel frustrated at the person. Calmly explain that while you appreciate their thoughts, they are not the person to deliver the criticism, and leave it at that. If they continue, walk away.

5. Ask questions.

Ask yourself the following questions: do I trust this person and trust that they have my best interests at heart? Am I hurt because it is true and I need to hear it? Can this information help me?

6. Don’t retaliate.

It may be tempting to retaliate or criticize the other person. However, to do so is not only immature, it’s entirely unnecessary. If they are being rude, don’t sink to their level. And if they are just trying to be helpful, don’t project your insecurities onto them.

7. Accept constructive criticism that is beneficial and use it to grow.

If the criticism is beneficial to you, and deep down, something you need to hear and accept, do that. Don’t protect your ego, or let it get the best of you. Use the helpful information, show gratitude for it, and move forward.

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