No one likes to be the subject of criticism. It challenges our sense of self-belief and can leave us feeling belittled and judged.
There are some people, however, that relish being criticized, that look forward to a challenge and do not take criticism to heart. These are the mentally strong.
So how do the mentally strong handle criticism and what makes them able to look at criticism and work it to their own advantage? We all enjoy that feeling when we are right, when our work is celebrated, and we receive praise from our peers. So shouldn’t criticism be a real blow to our self-confidence?
Not so for the mentally strong. They realise that we need to mix with a large group of people, not just those who always agree with us, in order to produce our best work.
Here’s how mentally strong people handle criticism:
They listen without getting upset
Your first reaction if someone has criticised your work is to probably get upset and walk off or shut down the communication. Mentally strong people will let this feeling pass quickly because they are genuinely interested in what went wrong and how they can fix it to make their work better.
They don’t take offence or take it personally
Someone who is only bothered about the quality of their work or progress will relish criticism, not be personally offended by it. Imagine if authors were precious enough about their books to never employ an editor? Or teachers were never critiqued in class? Mentally strong people realise that criticism is healthy and necessary.
They see the criticism as a chance for improvement
Pointing out work that does not make the grade mortifies a mentally strong person, it does not send them down the road of despair or making numerous calls to their psychiatrist. Typically, they are grateful for the chance to correct or improve upon their work.
They accept the blame
As in life and in work, a mentally strong person will never shift the blame for their mistakes onto another. They are strong enough to accept that they themselves made the errors, just as they take accountability in real life for the situation they are in. The mentally strong know that whilst they cannot exert control over other people’s actions, they can control their own. They are then able to accept criticism, apply it in a constructive manner and use it to move forward.
They do not make excuses
Someone who is not mentally strong will try to make excuses about their lack of performance. They didn’t have a good night’s sleep, or they were feeling under the weather, they had to look after a sick relative so they could not study. Mentally strong people recognise that they are in control of their own destinies and they have no one else to blame but themselves.
They don’t belittle the problem
Making out that the problem is not worth their attention is one way of bypassing the fact that you might have messed up in the first place. Playing down the importance of what has happened is not fair to the person that brought the problem to your attention in the first place. Those who want to strive for excellence know that even the smallest details matter.
They don’t need to think that they are right all the time
Someone who always thinks they are in the right is not open-minded and will not be able to learn. Keeping an open mind when it comes to criticism allows the mentally strong to learn from their mistakes and move on.
They don’t sidestep the issue
Mentally strong people realise that if an issue has been raised, it requires their attention. They are happy to tackle issues head-on, in order to get the best out of people around them. They know that the first step in self-improvement is recognising there is a problem in the first place.
How you can be mentally strong and deal with criticism
You can increase your mental strength when it comes to personal criticism by remembering the following tips:
- It’s not personal
- It can help you progress if you use it correctly
- You don’t have to be right all the time
- It is a chance for improvement
- No one is perfect
Accepting criticism is the first step towards personal growth and enhancing your self-esteem, for without criticism, how can we know whether we are doing a good job or not?