critisimTips on Dealing with Criticism

Have an open and curious attitude. Think, ‘how interesting that person thinks that about me.’

Use the criticism as a spiritual warriorship exercise to find out more about yourself and how you react to other’s perceptions of you. Tell yourself, “The criticism is this person’s opinion about this behavior at this time.”  See the critic as a ‘role’ or dreamfigure trying to give you some information that may have meaning or be useful for you.

Say to the person, ‘I actually don’t think that about myself,’ but I appreciate that is your perception. ie. Use conflict resolution skills with the person criticizing you, be on your side, go on their side, etc.

Get support, find someone to help you with that person or their viewpoint.


  • See the criticism as information that may be useful for you.
  • Know different ways to work with your inner critic as well as outer critics.
  • Find a way to stand up for yourself, speak your truth, while respecting the other’s point of view.
  • Look for grains of truth. Repeated criticism can be a valid warning. Engage your critics help by asking them three questions: (a) What's positive about this idea? (b) What's interesting about it?; and, (c) What can I change to improve the idea? These responses turn a negative into a positive.
  • Sort feelings from facts
  • Look for role models, people who deal well with criticism
  • Use discernment, having the ability to separate fact from fiction and the important from the trivial.
  • Develop a plan for handling criticism. Learn to get to the root cause of criticism, keeping your eyes on the big picture.
  • Respond as a friend, not a foe
    Human nature is to repel or run from criticism. It's best to receive it and then deal with it. If criticism is misdirected, play the role as a friendly facilitator, e.g. "I am not the one you need to talk to, but I will help you make the connection you need."
  • Have a sense of humour as it helps diffuse destructive criticism.
  • Figure out what you need to learn from this event and then drop it.
  • Listen openly. The criticism might not be true, but what's important is that the person perceived it as true. Instead of feeling insulted, find out how you can change the person's perception or address the facts if it is true.
  • Get a second opinion. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. Some people, for example, will deride you out of envy. When you sense this is the case, don't get defensive. Say, "Thank you for your feedback. I'll take some time to evaluate what you said and see if I should make any changes based on your suggestions.".
  • Ask yourself "What can I learn from this criticism?"
  • Get used to the heat. If your goal is to avoid or suppress criticism, you'll consistently feel discouraged, angry, frustrated. When people point out that you're not perfect, take company in the knowledge that you're in good company.
  • Don’t engage with the person and do inner work.
  1. Negotiate with your inner ‘what you are saying to me may be useful However the way you tell me is abusive and attacking and makes me feel bad about myself. So, if you want me to change, please give me information that is meaningful and useful to me, rather than backlashing me.’
  2. If you have a habit of ‘beating yourself up inside’, don’t listen to the critic. Say to the critic, ‘you can go on, all you want in the back of my mind, but I’m just going to ignore you and get on with something else.’ This helps us be gentler and more loving towards ourselves.
  3. Trace the history of where your critic comes from. Did you have a critical parent or teacher figure in your life? Dialogue with that figure now and tell them that you no longer need them around.
  4. Explore the dream figure behind the critic figure. Eg. it might say that it only wants you to do very well, succeed etc. Then point out that making you feel bad is the worst possible way of helping you be successful.
  5. Develop a loving, supportive part of yourself which will always be on your side and stand up for you.

Compiled by Sherry Marshall

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