How to Deal with Criticism Well: 25 Reasons to Embrace It

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle

At the end of the day, when I feel completely exhausted, it often has nothing to do with all the things I’ve done.

It’s not a consequence of juggling multiple responsibilities and projects. It’s not my body’s way of punishing me for becoming a late-life jogger after a period of laziness. It’s not even about getting too little sleep.

When I’m exhausted, you can be sure I’ve bent over backward trying to win everyone’s approval. I’ve obsessed over what people think of me, I’ve assigned speculative and usually inaccurate meanings to feedback I’ve received, and I’ve lost myself in negative thoughts about criticism and its merit.

I work at minimizing this type of behavior, and I’ve had success for the most part, but admittedly, it’s not easy.

I remember back in college, taking a summer acting class, when I actually made the people around me uncomfortable with my defensiveness. This one time, the teacher was giving me feedback after a scene in front of the whole class. She couldn’t get through a single sentence without me offering some type of argument.

After a couple minutes of verbal sparring, one of my peers actually said, “Stop talking. You’re embarrassing yourself.”

Looking back, I cut myself a little slack. You’re vulnerable in the spotlight, and the student’s reaction was kind of harsh. But I know I needed to hear it.

Because I was desperately afraid of being judged, I took everything, from everyone, as condemnation.

I realize criticism doesn’t always come gently, from someone legitimately trying to help. A lot of the feedback we receive is unsolicited and doesn’t come from teachers—or maybe all of it does. Maybe there's a lesson in every criticism, if only we're willing to find it.

We can’t control what other people will say to us. But we can control how we internalize it, respond to it, and learn from it, and when we release it and move on.

If you’ve been having a hard time dealing with criticism lately, it may help to remember the following:

The Benefits of Criticism

Personal Growth

1. Looking for seeds of truth in criticism encourages humility. It’s not easy to take an honest look at yourself and your weaknesses, but you can only grow if you’re willing to try.

2. Learning from criticism allows you to improve. Almost every critique gives you a tool to more effectively create the tomorrow you visualize.

3. Criticism opens you up to new perspectives and ideas that you may not have considered. Whenever someone challenges you, they help expand your thinking.

4. Your critics give you an opportunity to practice active listening. This means you resist the urge to analyze in your head, planning your rebuttal, and simply consider what the other person is saying.

5. You have the chance to practice forgiveness when you come up against harsh critics. Most of us carry around stress and frustration that we unintentionally misdirect from time to time.

Emotional Benefits

6. It’s helpful to learn how to sit with the discomfort of an initial emotional reaction instead of immediately acting or retaliating. All too often we want to do something with our feelings—generally not a great idea!

7. Criticism gives you the chance to foster problem solving skills, which isn’t always easy when you’re feeling sensitive, self-critical, or annoyed with your critic.

8. Receiving criticism that hits a sensitive spot helps you explore unresolved issues. Maybe you’re sensitive about your intelligence because you’re holding onto something someone said to you years ago, something you need to release.

9. Interpreting someone else’s feedback is an opportunity for rational thinking—sometimes, despite a negative tone, criticism is incredibly useful.

10. Criticism encourages you to question your instinctive associations and feelings; praise is good, criticism is bad. If we recondition ourselves to see things in less black and white terms, there’s no stop to how far we can go!

Improved Relationships

11. Criticism presents an opportunity to choose peace over conflict. When criticized. our instinct may be to fight, creating unnecessary drama. The people around us generally want to help us, not judge us.

12. Fielding criticism well helps you mitigate the need to be right. Nothing closes an open mind like ego—bad for your personal growth and damaging for relationships.

13. Your critics give you an opportunity to challenge any people-pleasing tendencies. Relationships based on a constant need for approval can be draining for everyone involved. It’s liberating to let people think whatever they want—they’re going to do it anyway.

14. Criticism gives you the chance to teach people how to treat you. If someone delivers it poorly, you can take this opportunity to tell them, “I think you make some valid points, but I would receive them better if you didn’t raise your voice.”

15. Certain pieces of criticism teach you not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that your boyfriend thinks you load the dishwasher “wrong.”

Time Efficiency

16. The more time you spend dwelling about what someone said, the less time you have to do something with it.

17. If you improve how you operate after receiving criticism, this will save time and energy in the future. When you think about from that perspective—criticism as a time saver—it’s hard not to appreciate it!

18. Fostering the ability to let go of your feelings and thoughts about being critiqued can help you let go in other areas of your life. Letting go of worries, regrets, stresses, fears, and even positive feelings helps you root yourself in the present moment. Mindfulness is always the most efficient use of time.

19. Criticism reinforces the power of personal space. Taking ten minutes to process your emotions, perhaps by writing in a journal, will ensure you respond well. And responding well the first time prevents one critical comment from dominating your day.

20. In some cases, criticism teaches you how to interact with a person, if they’re negative or hostile, for example. Knowing this can save you a lot of time and stress in the future.


21. Learning to receive false criticism—feedback that has no constructive value—without losing your confidence is a must if you want to do big things in life. The more attention your work receives, the more criticism you’ll have to field.

22. When someone criticizes you, it shines a light on your own insecurities. If you secretly agree that you’re lazy, you should get to the root of that. Why do you believe that, and what can you do about it?

23. Learning to move forward after criticism, even if you don’t feel incredibly confident, ensures that no isolated comment will prevent you from seizing your dreams. Think of it as separating the wheat from the chaff; takes what’s useful, leave the rest, and keep going!

24. When someone else appraises your harshly, you have an opportunity to monitor your internal self-talk. Research indicates up to 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. Take this opportunity to monitor and change your thought processes so you don’t drain and sabotage yourself!

25. Receiving feedback well reminds you it’s okay to have flaws—imperfection is part of being human. If you can admit weakness and work on them without getting down on yourself, you’ll experience far more happiness, peace, enjoyment, and success.

We are all perfectly imperfect, and other people may notice that from time to time. We may even notice in it each other.

Somehow accepting that is a huge weight off my mind.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Just like I said on the thought page, the best way to deal with criticism is to ‘stop caring about things’. Just don’t care. Fall free.

    Like Abraham and Hicks say, go downstream. Don’t resist it, just let it happen and go. It’s good, yeah, that’s why you’ve listed this post. But all I know is, it should be allowed to pass through you and elope in it’s own neutrality.

    Stopping to care about things like criticism (and a lot of other negative things) is what you should start doing, now!

  • I think it’s very important to stop resisting. I learned from people like Osho and Krishnamurti that the world is a mirror. Everything that really bothers me in other people is an unresolved issue in myself with which I am not in peace.

    Like Khalil Gibran said:
    “I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers”

    Oh, one thing Lori: How do you deal with criticism which enters your mind? You know when your mind likes to think about what somebody said to you over an over…

    Thank you!!

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  • Robink

    I do not take what most would call criticism as most would, I try to see it as information I need, and I can do this because I accept the words into my head rather than my heart. I was taught if you listen with your head it is information, if you listen with your heart it causes an emotional reaction.It took some discipline to learn to do this but it makes my life so much easier,as I truly can learn from my mistakes

  • Thanks for your comment Jaky! You bring up an excellent point about letting criticism happen and letting it to. I think accepting that it is human nature to form opinions/judgments is one of the keys to happiness.

    I know for me personally, in the moment when I am criticized it helps to think through how I can use the experience to my benefit. It’s easier for me to let go of something when I have made peace with my feelings about it. (Instead of forcing myself to not have feelings at all).

  • Thanks for your comment Stephan! This really resonated with me: “Everything that really bothers me in other people is an unresolved issue in myself with which I am not in peace.” I believe that wholeheartedly, and I’ve seen it firsthand in my own life.

    I deal with criticism by thinking about one of the many things I listed here. Which one I think about depends on the nature of the criticism–whether it’s constructive, delivered harshly, unsolicited, etc.

    I am someone who reacts very emotionally to the world around me, including things I perceive as both positive and negative. It’s helpful for me to talk my way through an emotional response so I can then let it go. If I can find some lesson in something that happened, I am less likely to dwell on it.

    I realize the Buddhist answer is “to let it wash through my and then let it go” but that’s just not how I choose to operate. I choose instead to recycle it into something that feels useful.

    Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful day =)

  • Thanks for this Lori!

    It’ll come in very handy not only for when I let criticism get under my skin but also when I’m busy picking others apart, which I’ve been doing a fair bit recently… and I know it’s got just as much to do with me as it has with anyone else.

    I’ve had an odd relationship with criticism throughout my life. On the one hand I take it badly and internalise it when it’s directed at me personally but on the other hand, I’m very constructive and manically determined to improve if it’s aimed at my writing – I’ve been trained well in that area, to make use of it all!

    Strange how I’ve never thought to apply the same skills to things that get to me personally.

    Thanks for writing this, you really know how to hit the nail on the head!


  • Yes of course Lori! Your idea is about learning and benefiting from the criticism while I’m talking about how not to get yourself affected and depressed of it. Criticism happens and sometimes it happens so hard, we just feel out of our minds. So, then, before you could learn something from it, you’ve to get your mind out of the damn thing.

  • Actually Sam, it’s always about having it inside you. Gandhi, for example, is criticized a lot about his ideas on Satyagrah and Truth. Well, but there are millions more who also actually understand and support the idea.

    So, criticism doesn’t always mean you’ve to learn from it. Sometimes, people criticize because they don’t get the point you’re trying to make them understand. So, depends on situation about what you can do with it.

  • Thank you for posting this. I’m someone who is always defensive as well and I never thought about the good things that criticism can bring. It’s probably because it’s always talked about in a negative light, rather than as something positive. I think that if as children we learn that criticism can be something positive we won’t grow into adults who are always looking at the negative aspect of it.

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  • Thank you!
    May I have one addition?
    Criticism helps you to see the emptiness of your personal “I”, because upon analysis you will be able to see, that the “object” on which the critic applies his criticism is fictitious. It is not easy (at all) to deconstruct your personal ego, created by yourself, but other people’s constructions of “me” can be much less feasible and easier to deal with. It also helps you to analyse your identifications and to see how stupid they can be. (“Hey, you fat bald pig in this stupid green shirt!” – Well, it is not even green… And anyway tomorrow I will put on a red one…)

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  • Learning how to handle feedback from others has always been one of my biggest focuses in personal development. It can be excruciatingly difficult, especially since, like you, I am very protective of my perceived “self.” I like to believe that I already do things really well, but in truth I have a lot I need to improve. Some people I can accept feedback from more than others. Some people are just PLAIN rude whenever they give their opinion. It makes my heart race, but I am very good at biting my tongue and remaining polite.

    Really great advice Lori! LOVE the blog and I hope to read a lot more of it in the future.

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  • This is a really great post. I especially liked the point that the more attention you receive the more criticism you will receive too. You can’t have one without the other.

  • Absolutely–this has been a big one for me. Now when I receive criticism, I remember it’s partly a reflection on the impact I’m making. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • { When someone criticizes you, it shines a light on your own insecurities.}

    This is true.
    And I am learning to face my criticism with a smile, which is still harsh thing to do for me, cause I always squeeze the awkward-est smile 😉
    Gotta be a confident giggling girl~~

  • I love this post, thank you! It’s so amazing how putting our mental energy into approval seeking can completely physically, mentally, and emotionally wipe us out. These reasons to embrace criticism are so wise and so helpful. Thank you!

  • You’re most welcome! I know how exhausting approval seeking behavior can be. This is something I constantly work at, and I’m learning it gets easier with time. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • You’re most welcome! I know how exhausting approval seeking behavior can be. This is something I constantly work at, and I’m learning it gets easier with time. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  • DOforanimals

    Whoa. My knee-jerk reaction is wanting to go back in time and punch that student in the mouth for not only being harsh but humiliating. But then, that would not be very buddhist :-/ The lesson from this is knowing there will be those undiplomatic critics out there and develop a thick skin, step back and learn from what is said.

    A good thing to remember also is that critics often have their own agenda and insecurities, so what they criticize in you may have no kernel of truth whatsoever.

  • Absolutely fantastic post. Lots of valuable information here.

    My partner and I have been faced with a lot of ‘false criticism’ in the last year with the launch and success of our new business (mostly from competitors). It was extremely hard to deal with at first (and sometimes still is), but the points you bring up and reasons you give to embrace the less-than-pleasant feedback definitely help me to see things from a different perspective.

    I’m already breathing easier – the weight has been lifted. Thank you!

  • My knee-jerk reaction wasn’t very understanding at the time! I felt so embarrassed to be confronted like that in front of all my peers. It took me a while to realize I would do myself a huge favor by being less defensive. Either there was something constructive in the criticism and I could improve, or there wasn’t and it wasn’t worth getting upset over.

    Good point about critics’ agendas/insecurities. My mother used to say, “Not everything is about you.” It can be tempting to take everything personally, especially if it’s coming at you. I think in the end we just need to trust our instincts when it comes to assessing whether or not there’s actually an value in a criticism or it’s better to just let it go.

  • I’m glad you found this helpful. Thanks for commenting and sharing some of your experiences!

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  • Guest

    This is assuming the person giving the critique is worth investing time over. I find some offer criticism only to bring you down so you can’t excel beyond them.

  • p_q

    I liked.
    For us, who can handle just one phrase in our minds, in a nutshell, in one line, whats your advice?

  • Take what can help you grow, realizing it’s probably more than you think, and leave the rest. That would be my advice in a nutshell!

  • Totally agree. We should take criticism and turn it to a beneficial force to improve ourselves. Well said and really a nice write-up. =)

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  • I love how you found 25 positive responses to a subject that can bring many people to their knees Lori. Criticism can be cut like a knife to confidence so your list is a great resource to boosting self-esteem and seeing everything from a more beneficial slant. For me constructive criticism shows you who your friends are and where you are likely to find support, a kind word, a shoulder to rely on, and someone who has got your back so you don’t fall over. Well intentioned criticsim is elixir to reality and helps fine tune planning and goals. Best to welcome and make friends with it then.

  • Well said John! I think when we focus on how constructive criticism can allow us to grow and improve, it suddenly seems a lot less difficult to handle. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Out of all the things I feel like I’ve got sussed, taking criticism well is definitely not one of them. Thanks for this post, it’s given me a lot of new ways to approach the problem!

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Anonymous

    Out of all the things I feel like I’ve got sussed, taking criticism well is definitely not one of them! Thanks for this post, it has given me a lot of new ways to think about the problem.

  • Bellyofthegiant

    Wow, thanks for the post. It took me from not being able to sleep last night to looking forward to the next critisism!

    Also astounding how close to home this hits. Was the ‘secretly agreeing that you’re lazy’ a personal or general example? Unfortunately this is something I believe but I’m struggling to figure out what can to do about it.

    Thanks again!

  • You’re most welcome! I have historically struggled with criticism, so I’ve put a lot of thought into different ways to interpret and benefit from it (clearly). The lazy example was more general, although there have been times in my life when I’ve believed that I am lazy.

    One thing that has helped me is to allow myself some time to be without feeling any pressure to be productive. I think I was associating needing space to relax with laziness, when really it was just a matter of needing to create a balanced life.

    Have a wonderful day!

  • I managed to post that twice, sorry!

  • No worries! I will delete one. =)

  • There is always something to learn from criticism so it’s already great to listen. However, I’m impressed by the extensive list of benefits you got here!

  • Thanks Etienne! As someone who used to be incredibly defensive, I’ve put a lot of thought into this!

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  • Criticisms are good to help us see what we can improve upon. However, don’t ever take it too hard and make sure we are listening to only criticisms that are not baseless.


  • I love this post.
    Tip 13 is incredibly important for everyone to learn. I feel it should be taught at school because people have so much restraint these days.

    It saddens me everyday that there are 50 people in a bus and it’s dead silent because people are afraid of rejection/criticism/being ignored to maybe talk to someone new.

    It should be drilled into everyone’s mind that it’s a matter of letting people think what they may.

    I fight with this as well but it’s a matter of turning it off. Their thoughts don’t matter; only your actions matter.

  • I have fought with this, as well. It’s really tempting to want to be liked by everyone, but since it’s just not possible, it’s a huge energy drainer. I love what you wrote at the end–well put!

  • Guest

    Thank you so much for this! It helped me a lot. I was criticized by a group of people recently, I can’t even explain how it made me feel….so discouraged….so heart broken….they attacked me personally and my work…all because of something that was not my fault. I know that these people don’t believe that it was a mistake but I know the truth….and although I know the truth it still hurt to have people viciously cut me down. I don’t even understand how some people can have no regard for other people’s feelings….why they can’t put themselves in someone else’s shoes…I always live by “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and It totally shocked me to my core, my hands were shaking all day….and i just felt so defeated…I didn’t know what I was going to do to try and get over it…i’m glad I found your website. Thanks. xoxo

  • I’m sorry to hear about your recent experience. I’ve been in that place before, and I know how much it can hurt to be cut down by a whole group of people. I’m so glad my post has helped you let go and move on!

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  • some poeple arn’t just critical but out right mean.

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  • Mikeschurko

    Wow Lori, you absolutely nailed it!

         I welcome criticism, because then it means that I’m out there trying something new, and different and unique.  There are others out there, who maybe not intentionally try to, but allow internal conditioning to allow their inadequacies and fears come out as “critiques”, when really they’re just upset with themselves that they haven’t been able to step out of their comfort zones and try something new like you have!

         Thanks for the wise words Lori!  Keep it up!


  • Wonderfully put, Mike! I think fear of criticism keeps a lot of us from even trying for the things we want in life–I know it held me back for a long time, and sometimes, it’s still difficult for me. But it helps me to remember that each time I work through fear and insecurity, I become a little stronger and wiser. Every time I learn from criticism instead of shutting down, I gain a new sense of confidence. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Lynnesail

    I hope this site is still active. I am in the healthcare field, in the business of helping people albeit administratively, I still deal with people on a day to day basis. Yesterday, I was very harshly criticized in writing without the person leaving their name. Although I have been managing this medical practice for 40 years with all my heart and best intentions, they said I was unpleasant, hard to deal with on any level even making it hard for them to look at me and that I make bad remarks. This cuts to my core as I don’t know how to fix this. I feel I am a kind and caring person who does everything to help people. How do you change what you do not know you are doing?

    It makes we question whether I have been doing this so long I can no longer do it right or perhaps some inner feeling that I am tired of doing this is showing without me being conscious of it. That I am just burned out and no longer belong. I want to use this constructively but I wonder if I can step back and really do it.

    She said a very cutting thing, that she is surprised that I fit in with the “theme” of the office, the office that “I” created and manage. I hope someone isnoutnthere who can help me. Lynne

  • Hi Lynnesail,

    The site IS still active, though it is temporarily down while we switch to a new hosting company. I am so sorry to hear about what this person said. I’m wondering if perhaps you two had an altercation of some sort, and because of where his/her head space was at, this person wrote something much harsher than is true. I think that when people are angry, they say things that in their hearts they know aren’t completely accurate, because it allows them to vent some of their excess feelings.

    If this was an isolated incident, I would say that tells you something. One person with one complaint is much different than a lot of people agreeing on the same thing. If you feel as though you are kind and caring person, and that you’re going out of your way to help people, I would say don’t take this to heart. Now if you suspect there is some truth to these remarks, that’s a whole different story. I assume that in your heart, you know.

    I hope this helps somewhat!


  • recently, it was my role to listen to criticisms of a person over whom i had some oversight responsibilities.  as i listened, there was some merit to the criticisms, but i soon realized that this was more about the needs of the person doing the criticizing.  this person had considerable talents and wanted to use those talents to help the person being criticized.  the critic’s talents were being ignored, so she lashed out, finding myriad faults in the person being criticized.  this reminded me that the most vehement criticisms are often more about the person who is the critic than about the person who is criticized, and it’s important to take that into consideration when analyzing criticisms.

    i was struck by your comment that “research indicates up to 80% of our thoughts are negative.”  time for me to do some self-monitoring to see if that’s the case with me.  thanks for the great post.

  • I suspect you’re right there. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I know I have done that before. Thank you for sharing your story–very insightful!

  • Found this today via another blog – very useful, thank you. Hope you’re winning 😉

  • Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

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  • Good to digest for clarity of focus amidst life’s challenges of criticism. A real fuel in a world where hate, greed and malice underline human quest for vanity.

  • Thanks Emmanuel. I think criticism is something that can hold us back or propel us forward–it all comes down to how we look at it!

  • Haaz

    For me the worry that I may be criticised is just as bad even where history would suggest it is unlikely to happen.  

  • I know what you mean, Haaz. One thing that’s helped me is to ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” So if someone criticizes me, so what? Will the whole world turn on me? Will I fall apart? Even if there’s some truth to the criticism, again, so what? Does it mean I’m a bad person? Does it mean there’s something wrong with me? And of course, the answer is hell no! It always helps to put things in perspective. In the grand scheme of things, a little criticism is much less important than it seems in the moment. (And trust me–I know how it can seem. I have been there!)

  • Anonymous

    I read this post in Google Plus after a blogger I deeply respect posted it. I have read it many times and each time I learn something new. All I can say is Wow! I needed to read this and I am applying it to myself everyday. Thanks, Lori!

  • Thanks so much. I’m glad you’ve found this post helpful! Incidentally, I’m curious: which blogger posted this on Google+?

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  • Anonymous

    I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff,

  • Sweatherford

    This information was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

  • You are most welcome!

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  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, Lor, for responding so late. . I believe I received it from Letty Caban, a blogger from Ft. Lauderdale, who is a good friend and collaborator.

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  • I appreciate this article’s approach,
    and would add to it this following method to deal with critisism and manipulation:

    1. Paraphrase and Reflect the other person. This will make them feel respected and feel heard.

    2. Share your opinion or what you want.
    This will keep your self-respect going and also the creativity and expression you have does not get supressed.

    3. Revert with a Probe.
    This will make the other person feel invited to contribute with further relevant and useful information.

    A probe may often be an open question, and make it with humility, aiming to learn more from what the other person wants. Important: Does not imply you agree with it. It will however, definitely, increase chances to maintain a good relationship inspite of this critisism.  Thanks!

  • Great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  • PeachOlympia

    This is such a great post!!  This subject is something I’ve been thinking a lot about for a couple of years now,  being a music performance major.  It’s so rewarding and freeing to make that mental shift, to look for all the good that criticism can offer– and I’ve noticed, if I start responding enthusiastically and positively to an instructor’s criticisms (even when it’s harsh!!), it causes a ripple effect and suddenly everyone in the class starts putting a positive spin on things, asking questions, being constructive…  I also love what you pointed out about appraising our “self-talk;” I know I’m guilty of letting negative thoughts overpower.   

  • I’m glad you found this post helpful! I know how tough it can be to get criticism when it comes to performing. It’s a really vulnerable feeling to receive a critique of something you’ve put your heart into (andfor an audience). I love what you wrote about the ripple effect…what a great consequence of taking constructive criticism well!

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  • Jayjay30265

    Since Im getting older I have alot more responsibility im not very bright when its coming to make decisions that are soppesed to be helping me with my life my person are doing the best they can all the time but I keep pushing the away from me maybe its besucses of the the critizem that they keep giving me about every little thing I see now that I will be critized all my life by people because they don’t give a crap. I see that i cant let that change my life though that’s what Ive been afraid of all the time.My parents want the best but i know that they do this to make me stronger every day they just want me to ignore what people Think/Say/or do to me/as long  I tell them about it.I getting better and better but its getting harder and harder to do.I to am being afraid of being jugged all the kids in my school but now im almost able to get over them and keep living my life. 

  • Jay30265

    yea and I to also have been pushing my self on to people that did not want to be around me i have done all of the following but i have realized my mistakes and where i must go now to rid of all my mistakes I love this quote at the   beinging

    Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle

  • Aiko_14destiny

    I’m typing this at 3AM because I can’t bring myself to sleep after reading a “review” I received from a story I wrote just earlier that evening. though what this reviewer did was more of a FLAMING than Constructive criticism and she even did it in a manner that goes WAAAAAAAAY below the belt like calling me a retard and all. Honestly, I’m just a beginner at writing stories and I only posted the prologue, but after reading such harsh criticism, I felt shaken, depressed, frustrated, and many more bad emotions which does no good for me especially since I’m the extremely emotional type. though after I read this blog, I kind of felt a little lighten up knowing that I’m not alone in the world facing such harshness so with that thank you. you’re advice calmed me down. 🙂

  • Wow that sounds unnecessarily harsh. I can understand why that would be unnerving! I’m glad my post helped you feel a little better. =)

  • Netty

    It is so nice to read this for a difficult work situation. Thank you.

  • Criticism is not a new word for me. In fact, I have been able to deal with it over the past few years I’ve lived my life in dealing with such. I love most the subtopic dealing with self confidence in fact 🙂 Due to such, I have been able to stand firm on my ground and deal with all the criticisms being thrown straight at me. I can still remember those days and the irony with it is that I sometimes laughed at what have been with my past. Thanks a lot for bringing this up Lori. This sure is worth the read.

  • You’re most welcome Argie. I think it’s wonderful you’ve been able to make such improvements, and that you now look back with a smile. =)

  • Thanks Hariette!

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  • I like this post Lori. It basically states we need to take responsibility for our emotions (reactions) and stop feeding into others’. I recently was rejected by a major publisher that I was convinced would want my book. I learned some very important lessons from that. Their criticism was that I had the knowledge but was lacking in my voice. That has pushed me to find that “voice” which really means find myself through my writing. Not an easy task. But I think that is one of your strength and reasons Tiny Buddha is so successful.That criticism was valuable but how I processed it matter even more than what they said. Thanks for this post and all of your work here.

  • You’re most welcome. I actually received a similar criticism before I got my book deal, and it helped me become a better writer. I visited your site. I love the idea of “new day resolutions.” I will look forward to reading your book once you find the right publisher. I hope you had a wonderful breakfast with your daughters =)

  • If somebody critises you to their face, fine..

    They are entitled to their opinion and in one way i admire them for doing it to their face..

    But there is a way to do it, It they raise their voice or are in any way tempestuous, then it is totally in your control to tell them that you are not happy with their behavoir and you wont condone it..

  • Very Interesting!

  • Elle

    Great post!

  • Thanks Elle!

  • I consider myself a recovering people pleaser, which means I, too, have had trouble with criticism in the past. 

    In my active days of people pleasing, I was constantly surveying the landscape trying to figure out how I needed to behave in order to gain approval from others.  When I didn’t gain approval, but was instead met with criticism, I was either a defensive thug or an overly sensitive meltdown.

    People pleasing…it’s such an exhausting and impossible task because the reality is you can’t possibly please everyone. 

    And even if you were able to, WHO did they really like if you were turning yourself inside out to gain approval?  Was it the real you?  How does this relate to criticism? 

    For me, it’s about actively hearing the criticism, but then deciding for myself (from a place of being very centered about who I am) what pieces and parts, if any, are useful. 

    The bottom line:  It’s not accepting criticism without thought AND it’s not dismissing criticism without thought. 

  • So much of what you wrote resonated with me! I too find that when I feel centered in who I am, I am more open to constructive criticism and less sensitive regarding destructive criticism. It also helps that I get a great deal of both these days, which means I have plenty of opportunities to practice receiving it well!

  • Dietz Ziechmann

    These thoughts about how to process criticisms thoughtfully by Jennifer Bailey seem very well-constructed: avoid knee-jerk reactions whenever possible. Don’t worry is this posture is hard, even very hard, at first. Skill at diffusing and delaying one’s reaction comes with practice over time.

  • Matthew Iduh

    Point 13 is a very nice one. People feel liberated when they are given the opportunity to think in their own way. Imposition of what oneelse thinks on somebodyelse increases performance pressure and reduces performance ability of the person to which the thought is been imposed. To practically represents our thoughts, thoughts are best represented by those who think it. It is not easy to develop the way people think, but it easy to develop people itself. Hence, you develop people and you have developed their thoughts.

  • ak

    when i am alone i am confident and know who i am and know where i am going.

    once i step outside on a daily basis i am told that i am passively or directly labeled as weak, sensitive, and naive for no reason. ive been called a mess, touchy, a loser, a downer, that i need to “toughen up.”

    its really amazing how people feel they are all entitled to judge others internally and externally without even bothering to care where they come from. if i take it quietly im weak if i stand up for myself im oversensitive.personally if i were to take all this criticism as a compass towards my areas of “self improvement” i would feel it as bullshit, because frankly, thats a lot of area to cover.

    im not a victim, but just in wonder of how people in “reality” are. if they are right about anything im probably too sensitive for this world. just because i dont talk out of my ass all day and am nice to people doesnt make me weak, but it invites every type of idiotic and assuming judgement. maybe i should just start going around and telling people who they are to make myself feel better or better yet to help them improve their lives.. because hey were all entitled to that right?

  • Hi Ak,

    As someone who also has a tendency to be over-sensitive, I can relate to what you wrote. One thing that has helped me is to focus on learning what I can from every experience, and then letting go of the rest. When it comes to people judging, sometimes the best thing we can do is decide not to judge ourselves or them in response. It’s certainly not easy–it’s something I work at! But I know feel far more peaceful when I am able to let go instead of internalizing and over-analyzing.

    Much love,

  • Excellent advice. I always need some time to come around to criticism
    but I always do. However, I know a lot of people that could really use
    this guide!

  • I just discovered your blog and it has already inspire me. Your writing is wonderful, thank you for sharing your wisdom x

  • You’re most welcome Rachel. Welcome to Tiny Buddha. =)

  • wonderfully summed up. Criticism can be positive or negative but at the end of the day it is up to us to convert the criticism into a postive note. We cannot stop someone  from criticizing (for that matter, most of the time it would be a wastage of time even trying to refrain) but channelizing it for betterment or atleast stop the negative energy is within our realms. Cheers.

  • Thanks Lakshmi!

  • Nemobabii32

    This honestly helped alot. I’m in high school, and have been going through ALOT of drama recently, I don’t like it. I realized who my real friends are, but the bad part is my real friends aren’t in any of my classes and the ones I’m having problems with are. I don’t wanna hear them being mean and hurtful in class. I don’t care what they think of me, but I KNOW they’re gonna put their thoughts into words and hurt me intentionally. One of my classes I have with pretty much all of the 8 girls I’ve been having trouble with, and that’s gym, I was already self conscious before but now I’m gonna be even worse. I know I should act like it’s not bothering me but deep down it will alot.

  • Lucianli

    I am chineese

  • LBE

    thank you for these words of wisdom.
    i think that i will go to work tomorrow with a new feeling of self assurance. i hope it lasts.

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • va

    I agree with you, I have struggled to get some understanding into myself, when it comes to others passing judgment on me, the more well intentioned I am, kind, patient, with interacctions with others, the more I give them slack, ITs crazy how you are let down time and time again in the most basic interaccions, I wish no harm on anyone or anything, and I feel we live in a time where that is stomped out! unacceptable! for people just to let you be, If you have a smile on you face, it is there dutty to errase it, to atack you, totally unprovoked and uncalled for, cuzz you dont even know them…… I so agree with you, and I think its a valid point of view, and when you hear some one say learn from it, its hard.

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  • neha singh

    I have a problem with point 10. You say to change the natural instinct in face of criticism. I’m not sure whether that helps over a long period of time. I mean to say, you can’t have a bizarre reaction to something out of deconditioning!! You could appear crazy laughing at someone slapping you, for eg!! Also, I always feel that people who criticize too sharply just can’t accept you did a better job than they did and imagined of you! I always think and look at the qualifications of people in charge of my work, and no one appears to even remotely qualify as a better judge, I always shock ppl!! Also, you can’t just open yourself to an attack. In chess, all of the pawns and smaller fry are used to defend the big players, not just open them up for attack!!

  • I understand your point here! I was thinking of criticism less as a physical assault (like a slap in the face) and more as information with potentially useful components. If someone is clearly attacking you, then I would understand the instinct to judge that as bad!

  • Vaibhav Jandey

    I read the entire article. It’s very much helpful for me since I had been suffering with this problem when people tend to criticize me and I always tried to be defensive. Now I feel I’ll recover from the same after reading this article.

  • Vaibhav Jandey

    Agreed with you Jennifer on how to take criticism and the ‘bottom line’ is very meaningful and a must follow thought.

  • Vaibhav Jandey

    Dear Lori when I meet criticism I try to be silent at that time it gives me an immense benefit to not disrupt my peace of mind. Whether am I right here ?

  • Hi Vaibhav,

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. Could you clarify?


  • I wrote a blog post that got a ton of attention and half the comments are very critical. I was ill-equipped to deal with the thousands of comments on various social media platforms. I’m trying to appreciate the difference of opinions but personal attacks are difficult. Anyway, in the blog world they say attention is important but we are all human and it’s still hard not to second guess yourself.

  • I understand Tara. I think that type of attention in general can be hard to receive (at least it would be for me). It sounds like you wrote something that really struck a nerve with people and got them thinking. I would love to read it if you don’t mind sharing the link!

  • Grateful

    thank you so much. Found your site after having a paralyzing couple of days just devastated by a critical experience and I think I may actually sleep tonight. The post and all the comments have been so helpful.

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped! I hope you have a restful evening. =)

  • Jessie

    I am just a teen. I have been trying to let go all of the drama and start fresh but knowing what people truly think of me hurts. As its hard to get more support. And it’s hard for me to get people to think I’m trying to change. Any advice?.
    Much Love,

  • Hi Jessie,

    Which people are you referring to? Friends? Or family too? What do you believe they think about you? If you can tell me a little more about what’s going on, I will be happy to advise you as best I can!

    Love Lori

  • Teacher Mike

    The best way for all of these humdrum is to read the Bible, Pray to God.

  • Carol

     I applaud you for having the courage to put yourself out there and be vulnerable enough to allow others to read your story.  That takes a ton of guts and you should be really proud of yourself for doing so.  And whatever your story was about hit a nerve and caused enough of a stir for a “flame thrower” to respond – congratulations!  While I don’t agree with people lobbing written grenades against others they don’t know, maybe it would help to step back and see that your story was a piece of art – it caused a reaction and caused someone else to feel so strongly that they felt compelled to attack you. 

    This outburst from a reader says a lot about your future as a writer (you can inspire someone to get off their couch and react with strong emotions – that’s powerful!) – I feel that you have a great future ahead of you.  As a writer, you are going to be vulnerable to the world of readers, and there are likely more reactions (positive and negative) to come.  Surround yourself with a positive self-image (The Royal We – me, myself and I, should become your biggest writing cheerleaders) and supportive authors (peers who can keep you grounded), friends (who love you for you) and supporters who like your work.

    Wishing you great success in your written endeavors – I applaud you without even reading your work!

  • Carol

    High school can be horrible!  I feel sad for you and your situation where you can’t walk away from intolerant people, especially in gym class, and the only advice I can give you is this:
    1. Some of the most successful and wonderful people in the world had a horrible high school experience.  Somehow we all get through the mean girls, gossiping, and outright unfairness, but it is certainly not easy and it can be utterly lonely.  Lady Gaga, Oprah, and others have scars – but somehow have risen to the top in spite of their school years.
    2. It is a temporary situation (thank goodness).  High school is a tiny microcosm of the world and it can be highly dysfunctional. When you graduate and get out into the real world, there are 7 billion people – many of whom you will meet who are JUST LIKE YOU. Just because you encounter people who don’t gel with you, does not make you the bad guy – you deserve respect, good treatment and kindness, unfortunately those around you are simply not yet mature enough to realize that.

    Consider this from someone older than you who doesn’t know you (me) who has taken the time to write back to you – you are whole, complete and perfect just as you are, and someday you will look back at the experience (from a vantage point of success!) and wonder how you got through all the crap. And you will, and you will be kinder to the world because of it.

    Meanwhile, be kind to yourself – you deserve it!

  • Carol

    You will never be “just” a teen – you are a valuable contributor to the world no matter how old you are.  Teenage years are hard – you are no longer a child and the world (and everyone in it) is jostling you about – parents expect you to be an adult even though often they still treat you as a child; teachers expect stellar behavior and achievements when you are still in the learning process; friends expect you to solve their problems and put you first; strangers (at school especially) who don’t know you seem to expect you to be a “model” of whatever they have in their heads. And in the midst of all of this, you have an internal critic who narrates your entire day telling you what you should do differently, how you should BE different than you are, and questions your every move about how you are going to make it in the world.  Wow – what pressure!

    The best thing you can do is to rewire your inner critic to become your best friend instead of your critic.  Your intuition can warn you about people and places to avoid to keep you safe, but your inner critic has no place to criticize you.  You say you are trying to change – and you obviously are – be proud of yourself for that, and remind your inner critic of that.  Imagine a huge stop sign that you start holding up every time your inner critic starts to tell you that you are not doing/saying/being in a negative way (the same way you’d protect best friend from a bully!) – and soon you will become your own best friend.

    When you get older, you’ll realize that people will always judge you, criticize you (with or without reason), be mean (their own projection), and otherwise not understand you – that is (unfortunately) life… but (and this is the good part!) – there are people you will least expect who will cherish you, celebrate you, support you, and love you – and 3 of them (me, myself and I) are within yourself.

    Hang in there – you are a good person who deserves good things, just make sure you tell yourself that!

  • Youbedo

    I am so grateful. Having a hard day hearing all sorts of criticisms and comparisons from people. Thanks god and I should be contented.

  • Neenapmr

    Thanks for this uplifting comment. I have parents who are unhappily estranged but present themselves as a couple . Their situation is horribly bad. My mother who I support very well in fact is always critical-small talk about a wedding totally innocuous treated with put downs. Why did I ask someone questions about her daughter’s wedding- because she enjoyed it- you must have bored her-why did you go on and on about it-it was one conversation and limited. This mother was happy I showed interest and I told my mother. Now more irritated uncalled for put down critical behavior today. Finally I told her that she seems to be in a fighting mood when I only tried to make conversation. Questions like how many people stayed in the nearby hotel rooms and dinner and entertainment matters. How would she know according to her. I said all brides are beautiful even if overweight from the inner glow and beauty. Apparently that was wrong. Truly tired of being driven down patronized I’d minished

  • Sarah

    I just wanted to thank you for this post, I can’t tell you how often I have referred to it. I have it bookmarked on my phone and it never fails to help me! Just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am, thank you so much!

  • I hope today was better–and I’m glad this helped you!

  • You’re most welcome Sarah! =)

  • Danielle V Kuruvilla

    Hi Everyone,
    Just like Jessie, I too try to start fresh, even with people’s hurting opinions about me. Whenever i bring in a new change into myself, everyone still looks at me like the same old person that I used o be. Its gets really hard for them to see the new change. Everytime I try to change, people think i’ve got another new problem on my hands. I think people (friends and family) are getting tired of trying to help me. What do I do ? HELP !

  • Hi Danielle,

    I know that must be frustrating! Change isn’t easy, and it can be even more challenging if we feel like people have given up on us. Let me ask you this: When you make changes in yourself, do *you* believe you’ve changed? Do you feel that you are making progress? Is it possible that you’re projecting your fears (of not really changing) onto other people–assuming they have bad opinions of you–because you’re still working to change your opinion of yourself?

    I may be off base here, but that came to mind when I read your comment!


  • sorry i am dual  boy  :'(

  • ZackB

    A quote I once read that really struck home was:

    “what other people think of you is none of your business”

    Excellent blog! Thank you

  • I love that quote. And you’re most welcome!

  • Oh man.  That was me for sure.  Reading that old acting story made me cringe just a little bit. Guess we’ve all been there.  Congrats on making something of it though.  Most would rather let it eat away at them instead…

  • Thanks so much Adam. I cringe just remembering it! I think experiences like this can seem a lot more valuable when I (we) look back and think about what we’ve learned from them.

  • Bepatient9

    I was getting married, and the best man who happened to be my husbands son, at the time he was 28 years old makes a comment about not giving me a toast.  Says it wasn’t that kind of wedding.  It wasn’t a church wedding, but we had a reception and everyone knows the best man is suppose to give the speech or toast.  To me it seemed like he didn’t accept me.  My father shook hands with my husband and accepted him.  We are trying to let things go, but this is still a problem.  How do I handle it.  Just leave it alone. I can’t trust his son.  He did apologize but never really said for what. It wasn’t his decision to make.  That’s the other reason why it hurt.  He never told me he wasn’t going to give a toast.  If he wasn’t I would have asked my brother or someone else.  We were standing there after the vowels and I was waiting for that moment.  That’s what I’m used to.  Anybody with suggestions on how to handle it.  I’ve had other drama after we got married, but this is one still bother me.

  • I can understand why that would be frustrating, and why you’d conclude that he didn’t accept you. Have you told him directly how it made you feel? Perhaps he doesn’t fully understand how this impacted you and why. That might explain why his apology fell flat: he simply didn’t understand how he affected you.

  • Nia

    Dear Lori, thank you for this post.

    I recently experienced an online situation on a blog which I frequent

    that devastated me. I posted a comment which reflected a true

    experience I had, but which was in disagreement with the blog post

    that the owner had written. I did so respectfully though, and was

    never rude to anyone or personal, or said anything bad. But this

    particular commenter disagreed with me and in doing so, was quite rude

    and personal and said things about me that were not true. I was very

    hurt and posted a reply (politely) defending my position.

    The same commenter replied with even more hurtful, untrue statements

    and basically called me a liar. I tried to post a follow-up comment to

    defend myself further, but the blog owner wouldn’t post it. I respect

    her right to do this, especially as hers is a fairly controversial

    blog which is heavily moderated. But my comments were not

    disrespectful in anyway, although by defending myself I was guilty of

    shifting away from the topic of the post in question. I realize that

    by feeling hurt and trying to defend myself, I only made matters

    worse, and also that my initial comments which reflected a personal

    experience were the wrong way to comment/disagree with her post.

    I felt badly about all this and e-mailed the blog owner personally

    (not for the other commenters to see) a sincere, good-faith apology,

    apologizing for my comments but she never acknowledged the apology

    either way so I don’t know if it was accepted or not. I considered

    posting a public apology to the blog, but I don’t know if that would

    be posted either.

    Since then she has posted replies from other commenters on the same

    topic. I have tried to forget about the matter, but among other things

    I am devastated that hurtful, untrue personal statements are online

    about me that I cannot defend for everyone to see, and I would like to

    seek advice on the best way to handle the matter.

  •  Personal attacks certainly do hurt, I agree. If I get a harsh personal criticism, I normally go to a person who I consider intelligent, sensible and honest, and ask them whether they believe the criticism is true. They’ll almost always say “No”, and it’s a good way to stop yourself from second guessing.

  • Carole

    I found this website today by googling “How do I stop thinking about criticism from a supervisor at work?”  I’m going to practice your technique, Robink, and I’m following tip 19 above right now by writing down what is bugging me.  Here goes:

    At work I sit across the cubicle wall from my team leader.  Yesterday I heard her criticize an employee to the woman next to her.  She did not say the name of the employee she was venting about; she just said that SHE is clueless, did so many things wrong, and created a disaster of the account.  Being a SHE myself, I immediately get a sinking feeling in my stomach and think she is referring to ME although I have no way of knowing that for sure.  

    I think it is not professional for her to demean and criticize an employee to a peer.  Should I confront her or just let the management know via a note I could drop anonymously into the company’s suggestion box?

    After reading Robink’s comment, I think that in the future whenever I hear her demeaning someone, I will let her rant go in one ear and out the other because I do not even know whom she’s belittling.  However, she does create a negative, unprofessional atmosphere.

    I feel better now that I’ve written about this.  I just want to let it go and stop running it through my brain.  If she is talking about ME, then I guess I’ll get a nasty email or be called into the office to be written up just like in high school.  But, at all costs, I will remain calm and follow Robink’s lead.  

    All comments are welcome.  Thank you.

  • Carole

    I know how it feels to be trapped by hostile people.  I had that experience at work once.  A girl didn’t like me and I really did not know why.  I guess I didn’t meet her requirements for being “hip.”  I didn’t handle it very well:  I just up and quit that job without warning.  I could not take her meanness any more.  

    As someone much older than you, I would advise you to get really good at something constructive.  You have to make a contribution to society.  So focus on getting good at something you really like and are passionate about.  If it’s carpentry, be a better carpenter than Jesus.  If you like math, then try to outshine Bertram Russell.  Margaret Thatcher was mocked by the popular girls but I would venture she did much better than they did.  (Rent “The Iron Lady” and see what you think.)  I myself have liked foreign languages since high school.  Right now I have a big advantage over other job applicants who do not speak Spanish or Russian like I do.  

    As part of my current job, I talk to hostile people on the phone one call after the other.  But I keep calm and unemotional by keeping the thought “PRAY FOR THEM” running through my brain constantly.  It keeps fear and anger at bay.  Maybe it could help you.

    Above all, have confidence in yourself.  All the potential in the world is right inside you each and every moment.  Feel it and act upon it.

  • a667832

     Is it possible he was just really nervous at the prospect of having to give a toast and so maybe it didn’t really have anything to do with you personally? In other words, perhaps he wasn’t trying to slight you or offend you but he was caught up in his own anxiety of having to give a speech? (Maybe that’s not the reason of course, you know him better, but maybe that’s a possibility?).

  • Negar

    I really needed to read such a post. I’m a translator and recently i’ve received very negative feedback on my translation and i feel terribly disappointed. I should start working on myself.

  • negar

    by the way, it’s really comforting to see there are many people out there, from all around the world, having the same feeling and experience as you do.

  • I’m glad this was helpful to you Negar! I also find it comforting to know so many people have been in the same place. We all deal with the same things in life, and we truly are never alone.

  • Angelina Bailey

    I am very happy to have found this article today! Just a few minutes ago, I had to deal with some very critical people who are constantly distributing negative comments my way.  I will keep this wisdom close at hand and use it often!  Thank you!!!

  • You’re most welcome Angelina. I’m glad this helped!

  • Thank you 1,000 times for this post! My sister and I were just talking about how to handle criticism, and I’m so glad to share this with her.

  • You’re most welcome! =)

  • This is nice article…Some points are really very nice..I too have my blog

    I am thinking to write something about constructive criticism. 

  • Madeyha Mukhtar

    i guess personal attack cant tolerate … y people love to critics other ?  

  • This post help me a lot… 

  • Mansoor2483

    wao…….. wonderful

  • Ashleyhaynes79

    A ingeminate I erst register that real struck interior was:
    what opposite fill guess of you is service of your performing
    Fantabulous journal! Convey you
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  • Jennabagum23

    This is exceptionally helpfully in a world where everyone has an opinion of their neighbour- thank you for sharing this x

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful!

  • Chandan

    truly thought provoking

  • danilyn joy aquino

    really nice 🙂

  • Thanks! =)

  • Tinu

    Thank you thank you, just what i have been looking for, didn’t realise what or why or how criticism affected my life… , your words teach me wisdom… the maddnes in which we indulge our minds and thoughts.

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this was helpful to you!

  • Sinbad

    I think Aristotle had the right idea. I might just live by that one. I hate being criticised…. especially when they think they know more about a subject than I do.

  • Moo7

    This was just what I needed to read today after spending the past day ruminating over some criticism that I recently received. Thank you.

  • You are most welcome. =)

  • Penny

    Thank you for your great insights! I had similar issues. I turned any critisism into an assault I had to back up. I always tried to defend my behaviour, action or whatever it was that was criticised. Fortunatley, a very good friend gave me a fair warning I won’t forget ever. It opened my eyes, so I decided to do something against it and addressed my issues to a life coach (can recommend you Your24Coach). The sessions revealed me to take criticism not as negative. Most of the criticism isn’t thought to attack you, but to give you new insights for your personal improvement. Mostly it shows that the other person cares about you. It wasn’t easy to change my attitude, but today I can listen carefully and transforme it into something valuable for my personal development. Noone loves to heare critique on his work or actions. But nobody is perfect. There’s always space for further improvement.

  • You’re most welcome Penny! It’s also helped me to remember that constructive criticism is a sign that people care. That’s wonderful you’ve been able to change your approach to receiving it. =)

  • H

    I work in Human Resources. A team leader openly insulting an employee’s intelligence is hostile, and against most companies’ policy. I would suggest you calmly and politely bring this up with HR or someone else who is equipped to deal with personnel issues. I’m sorry you have to experience someone creating such a negative environment. She is probably an unhappy individual and that is why she feel comfortable demeaning others. Anyway, talk to a leader you trust about this. It is possible that this supervisor is creating a hostile work environment for others which opens your company up to the liability of a lawsuit in the future.

  • Alice

    A lot of what you said is going to help me, I know. Thank you for sharing.

  • You’re most welcome!

  • David

    Although I’m tempted to be critical to allow you the myriad of opportunities to use the great tips and insights you’ve shared, all I can really say is AWESoME ArTICLE!

    Thank you!


  • Karma

    6. It’s helpful to learn how to sit with the discomfort of an initial emotional reaction instead of immediately acting or retaliating. All too often we want to do something with our feelings—generally not a great idea!

    I am trying to get past, working on, emotional impulsivity, or quick reactions based upon initial emotions. Any tips?

  • Hi Karma,

    I think the most helpful thing is meditation since it helps us create some mental calm, allowing space between emotions and responses.

    I wrote a post about dealing with uncomfortable feelings that you may find helpful:

    I hope this helps a little!


  • Mo

    Great article. I absolutely enjoyed the “time efficiency” part. I’m a student in architecture and I find that I tend to dwell in critisism but, if I move on from it immediately afterwards it helps. It’s also something I’m trying teach myself by keeping a journal and whatever critisicm i face , i write that down, look into it and see how to move foward from it. Challenging… But a work in progress. Thank you.

  • Good stuff and sound advice. There is nothing positive about criticism, however, the way in which you deal with it is a choice and can decide whether it is a positive experience for you or not. From my personal experience criticism arises in your sphere of perception when you stop going with the flow and are resistant to change. And as you so rightly state, it’s a signal that it’s time to examine your beliefs about yourself and perhaps push a few boundaries and re-evaluate your strategies in life. Sometimes it can mean that you are pooling your energies in the wrong place and that you should be looking elsewhere for fulfilment. Whatever the reason, it’s good to pay attention and listen to what your intuition is telling you. If your heart is not happy, you are not happy. Simple 🙂 Thank you for an enjoyable read!


  • You’re most welcome! I think there’s often something useful in criticism, even when it’s delivered poorly. Like you said, we just need to focus on how we internalize and deal with it.

  • Great words of wisdom. I leaned a lot about myself and how I react to someone who only sees their world and nothing else. If each one of us can look deeply inside and see how our reactions affect others, esp, the ones we love like family, then we can all become better people. When the least amount of words draw us into a feeling of being attacked, it;s hard to stand back and maybe, just maybe ask ourselves,WHY did that person say what they did. Then to continue and honestly look at their own actions and say, gee, maybe I was being a bit self-centered and not being selfless with my words. Only then, by truely looking at ourselves in a new light can we ever make our way out of being the way we are and to gain the wisdom that maybe our way is the not the only right way to react to a situation. We should all be able, as mature adults, agree to disagree.

  • Sarah Lafferty

    I just found this blog post after searching Google and I’m so glad I did. It has helped me immensely to put some criticism I just received on a project into perspective and take away some positives. Thank you for generously sharing your wisdom!

  • You’re most welcome Sarah. I’m glad this helped!

  • Hollywood leather jackets revi

    I think that in the future whenever I hear her demeaning someone, I will
    let her rant go in one ear and out the other because I do not even know
    whom she’s belittling.

  • Thank you for this. I received some scathing comments last night on a book I published and have been trying (and failing) not to think about it all night long. Your post is thoughtful, well-written, and very useful.

  • You’re most welcome Cris. I’ve gotten my share of criticism on my writing, so I sympathize. I hope things go well with the book going forward!

  • John

    The Bible says the fear of man shall become a snare, Worrying about the opinions of others and trying to win their approval is something most people struggle with and have to overcome in this life. The root of this problem is insecurity and not knowing who we are in this world. Criticism can break a vulnerable soul that is already wounded. The Bible says the Power of life and death is in our tongue, Careless words pierce like a sword, We have all been wounded by peoples words and we have all wounded people our with words. We have the power to bless and curse

    That old saying sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me is simply not true. People destroy others with their words everyday, We live in a world where others Maliciously cast slur on others trying to destroy them with their tongues all the time

    Most peoples favorite past time is talking about people, gossiping slandering and lying about others. We can build be up with our words and we can tear them down

  • Thanks so much Windy. I’m glad this was helpful to you!

  • ag

    brilliant brilliant brilliant

  • Thanks so much. =)

  • Emma Bain

    I wish it was that easy for me but these days people give criticism in bad way, they do it when i didn’t even ask for it and quite honestly i don’t even know how to tell them without feeling quite annoying at it and a lot of the time i get so angry at it i just fly off the hook and nobody wants to talk to me for the rest of the day or 2, you can’t blame me though i get people constantly doing it and even if i tried to tell them i don’t want nor asked for it they would take it personally then just attack me, that there is one of the reasons i get so pee’oed about it.

    Criticism is how people try to control others and make them change themselves to how they expect, i always get people saying “Your just not very good at criticism” no i’m not when i can see people are constantly only saying that to try and twist my thoughts into giving up my own self-belief to please their every whim and try to be who they expect all the time, it is a tool for manipulation, criticism isn’t to be taken lightly any more.

    The things that people mostly do is on my weight (something i can’t help because i ain’t got the drive to do it on my own i need a personal trainer to help BUT i don’t have the money for it and i can’t get a job to get money), i don’t want any criticism about why ether, i just get really bored doing things on my own lately is all. What i hate about it is right now i really don’t have much going on in my life as everything is super hard and were all having money and job issues but even when there is nothing going on people still find something to pick at and think it’s ok to constantly criticize, what even for? they treat it like it’s all my fault, i didn’t ask for all this bull were dealing with right now i didn’t create it because i am always a responsible person and i think about others around me so i’m not a bad influence ether like most are.

    So what is the criticism for?, just to probably make me feel really angry and crap about myself probably because they do, that’s the only time i criticized really is when they want to cover up their own insecurities, a lot of the time they criticize about things that are not actually there lol. just be careful when dealing with it because 99% of the time people only do it to make you feel insecure about yourself, they got so used to living the way they have these days with their fake tan, dyed hair, tight pants, cheesy sun glasses that they ciritize us for not doing it and think were negative and not positive about our lives just because we don’t, be careful about other things too.

  • Lucy

    I teach dance. Is there a printable version of this?

  • Hi Lucy,

    At the present time, there isn’t any way to print a post without printing the whole page it’s on. I’m going to look into some way to make the whole site more print-friendly!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post. =)


  • CL

    Thanks for the advice! I just received some critique on a paper of mine and I was feeling a bit down in the dumps.This helped lol.

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped!

  • scol

    Great article. It is hard to accept criticism especially from people who themselves don’t take criticism well. When we were all imperfect should we really point out other people’s flaws?

  • Lottie

    it was time to turn in my paper so I did when I handed my paper the instructor yankes the paper (have no idea why..Maybe she’s like that) but I noticed it, which cause my reaction to be “really? You yanked my paper..” But did not show it. I’m what you called “the quiet girl” So there I am waiting for the bell to ring and I noticed my instructor was showing one of the co workers a paper and they were laughing at it and then comes another co worker and she also shows her and laughs at it. I have no way of knowing who the paper belong to know but I feel that they were laughing at my paper. Still waiting for the bell to ring I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it and what I was feeling. My broken feelings got to me, making me hope that the instructor and coworkers were laughing about someone else’s paper. Bringing the past of high school how I was bullied my a group of girls by there smirks and stares.

    Well…I feel slightly better, it’s out I didn’t want to tell my friend or my sister or my parents

    I just don’t like the part of me when people talk about me It immediately turns to: I had a bad day

  • maria

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  • kavin paker

    This post and the comments have helped me tremendously in deciding what’s right for me.
    Munchen Flughafen

  • Jane

    Finally someone who knows how I feel. People are always entitled to “save you”. And it’s always damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When I open up, I’m seen as angry. If I don’t express my feelings to them I’m repressed. You’re not allowed to feel but you’re not allowed to keep anything private. I’m bad for having feelings but if I’m indifferent then I’m uncaring and evil.

  • birdwithnowings

    Thank you so much for writing about this topic. I feel so much better.

  • Tia Morrison

    That is an excellent concept.

  • I am reminded of one of Brené Brown’s favorite quotes, from Teddy Roosvelet’s Sorbonne speech: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

  • cc

    I think feedback and criticism are different and the terms were used interchangeably in this article.

  • cc

    Feedback is meant to construct and will see both the positive and the negative in the situation, and will be more in balance. Criticism is meant to destruct, and usually makes the person giving it feel better by either venting or projecting. I find it is rarely meant to give the other person insight, thereby improving or changing their behavior, and it often accomplishes the opposite.

  • janet reno

    ok but girl friend has rent to pay —

  • I think perhaps the feedback you’re referring to could also be called “constructive criticism.” It’s definitely different than destructive criticism, though there was a time when it all felt destructive to me because my self-esteem was so fragile. Even if there was a kind intent, it was hard for me to accept the insight, since I felt the implication was that I somehow failed or was inadequate.

    One thing I’ve learned is that I can never know someone else’s intention, so all I can do is look for pieces that can benefit me and strive not to take the rest personally. Certainly easier said than done, but I work at it!

  • This spoke to me so much! Every time I think I’ve become okay with criticism it rears its head again. But at least I can now recognize that the times I get reactive also coincide with when I’m already having bad days and be aware of that in the future. I do think what everyone needs to be taught though is to always pair criticism with a kind word. The only people I flare up at are the ones that are only ever critical.

  • I’m glad this spoke to you! And I absolutely agree. The world would be a far better place if criticism was always constructive, and always came with kindness and compassion.

  • K DC

    I recently got some pretty harsh feedback from my job, which basically amounts to your personality is a problem, stop it. Admittedly, that’s totally unfair. But I am expected to somehow show some kind of improvement in the face of non-specific unfair criticism. And I’ve had 5 managers at this company over 6.5 years. Suddenly, I am a problem.

    Now, I feel paralyzed and unable to do my job, because everything will come from my personality and I apparently suck. Yeah, it’s an overreaction, but I asked repeatedly for specificity which was not provided. I can’t even think about it without crying, because I can’t see a path or anything constructive. The only thing that I can see to do is to withdraw from anything resembling sociability, since I am so objectionable.

  • MountainWoman

    I found in this article that regardless of the critics motives (I am faced with a controlling always right and somewhat a emotionally abusive lover ( I make the choice to stay)) I can apply the contents of this reading. If I stay focused on “what I do with it” and leave her out of the post criticism effect. I gets old on some days yet it propels my compassion for someone that brilliant to have to cut at me to make herself feel better. Funny. I like to think I am big enough to rise above yet there are those days I want to lash back.
    Tis a constant practice.

  • MountainWoman

    Well I posted in the wrong place. Oh well.
    I find a great deal of value in you posting as well.
    Thank you.

  • marcel

    My employer is a female and I am a male and she tells me I am a wholly and dense and too sensitive it hurts badly, but she is a good person with 3 kids to support on her own and a big mortgage to pay off, I know she is the one with the problem so I have to walk away.

  • Harry Lilly

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  • Greg Paul

    Thank you Lori

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Ken Starr

    I disagree, criticism is destructive and feedback is constructive. Then it all depends on who the person/people is/are.

  • Arnab Kumar

    I am here to share my experience with Mansi Literature Academy which really taught me the practical way of handling the criticism. I was a man with low self esteem and when criticized I always took it in a negative way. But spending 5 months with Mansi Literature Academy under the guidance of Miss Mansi Arora my perspective towards criticism has totally changed. Now I enjoy being criticized for my work as I know by curing the true criticism it will only result in development of me.
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  • Ellen

    I have been around people who always criticized me my whole life. People were always judging me that I do things wrong or I am not good enough. Being young and naive, I didn’t know how to handle any criticism from people. Very rarely, when people criticized me, they never gave me any input or insight on how I could or how they think I should do things better. So, today, if someone were to criticize me, I would ask them why they think that this is wrong or how would they do it. In the past, I have also found that some people criticize just to hear themselves talk, they don’t even know the first thing about what they are talking about. I know that I am over-sensitive and probably sound like I am complaining, but if someone does wish to criticize me, they should do it constructively, and be supportive. Don’t do it to just knock me down. There is a Chinese Proverb that I found on the internet a while back that goes, “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”

  • everson

    The best way to silence your enemies or any other person who looks down upon you is through self improvement, be very good at what you do i.e. at work, and secretly study hard like a demon…WHAT ABOUT IF THE COMPANY YOU ARE WORKING FOR INTERNALLY ADVERTISES FOR POSITIONS YOU HAVE BEEN BUSY STUDYING FOR AND THAT OTHER ENEMY IS NOT. Always keep this in mind NOTHING KEEPS AN EXPERT DOWN WHATSOEVER:

  • Chantel DaCosta

    I needed this today Lori. Thank you.

  • You’re most welcome, Chantel. 🙂

  • Lina

    Do you have podcasts?

  • Gregory_Sadler

    It’s an interesting list. There’s quite a few great ideas in there.

    The passage you start with is definitely not from Aristotle. It’s perhaps one of the most commonly misattributed quotes. It appears to derive originally from an 1898 book by Elbert Hubbard, Little Journeys to the Homes of American Statesmen.

    That’s one of those passages that, as someone who works on Aristotle, I kept seeing popping up, and knew I hadn’t seen it anywhere in his works (nor is it something Aristotle would likely have said). Epictetus perhaps, but not Aristotle.. . .