Criticisms or How to not take things personally

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It is never easy to hear someone criticize your work or ideas.

As we interact with various people every day: from our colleagues to our family and friends, we may discover many different characters. Even though we strive to maintain good relationships with our peers, we might come across difficult situations. And sometimes it can be difficult to deal with criticisms.

The challenge for each of us is to adapt to the other person’s character in order to respond to a particular situation without getting too emotional, and being able to put things in perspective.

We often look up to others to feel recognized, encouraged and loved, and can easily be hurt when these people are being judgemental to us.

But here is what you can do to avoid taking things too personally:

  • Assess the relationship that you have with the person in front of you. Is it in your interest to maintain a good relationship with him/her? Is it worth challenging him/her? What will be the consequences?
  • Put yourself in that person’s shoes. What is she trying to tell you? Is she being aggressive? Does she behave the same way with others?

I often believe that when someone is being mean, it is because he or she feels miserable. So try to be attentive to how this person is feeling.

  • Don’t react too quickly. It is not worth interpreting too quickly someone’s worlds and think they are directed at you. Try to take a deep breath and put a distance with your first perception of the situation. Remember that it is never a good thing to explode with anger at work…even though you still have to make yourself clear.
  • Ask for clarification. When you are ready to react, and you have put your emotions aside, be factual and assess as clearly as possible what the other person wants from you. If you feel that she has crossed a line, do not hesitate to tell her how you feel, politely but with confidence. This will remove the feeling you may have got of being a victim.
  • Conclude peacefully. Agree with the other person on the next steps. If the other person hasn’t come down, do not be afraid to tell her that there is no point fighting, and that you can escalate the issue in order to solve it peacefully and fairly.

Remember that communication is key…do not keep hurtful feelings for yourself. Take a step back, and when you feel like it, go talk peacefully to the person who confronted you in the first place. They will likely be impressed by your calm and intelligence…. So just be confident, and you will be able to deal with this difficult situation and learn from it!

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