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Self Management: Handling Criticism and Judgement with Grace

19 Sep 2015   Shanti Gowans

Criticism is a part of life. Unfortunately, the more significant your accomplishments, the more criticism you will find yourself face. Unless you plan to hide in your house 24/7, you a're going to have to deal with critical people and being judged. But make no mistake, even if you stay at home, you are still going to be criticised; you just may not know about it. 

Learn to embrace with criticism with grace, and your life will be a lot easier. It will also be easier to be successful. Since you are going to be criticised no matter what, it would be a good idea to think about how you will handle critics and what they say about you.

Here are some suggestions:

Take a deep breath
You may have noticed, time and again, how much easier it is to see something objectively when you're not emotionally involved. This is why it's frequently easier to see solutions to our friends' challenges than our own. So take a moment and get as calm as you can before you respond to criticism.

Learning to calm yourself is a skill that you can strengthen with practices such as meditation and yoga relaxation. Learning how to stay calm in your daily life situations will help you to stay calm in more emotionally intense moments.

Is it possible that this criticism is legitimate?

Once you have calmed down to a good place mentally, ask yourself if they might have a legitimate criticism. No one is perfect, so it is natural to be wrong about some things.

Be grateful

Simply thank your critic for the critique. After all, they could've done a lot of other things with their time but they chose to spend it on you. It really is a compliment if you think about it. It is also the best way to disarm your critics. 

Move on

Regardless of whether the criticism was accurate or not, you should just move on. After you've gained whatever you can from the interaction, simply let it go. Focus on your next task; avoid wasting time looking backwards.

If the criticism was warranted, figure out a better way to do things the next time. It might take some time, but it is worth your while to ensure that you don't make the same mistakes again. Once you have an improved course of action for next time, get on with the rest of your life.

If, after contemplating the criticism you determine they are incorrect, then simply forget it and move on. There is no reason to dwell on it any longer than it takes to determine if there is any validity to it.

Observe the most successful people you know and notice how they make it a habit to move on quickly. After all, they have more important things to do. And so must you.

Positive reinforcement

Each time you receive criticism and handle it appropriately, take the time to congratulate yourself. Any behaviour that is rewarded is more likely to occur again in the future. Be proud that you had so much control over yourself and were even possibly able to gain something positive from the experience.

Use these suggestions to handle criticism with grace. After you've calmly considered the criticism, you are free to either adjust what you are doing, or simply dismiss it. Then, you can let it go and move right on to the next phase in your life. Remember to reward yourself afterwards! All of us must face criticism from a variety of sources on a regular basis. It's challenging to receive criticism gracefully, but there is an opportunity to gain something from it and learn what you can from the interaction.

Choicest blessings and namaste.


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

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