Hey writer, do you know that criticism can be good for you? It’s actually true, and today I’m here to tell you why.
“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather
be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
– Norman Vincent Peale –
In this ongoing series, I have already mentioned how criticism can be a destructive, punitive, and even alienating experience. When you feel like you’ve been struck down by harsh, unfeeling words, and you’re struggling to draw breath and walk with your head held high, it’s hard to believe any good could ever come out of such a barbaric practice. That it could even be healthy. And that would of course be true, but it isn’t the whole truth.
Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely possible to give and receive critique in ways that are kind, considerate, healthy and supportive. It’s not about what you say, but how you say it. The delivery.
GOOD REASONS TO DISH IT OUT
A rose by any other name is still a rose, and I suppose the same can be said about criticism. However, just by changing the name and calling it feedback, you can change the negative connotations of guilt and shame that criticism tends to evoke.
Critique bad, feedback good. We’re used to thinking of feedback as something that can be good or bad. More importantly, we’re used to thinking of feedback as information, and information can be good, bad, useful, useless, positive, negative etc. You just don’t know before you’ve heard or seen it, but it doesn’t make you feel sick to know you’re about to get some information. Right?
Well, this is information we can make use of. If we call it feedback, and focus on how to deliver it in a helpful way, even rather scathing information can be helpful to the recipient. And to you if you’re the one who has to dish it out.
Some good reasons to take on that role, and to learn how to do it well are that you’re:
– Helping someone else grow and improve (something), or
– Stopping someone’s destructive behaviour.
If your criticism comes from a good place and is delivered with care and respect for the recipient, it can help them grow as a person, get better at something and/or improve a certain situation. Other things that may help can be pointing out safety issues, remedying a problem, or offering a solution.
Even when the feedback is critical of a person, situation, behaviour, or practice, it should still be delivered as a service to the person being criticised. And of course, context matters. No one wants you to randomly barge in and start dishing out feedback, no matter how well-meaning it may be. But we’ve already discussed what gives someone the right to tell you what they think about you and/or your books.
GOOD REASONS TO TAKE IT ON BOARD
When you’re on the receiving end of the criticism, you don’t get a say in what it’s called or how it’s delivered. That doesn’t mean that you have no control of the situation, though. Only you control you, and, if you think about it, knowing that something good may come out of the critique is a good enough reason to work on that control. To learn how to take it on board.
Looking for benefits, apart from the two we’ve already discussed above, the two that stick out the most to me are that it can:
– Help you prevent loss or embarrassment, and/or
– Lead to increased self-awareness
If the criticism helps you prevent loss or embarrassment – that is a good thing. No matter how it was delivered. If you’re doing something, seeing someone, or have landed yourself in a situation that doesn’t serve you, for someone to step up and let you know is a kindness. If the house is on fire it’s better to be told twice than not at all.
The fact that it may help you become more self-aware is another huge bonus. Sometimes, seeing ourselves through someone else’s lens can be an interesting experience. It may give us cause to reflect and reconsider, and it may even make us (more) aware of the impact we have on other people.
Criticism delivered by people you trust, people you know have your best interest at heart, is always worth taking on board. But the same may be true when the sender is a stranger, and that’s why we need to learn to tell the difference between critique that serves us and critique that doesn’t.
Hearing tough truths is good for us. Being the kind of person who can deliver them gives you a chance to make a difference in other people’s lives. Learning how to listen to them gives you a chance to make a difference in yours. No matter how you look at it, that’s a win – win in my books.
Questions of the Day:
– Have you experienced any benefits from taking criticism on board?
– Have you experienced any benefits from being the one who’s dishing it out?
Please, slide into the comments below and let’s talk. Thank you very much for the visit. I hope you enjoyed your stay and look forward to seeing you again.
Evalena Styf is a knowsy roll model and prolific content creator who lives in a queen size bed in the outskirts of London, UK, with a doggo, two cats and a personal assistant.
After 25+ years of anonymous blogging on a number of free platforms, she decided to go pro in 2017. Since then, she’s been working on getting all of her texts edited and put on display in the imaginary pirate ship she’s named after one of her most prominent character traits: The Resilience.
Evalena primarily writes non-fictional texts about personal and professional development, living the dream, and how to keep on living and loving when everything around you seems to be falling apart.