Wouldn’t it be great if everybody in your circle praised you and never found fault? Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the real world, and discouraging words are even spoken around many peoples’ homes. How can you deal with negative feedback and keep your dignity?
Do you have a friend or loved one who is a people pleaser and doesn’t want to offend? They will often say what they think you want them to say and won’t offer their honest opinion. The truth can hurt, and it takes a genuine person to give an unbiased view, even if you don’t like it.
Everyone is under constant scrutiny by family, friends, and society. Often, criticism is unwarranted and comes from mean-spirited people. They give blunt, rude comments that are meant to hurt and hinder.
However, constructive criticism from genuine friends is meant to help you make necessary changes. A verse in the book of Proverbs explains that wounds from a friend are faithful. In other words, criticism may hurt, but sincere friends talk to you in love and for the right reasons.
Criticism in Your Love Relationship
In the arms of your significant other, you find sanctuary and acceptance. You are vulnerable and speak your heart without fear or intimidation. As with the wounds of a friend, your person may need to draw your attention to flaws and mistakes.
People in loving relationships know each other’s hearts and intentions. If they mention an issue causing them worry or grief, they know you want to fix it. Try not to take it as a personal assault and try to shift the blame to them.
It’s a two-way street, and sometimes lovers will quarrel and voice unfair criticism. However, couples in lasting relationships have learned to tell the difference between angry words and constructive criticism. No relationship is perfect, and it’s a beautiful journey of discovery and growth.
Professional Critiques and Negative Feedback
A review of your job performance is one of the most frequent examples of negative feedback.
To measure employee performance and improvement, most companies conduct periodic reviews. You probably have job performance reviews with your boss quarterly or annually. The supervisor uses these reviews as a tool to evaluate your contribution to the company and address any shortcomings.
Most people feel nervous during these evaluation meetings because they don’t want to hear anything negative. Also, your job performance marks can make a difference in your salary.
Although you strive for the highest marks and outstanding comments, it’s not realistic. Such reviews wouldn’t highlight your strengths and weaknesses, and you’d have no benchmark for growth. You’d have no initiative to work harder and make higher goals unless you know what to correct.
Negative comments are a necessary pain on your job performance review. Your supervisor may also take you aside anytime during the workday to point out errors. How you respond can make the difference between the boss seeing you as a teachable employee or someone who is noncompliant.
You’ll encounter many similar negative feedback examples in life, and yes. They all hurt to hear.
Ten Ways to Accept Negative Feedback
Whether you receive constructive criticism at home or work, you decide how it affects you. It takes personal skill and maturity to turn these negative comments into a learning tool. Here are ten tips to consider when you receive criticism.
1. Step Back from the Negative Feedback for a Couple Seconds
When someone criticizes you, it’s a natural response to lash out in self-defense immediately. It can happen at home or work during a performance review. Remember that your words and actions are more effective when you pause before you speak.
Instead of blasting the person giving you constructive criticism, try to hear them out. Take a breath and consider what you’ve heard. It will provide you with enough time to respond to the complaint calmly and rationally.
2. Reflect on the Negative Comments
You may not completely understand a critique someone gives you because it pushes lots of emotional buttons in your mind. You’re often ready to go into a heated discussion without knowing the other person’s points and intentions. Even though it’s hard, try to be an active listener.
After you’ve heard the criticisms and paused for reflection, ask the person to clarify their points with examples. For instance, if they think you didn’t put forth your best effort, ask them how they came to that conclusion. If they are armed with objective evidence, you may understand why they criticized you.
3. Avoid Diving Into Defensive Mode
Dr. Ellen Hendriksen published an article on Psychology Today that discusses using defensiveness as a way to protect your character and competence. It involves a lot of intense emotion, especially anger. However, Dr. Hendriksen warns that it can backfire on you if you get defensive when facing negative feedback.
4. Hold Your Temper When You Receive Negative Feedback
How many times have you had an explosive reaction to a person and later regretted it? An angry, defensive mode can hurt your personal and professional life. It can put distance between you and your supervisor, coworkers, or your mate. Such tantrums make you look immature and unstable.
5. Find the Positive in the Negative Feedback
When people critique your words, actions, or accomplishments, it can automatically give you tunnel vision. All you can hear is the negativity, and you’re oblivious to any positive points within the discussion. Psychologists call this phenomenon the negativity bias.
A study published in the Psychological Bulletin by Amrisha Vaish explains negativity bias as your tendency to be affected by negative things more so than positive ones. While psychological experts believe that this bias is developed from childhood to adult, there’s much information that’s still unknown.
6. What’s Their Motive?
One way that can help you through negative bias is to consider the other person’s motive. Is your boss, partner, or friend offering negative feedback to be cruel, or are they trying to help you? Understanding their concerns and motivations will reveal some of the positive messages within the criticisms.
7. What’s the Next Step?
You’ve listened intently to your performance being critiqued, and you’ve paused to reflect on the speaker’s words and intentions. Perhaps you’ve gleaned some positive notes in the criticism. You did a good job staying calm and collected, and now it’s your turn to speak.
Try asking the other person some essential questions that show you listened and want to improve. Questions like “What are your suggestions for improvement?” or “What are my goals for doing this task more efficiently?” Those who have your best interests at heart want you to succeed and do what they can to help.
8. Ask for Some Time to Collect Your Thoughts
If you’ve received negative feedback during a job performance review, good managers won’t demand that you respond immediately. It’s okay to request time to review and reflect on the conversation and any negative points. Not only does it prevent you from being impulsive, but it shows the other person that you’re taking it seriously.
Hearing negative feedback from your partner or a friend is a bit more complicated. However, the same principles apply, and you’re wise to take time to reflect on the conversation before you respond. Your thoughts will have more clarity and won’t be as clouded by emotions.
9. Make an Action Plan
Of course, there may be some points in the negative feedback that were miscommunicated or invalid. These are things you can discuss during your response. Remember to be calm and professional and not argumentative.
Ask pertinent questions, and request that your supervisor helps you draft an action plan. On one side of the paper, the negative feedback is outlined point by point. Now, go to the right sight and describe how you’ll remedy the challenge and the timeline. Put a positive slant to it and call it your goal.
You can do the same thing at home with your family. If you have some personal habits that you must change, make a reasonable action plan. When you can visualize your goals, it may be easier to make positive changes and avoid negative thinking.
The boss is allowing you to recognize your weak areas and improve them. As you mark off each completed goal, you have positive actions identified in your following review. Making and completing an action plan takes determination.
10. Go Forward
Most professional job performance reviews outline challenges, goals, and how much time you must implement them. When you’ve worked hard and thought you did your best, any negative feedback can feel like a slap in your face. These stinging critiques may linger in your mind and cause you to harbor resentment.
Even after you’ve reached your goals for improvement, you may still have a grudge against your boss. Try to use the critique as a learning curve and put any resentments behind you. You’ve listened, made changes, and have grown professionally. Take these lessons and move on.
Are you still vexed that your partner or friend called you out on a shortcoming? Instead of shifting the blame, own your mistakes and try to fix them. Apologize, make amends, and let these criticisms make you a better person.
Final Thoughts on Using Negative Feedback to Your Advantage
If your world were all sunshine, you wouldn’t have the rain to nourish and sustain life. Likewise, it would help if you had a balance of positivity and negativity to learn and progress personally and professionally. As you change for the better and learn from your mistakes, you find the rainbow in the showers.