Who says accepting constructive criticism is always okay?
Everybody must have experienced having a rough week — may it be at work or at school. For me, it was last week. After writing a report from scratch and continuous revisions, it’s still not enough. Consumed by exhaustion and tiredness, I felt lost, dumb, and disappointed in myself to the point that I just want to quit, not just rest.
Accepting criticisms will put you in a threatening position. It will make you doubt yourself. It will make you question your worth. It will give you nightmares and dark thoughts.
Being humans, we are made to feel how special we are, with our inborn talents and skills.
We might be used to receiving praise for how good or smart we are. Little did we know that these praises do more harm than good. Why? Because these praises made us believe that being smart, talented, and skillful takes no effort. That one is born, not made.
In reality, it’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest. Because it takes time, passion, toil, and training to become better in what we do.
Some people might be born as genius or protégés but without a nurturing environment, they might not be able to achieve their maximum potential. Take note that it’s “nurturing”, not protecting because when you nurture someone or something, you expose them to growth. And how could they achieve growth? By constantly reminding them that it’s okay to do something out of your comfort zone, failing multiple times, and learning from these mistakes.
How can we then overcome criticisms? Shift your mindset.
If you believe that criticisms might taint your image, hurt, and even define you, you might have a fixed mindset. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.”
While it’s important to acknowledge that what you feel is important and valid, you must shift your mind to understand what good can you get from these criticisms or feedback. It’s embracing failures and learning how to bounce back. It’s loving challenges and learning how to resolve them.
So, whenever you make a decision for yourself, ask yourself, “What did I (or can I) learn from my experience? How can I use it as a basis for growth?”
Shifting your mindset to a growth mindset means learning how to face your problems, dealing with them, and learning from them.
At the end of the day, remember that you can control your emotions and your mindset. You are more than capable of doing things you’re afraid of doing.
You might ask, what did I do after my “tough week”? I acknowledge my emotions and even cried to a friend. After resting, I bounce back and tried my best to improve my output by researching and consulting with other people. I take this opportunity to fully embrace failures and challenges.
I know that this last week does not define me but it molds me to become a better person and a leader.
I hope that whenever you receive criticisms, you’ll also learn how to take them as a challenge.