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Learning to Accept Personal Criticism

Learning to Accept Personal Criticism

This is an interesting post for me to write because, like most people, I don’t accept criticism well. But I’m learning. Obviously nobody is perfect. I’m not perfect, but I don’t like other people knowing about my mistakes or shortcomings. I especially don’t like them bringing my failings to my attention or acknowledging them at all. I am inherently a people pleaser. But I’m working on it. And I’ve gotten better. Stepping into my newest position as an admin assistant working so closely to the owner of the company who is very forthcoming about his expectations of me. When those expectations aren’t met, he tells me. Here is what I’ve gathered so far while learning to accept personal criticism.


  1. Know that there will always be criticism. 

Like I said before, nobody is perfect. Because nobody is perfect, there will always be criticism. It could come from a peer or a boss at work. It could even come from a loved one. In most cases, it will be constructive. If you are lucky enough to be exclusively surrounded by people who only want the best for you, it will always be constructive. But sometimes it won’t be and it will be up to you to turn it into something you can use and prosper from.

2. Take a step back.

When you first hear criticism it is almost a reflex to step up to it and become defensive. It’s counterintuitive, but take a step back. Put some space between yourself and the negative comment that was just made. Don’t react until you’ve taken some time to assess what just happened. If you’re in a work situation, make sure your face hasn’t skewed to match your feelings. (I’m so guilty of this.) It’s important to keep a straight face and remain professional. Even in a social situation, relax, gain your composure and move on.

3. Absorb the criticism.

Really listen to what your critic is saying, and really listen to what they’re saying. Make sure to take in the context in which they’re saying it. Their influencers can give a lot of answers to why they’re making the criticism. Is it a stressful day at work? Are they just having a bad day? Or is something legitimately weighing on them? Also take into account who your critic is. The people you have known longer and respect more are going to have more of an impact on your reaction.

4. Reflect.

Take the time to look inside yourself before you respond to the criticism. You know yourself better than anyone. Is what they’re saying true? Be honest with yourself. Is it something you’re working on? Should you be working on it? Or are they just being sensitive? Not all criticism is going to be helpful. They may just be petty. But this is when you decide. Take this as an opportunity to grow. This is the most cathartic when you’ve had a chance to cool down, and you’re not so emotionally charged.

5. Make changes.

Now is your chance to act on all of your self reflection. If you realized that the criticism is something that really needs to change, now is your chance to change it. Use this opportunity as a wake up call. If you decided this criticism was completely uncalled for, reevaluate that person’s role in your life. You definitely don’t need unnecessary criticism in your life.


It’s a long and hard path to learning to accept personal criticism. But it’s absolutely something everyone should know how to do. Whether it be professionally or personally, you are always going to come across things that you’re not good at. And that’s okay. You’re okay. Everything is okay. (I literally chant this to myself multiple times a day. It actually helps.) You will become a better person if you can take those criticisms and and grow from them. Now go forth and be the best person you can possibly be.

Next thoughts post will be learning to accept creative criticism.

|| the chaotic creative