6 Tips For Navigating Criticism (Episode 146)
How are you with navigating criticism? Do you immediately go on the defensive or take it as a blast to your fragile ego? In this podcast episode and below, we go over six key tips for handling criticism, toxicity, and fragile egos.
6 Tips for Handling Criticism - as the giver or receiver!
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Back in episode 107 we talked about life skills and dealing with the critics. Criticism is a part of life.
Gretchen Rubin had some great pointers on how to navigate criticism - how to give it constructively as well as how to recognize when it's toxic.
"I also remind myself that criticism should help us do better what we want to do, and to be more wholly ourselves, and criticism that doesn't serve those goals isn't helpful."
What is the difference between criticism and advice? Is criticism just "opinionated advice"?
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Where are we this week?
We're staying put down here in Fort Gaines, Georgia, going through memorabilia from Nathan's childhood and enjoying a gorgeous lake house view.
Ironically, this doesn't mean my pictures have slowed down - I have 11 drafts ready to roll! And I'm taking some time to reflect and share a few more insights into our family, so if you want an inside scoop, follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
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Boy have we grown in this life together! My senior year of high school our small private school class opted to give EVERYONE a senior superlative. What was mine, as the one vegetarian in my school? Why, most likely to marry a hunter, of course. Oh the irony. Marry one I did. And in that first year of our marriage, we spent so much time getting to know and understand one another. I learned to stalk and “hunt”...yet we traded the gun for a camera, and on the weekends we’d creep around the Smokies “shooting” the most incredible pictures of animals we’d sneak up on! It helped me to get a bit more understanding on “the thrill of the hunt”. And Nathan looked hard at what his purpose or need was for hunting. And little by little, we’ve both grown and changed so much in our marriage. Who would have thought that this southern boy hunter would have turned manbun hippie vegan raising three girls. Or that my ultra conservative and traditional viewpoints would have shifted to me being the working parent while he’s more Suzy Homemaker. 😜🤣 I’m so grateful for our growth together. We were young - 19 & 20 when we met - and in our finding ourselves, we also found the support of the other. Last night as we were talking, I thanked him for pushing me in my independence like he has. I am so thankful for the support we have for one another to walk through this life together while letting each of our lights shine on their own. It’s a synergy that fuels us both to continue growing, together and individually. Fun fact...Nathan is 364 days older than I am. For one day, we share the same age. And what month? Oh, we’re Gemini’s, of course! Our bond has always been a bit twin-like (minus the sibling part)!
#1: Listen To What The Critic Is Saying
Really listen and try to understand. So often we aren't listening; we're waiting. We've come to our own assumptions and conclusions as to what is going on, and we're formulating our response/rebuttal vs. truly hearing.
Can you silence your response until you fully hear theirs? Can you listen with no agenda?
If you are the critic, think long and hard about the end goal. Is this feedback that will help this person? Crush them? Is this the right timing? Have you earned the right to say anything? Was it asked for, or is it truly necessary?
#2: Don't Get Defensive
Before you get your panties in a wad defending yourself, listen with an open mind. It goes back to the first step - seek to understand. Keep that as your mantra if you feel these feelings rising - seek to understand, don't be defensive, seek to understand, don't be defensive...
And if you are the critic, be careful about attacking. Remember what your intention is here. Sometimes we can get so frustrated with someone that we start to grind our ideas into them as the solution, and that oftentimes has the exact opposite effect of what we wanted.
Ask a lot of questions. Don't jump to conclusions. Don't "listen" while building your response. Just listen and learn.
#3: Don't Expose Yourself To Criticism From People You Don't Respect
You can respond how you wish for unsolicited criticism. You didn't ask for it, the person may have not earned the right to say anything, and it may not be a person who's opinion you even value.
The criticism of some people doesn't have to impact you.
Don't give it if you haven't earned the right. And pay attention to what the word "criticism" feels like. What are you really looking for - and what are you really giving? Is it a critique or feedback?
#4: Delay Your Reaction
Take a deep breath. Sit on it for a bit. Think through the ultimate goal and what you really want them to understand. At the very least, count to seven.
Allow for space to process. If you are really emotionally charged, maybe it's best to take a breather and walk away for a bit. Maybe you need to sleep on your response before you retaliate.
Don't avoid and not respond. Commit to following through if it's needed. (And go back to #3 and ensure a response is needed and that this interaction is worth your time and energy). But following through when heightened emotions have had a moment for more clarity may be a much healthier option.
#5: Admit Your Mistakes
Gretchen Rubin shared, "My father gave me an outstanding piece of advice when I got my first real job. He said, 'If you take the blame when you deserve it, you’ll get the responsibility.'"
Own up to your faults. Acknowledge your own growth. In recognizing our flaws, we have the opportunity to work on them. Foster a growth mindset in yourself...which means learning from your mistakes. That first step is owning them.
When you admit your mistakes, you show your humanness.
#6: Enjoy The Fun of Failure
This goes back to a growth mindset again. What can you learn from this experience? What does it make possible? How can this act as a stepping stone of insights to grow and gain experience from? Navigating criticism is important - it's not going to go away, and you can't always control it. But...you can control its effect on you!
Some additional resources for you
- Life Skills and Dealing with the Critics (Episode 107)
- 6 Tips For Navigating Criticism by Gretchen Rubin
- How to Eliminate Toxicity and Thrive with Organic Relationships
- Are Your Relationships Organic…or Toxic?
- Toxic Mama, Toxic Home: How To Reduce Reaction And Give Your Children Wings
- TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM (EPISODE 57)
- 5 Tips for Difficult Conversations You Want to Avoid (Episode 82)
- When Routines Are Off And Expectations Are High (Episode 83)
- Here Come The Holidays…and the Relationship Drama (Episode 27)
- Bonus Parents, Step Parents, and Blended Families
- 7 Seconds will change your communication and connection (Episode 62)
Your Weekly Challenge:
Reflect on your own growth opportunities in your life. Share those moments with your children.
Step into the shoes of the person you're talking to - as the giver and receiver. Seek to understand. Don't be defensive. Earn the right. Think things through. Admit your mistakes.
What growth opportunity can you find in this?
A synergy of people pushing for growth and better connections is exactly how we can identify how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.
Questions or comments?
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, minimalism or travel - what is pressing on your mind?
Or, hop on over to the Mama Says Namaste or Unschooling Families FB groups and ask your question there!