Is anyone good at taking criticism? I feel like any time I hear anybody talking about criticism, they’re talking about how they’re struggling to be better at taking it. E-criticism is worse than out-loud criticism, I think. You can read it over and over again, hearing the person’s voice getting snarkier and snarkier each time and before you know it, you’ve allowed their snarky comments to ruin your entire evening. I say “you’ve allowed it” because in my mind, I also hear a voice that says I’m only bothered by things that I allow to bother me. But it’s so difficult not to let it bother me. Criticism is very bothering! “It’s necessary though!” says another voice in my head… “Painful, but necessary.” I think that voice might be Sheryl Sandberg since I’m reading Lean In this week.
But anyway… my first (bad) impulse when I get criticism is to defend myself. I’ve been actively trying to stop and breathe before responding. Sometimes I decide that I don’t need to respond- especially to e-criticism. I then have to sit in silence with the sinky-ness and deflation and other icky feelings. In that silence, my goal is to breathe those feelings away and try to get some perspective on the situation. I’ll ask myself, “What would Sheryl Sandberg do?” Then I’ll decide it’s one of those “opportunities for growth” I keep hearing about. Maybe it will work this time.