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Criticism may come in the harshest form, some we even cry about at night. Other times it comes from persons who we may not be fond of. But, is it possible for us to focus on the message and not the messenger? Is it possible for us to find value in what was said and use it as a booster that will make us one step closer to success? Is it viable to accept criticism? Is it feasible for us to maintain self-control whilst being criticized?
Being the better and bigger person is indeed easier said than done; it also takes more strength to not react rather than to. You feel better when you don’t give in to these pressures. There are times when people push you to your limit and you feel an overwhelming cloud come over you. I’ve seen situations where people cry because they cannot answer in the way they’d like to. Before I highlight a few ways in which we can keep our cool during criticism, I’d like to commend all those individuals who are trying their best to maintain a positive outlook and composure when things aren’t going their way. You truly are an epitome of strength and someone to be looked up to for your self-control and mildness.
Let’s get into the juicy highlights:
- Count to ten – My parents always told me to count to ten whenever people attack me. Even though I could not see anything but anger during the moment, every number following the other normally takes me one step farther from retaliating in a way I’d probably regret. Even now whilst in my adult years especially during work and school life, counting to ten has helped me to calm down and maintain a cool head.
- Take a walk – Once while at work a few years ago, I was frustrated with my colleagues and the work. I was just about to pack up my things and leave. My manager told me to go take a walk, didn’t matter where, and didn’t matter how long, just take a walk. Though she is no longer my manager, I’ve never forgotten those words. That walk allowed me to get a breath of fresh air and think about what the moment seriously. It also allowed me to think about my next course of action and all the things I was working for.
- Smile – A lot of parents more specifically fathers teach their kids not to show emotions. Never let them see you sad; never let them see you angry. I must say that I agree with that technique. Whenever people know your weakness, they tend to act on them. They tend to do things they know will get you ticked off. Next time someone criticizes you, smile. When they do something you aren’t fond of, smile. Never let them see that you are affected, just smile.
- Learn from the criticism– Many get upset when they are criticized and rightly so. But have you ever considered the message? Have you ever wondered why this person is always saying this degrading and demoralizing statement about you? Could it be because you are behaving or carrying yourself in such a manner? People have always been criticizing me until I reached a point where if someone had something good to say I’d be fascinated. Until one day, I decided to work on whatever negatives people had to say about me. Didn’t like my response to questions? I changed my approach. Didn’t like a weave I had? I removed it. I accepted that I could not and would not please everyone, but I wanted to be more comfortable within the environment I was in until it was time for me to leave.
- Be Quiet – See no evil, hear no evil. There are times when the best thing to do is ignore and be quiet or block and delete. It makes no sense to start an argument with the critic because our aim is not to stoop to their level; it is to be the bigger or better person. It’s best to ignore a comment rather than act on it, it’s better to walk on the other side of the road or take the other taxi rather than be entangled in any situation or stimulate a potential situation.
Some of us have the “She is not going to talk to me like that” attitude and try to justify our actions by saying we are defending our name and our honor. But the truth is, we are just lowering ourselves to their standards which isn’t becoming. So the next time someone attacks you verbally or mentally, apply the suggestion of ignoring the person.
For 2019, let’s make it our aim to work on or continue improving ourselves utilizing keeping a cool and calm composure during pressuring situations. It is a hard task and one that will not be completed overnight but is one we can start and achieve over time. Through my personal experience, I’ve maintained self-control in various situations that, if escalated, could lead to me either dead or in prison. These tips have surely changed my life and could change yours as well. Throughout 2019, whenever we are faced with a situation that demands us to act out of character, we can try counting to ten, take a walk, learn from the negative responses, and ignore harsh comments.