How to Accept Criticism Gratefully (or at Least, Gracefully) Part 2

How to Accept Criticism Gratefully (or at Least, Gracefully) Part 2


In the previous article, we discussed the difference between consciously accepting feedback and unconsciously reacting to feedback.

But what if you feel the feedback is truly harsh? What if you feel insulted? What if you feel it’s unfair?  

Now that you’ve learned the basics of consciousness around feedback, let’s put that to the test and look at how we can apply that to different kinds of feedback.

Negative feedback about something you created or produced

Remember, your self-worth and lovability are not attached to your products. You are not what you create. If you receive a poor grade, negative review, or criticism about something you made, see if you can look at this feedback as interesting information.  

Be curious. What is there to learn from the feedback?  

Perhaps you learn that the reviewer has extremely high standards, or even unreasonable standards that you will never meet. Maybe you learn how your product could be improved upon. Or possibly the person critiquing doesn’t understand your field or your product. The possibilities are endless.

Negative feedback about your appearance

Your worth as a human being is not attached to your appearance. Think about Mother Teresa and Gandhi. Would you say that either of them fit into our societal ideals of physical beauty and attractiveness? No. Were their clothes stylish? No. Do you attach their worth to their physical looks? Of course not.  

When you attach your sense of worthiness to your physical appearance, you are the one judging yourself. You think of yourself as flawed, or not good enough. Negative feedback about your appearance from someone else simply amplifies your feelings of shame and unworthiness. 

Learning to love yourself is an inside job. Working on your self-esteem will help you gain perspective about your own personal power. The more you love yourself, the less you will feel shaken by harsh feedback. 

Negative Feedback that is intended to cause pain

If someone says, “I think you’re ugly, stupid, and you smell,” you know this is not an expression of love and connection. Be curious about the other person’s possible motivation. Perhaps they are retaliating for a perceived slight or trying to bully you to get dominance over you. 

Simply notice what their motivation may be with love and curiosity. That doesn’t mean lay down and be a doormat. Instead, hold onto your power by not letting yourself be controlled by someone else’s emotions and behavior.  

If they’re angry because of something you did, acknowledge their right to feel however they feel. It doesn’t mean that you did something “wrong”, it means that the other person took offense or felt hurt about what you did.  

If you’re in a conversation that’s deteriorating into insults, you could say to the other person, “I can tell that you are very angry at me. I’d like to understand your feelings. However, I am unwilling to talk with if you continue to call me names, Perhaps, we can talk later when you are feeling calmer so we can have a meaningful conversation to help us reconnect.”  

Feedback of any kind is information. The information tells you about the person who is giving you feedback. They are seeing you through their unique lens which includes their beliefs, past experiences, perceptions, and biases. As we become more conscious, we realize that there is really no such thing as negative feedback. There is only feedback.  


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