How do you deal with Criticism?

Photo by Eva Blue

Criticism is a critical part of daily living. From work to play to living with others, you have to deal with someone not liking what you are doing, not agreeing with your point of view, or telling you your work isn’t good enough.

How you cope with it, handle it, and respond to it can make the difference in your personal happiness, the cohesiveness of your family structure, and even at times whether you have work or not.

Erupting in anger when criticized

Getting angry like our friend above in the photo is definitely not the best way to deal with criticism. Lashing out rarely brings success.

However, internalizing all those angry feelings can create an internal bomb set to go off with the next person we encounter even if they have nothing to do with the problem. Many people who struggle with criticism at work feel they can’t do anything about it there so they take it home to their family. Sometimes that means there are no holds barred at home which creates unhappiness in the family and doesn’t resolve anything.

Pulling criticism inward

Others pull it inward into a bottle of pills or alcohol. Instead of dealing with the problem and seeing if there is a solution, they bury themselves in drugs or drinking to escape from the feelings of insecurity and loss of self esteem. This however creates new problems that can intensify the dissatisfaction with their work or their ability to contribute income or be a valuable part of a family.

Healthier ways to deal with criticism

  1. Voice it to someone. Find a friend or family member who will agree to just listen.Many people find that if they can just share those feelings out loud, they will feel better about whatever was said. I have a number of friends who are willing to share venting roles when necessary. Say it and get it out.
  2. Exercise it away. When I get really frustrated, I find that sitting around and mulling it over makes it so much worse. Going on one of my long walks or working in the yard can both give me a time to think it through and also make me feel better.
  3. Give yourself a reward. When you replace undeserved criticism (when it really was unfounded)  with a reward you can turn the focus to something you enjoy and displace hours of mulling it over in your head. Time to read a book out on the deck. Treat yourself to ice cream just this once. Or have lunch with a friend and combine #1 with #3.
  4. Learn from it. Perhaps it was deserved. See if you need to change something. And then be thankful that you were able to accept the criticism and move on.
  5. Let it go. When we keep dwelling on something over and over, it grows from just a little issue to a big one. Just let it go.

How about you? How do you deal with criticism?


  1. Brent Pohlman on June 3, 2011 at 8:13 am


    Great topic today! You cannot internalize. I tend to make light of it on Twitter through a post. I don’t like Facebook because close friends may take me too personally. However, I have found on twitter that someone out there has had a similar experience. (Just a Thought)

    Keep up the great posts!

    • Julie Walraven on June 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Good points, Brent!

      You’re right in the damage you can do to yourself and your future by internalizing.

      But you have to be a bit careful even on Twitter because it has the live search capability so you really have to be careful in your wording so you don’t sound whiny or vindictive. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Gavin Ryan on June 4, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Hi Julie,
    In my youth I did not like criticism especially being a sportsman you lay everything out there! Now as a businessman I look at it very differently,I look at criticism as a good thing if its valid because it helps you grow!

    Love reading your posts!

    • Julie Walraven on June 6, 2011 at 7:34 am

      True enough, Gavin! Criticism can be a good thing but you have to handle it right too. 🙂

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