Most people hate getting complaints. If people put them down their self esteem takes a hit and they get defensive – denying that they’re doing anything wrong. They take criticism as a personal insult. Even though sometimes complaints are made to deliberately put you down, reacting this way won’t help. You need to learn to take criticism. In fact, you should learn to prefer it to compliments.
Compliments are all well and good, they boost your self esteem and make you happy. Complaints, by doing the opposite, make you feel dejected. However, in doing this, they are really doing you a favor. Without them, how would you know where you are going wrong? Nobody is perfect, there are always going to be things you can improve on. You can only improve the things you know need improving.
So stop taking complaints as insults and start seeing them as helpful feedback. Stop relying on compliments to boost your self esteem and boost it by knowing you have achieved the improvements people have suggested.
Criticism can come from many sources. You should actually learn to “hunt it down”, recognising subtle digs and actually asking people for criticism rather than compliments. Your friends should know that they can be honest with you and not be in fear of reprieve.
You should be mindful that you may not always be right. Other people’s opinions may not mean anything, but always consider them. Why has this person said this? They wouldn’t have come out with it for no reason. Their reason may be irrational, but you need to make this judgement.
If someone is the only person making a complaint, don’t take it that this person is picking a fight or has something personal against you. They may be wrong, but just because they are the only person making the complaint you should still consider it before dismissing it. For example, they may be the only person brave enough to mention the problem, or the only person observant enough to notice it. You should thank them for paying so much attention!
When someone criticizes you, don’t succumb to the weakness of a “knee jerk” apology. Accept the complaints and do something about them. If anything, thank them for pointing out the problem. Take responsibility for it.
You will learn to appreciate criticism. You will see that it is a lot more useful than compliments.
By accepting criticism, you can make improvements that increase your competitiveness. You will rise above all the weak people around you who take offence to criticism and constantly search for those “feel good” compliments. You will also become happier and more approachable.