3 Proven Ways To Handle Criticism

3 Proven Ways To Handle Criticism

I get asked this many times from my students. “Mr Lionel, how should I answer this question – how do you handle criticism?”

There’s no escaping from it. After all, as long as we are surrounded by people, we will be subjected to criticism. This is not surprising as all of us come with our preconceived notions and judgmental values on what is good and what is not.

If things don’t go our way, the first thing most, if not all of us will do, is to assign blame or find fault with others. It’s always someone else’s fault for getting us into this dire consequence. That’s why the criticisms fly fast and furious. It’s only when others look bad that we appear to look better. It’s sad but true.

We condemn. We disapprove. We censure. We denounce. We fault-find.

But before you get all heated up the next time you hear a criticism, here are 3 proven ways you can use to handle criticism.

#1: Listen And Ask For Clarification

I know the first impulse of most people would be to feel uncomfortable and start jumping. But before you start jumping, stop.

We humans are given two ears and one mouth. This is indirectly telling us to listen more than we speak. Unfortunately, not many practise this.

Listening is an art that is so undervalued.

When we listen, we are able to gather so much more insights.

When someone criticizes you, listen. Listen to the story and the intention behind it. Listen to the emotions conveyed and the tone of the voice.

Then ask for clarification until you have fully understood the situation.

Very often, the well-intended criticisms are always targeted at tackling the issue and not attacking the person. This is something you need to be mindful of.

#2: Say Thank You

Instead of treating it as criticism, consider it as a form of feedback. In this age and time, if someone bothers to give you constructive feedback, you should feel thankful. After all, it takes both time and effort to say something to another person, in the hope of helping them improve. In this case, they have bothered to engage with you.

If you get criticized, say thank you.


Yes, say thank you…thank you for sharing.

A heartfelt criticism of any sorts will go a long way to help you improve in the little areas you never knew existed. I call them your blind spots. That’s why some of us get mentors to help us improve. You should be thankful you get a ‘mentor’ for free!

Use this opportunity to improve, learn and grow from it.


#3: Treat It As Fart

This is my favourite one. We all know some people just need to say something or pass some comment so as to appear that they are smart.

To these airheads, the best strategy to use when levelled a criticism is to treat it as fart.

Yes, just like how we emit wind from the anus, let’s treat this criticism in the same way. It’s silly, it’s meaningless and most importantly, it’s ill-intended.

I wouldn’t want to waste my time on silly or trivial people. And whatever they say will be like that gas we release.

Don’t take it personally. Instead, laugh it off and walk away. Do not let others dictate how you feel.

Let others break your heart. But never let them break your soul. Learn to differentiate the types of criticism. If constructive, accept it and become stronger while working at it.