The Best Response to Criticism
“To escape criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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Criticism weighs more on our emotions than praise does.
We remember negative events more vividly than positive ones, and we give more emotional weight to a loss than an equivalent gain.
We tend to be more passive in life than we would be if we weighed negativity and positivity the same.
Bad outcomes seem to weight more in terms of punishment than good outcomes weight in terms of benefit, so it can seem sensible to speak out and try new things as infrequently as possible.
Criticism is about all the critic’s experience, not the target’s.
It all begins with an internal reaction between what the critic sees and what it reminds him of.
The critic is really just reacting to an appearance that happened to include you, filtered through his own worldview, emotional state, and personal experience.
While the process for the critic is very often superficial and ephemeral when we’re criticized we take it as an indictment of our selves directly, of our very being.
From the sender, it may really mean “I don’t like what this seems like,” but to the recipient, it feels like “You shouldn’t be who you are.” This is why we keep thinking about it for hours or days.
The most powerful tool for responding to criticism is empathy.
We are in a much better position to learn from criticism (and minimize its sting) when we think of it as something that is happening in someone else’s head.
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