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Essential Keys to Keeping Criticism From Sabotoging Your Winning Attitude

Social media is a popular medium used for the general public to critique every aspect of public, personal, and professional life. Social media outlets, such as Facebook, is filled with newsfeeds of individuals posting their personal opinions of music, photos, messages, and comments. Those who seek opportunities to provide their insight on popular topics of discussion flood social media outlets with positive and negative comments. It does not matter whether those who choose to express themselves in the public forum invite the opinions of others. If the individual makes a public post, it is fair game for positive or negative commentary.

Receiving personal and professional evaluations of attitudes and behaviors is part of life. We receive critiques of our comments or behavior from family members, friends, and associates on a daily basis as we interact with others. We receive personal and professional evaluations of interactions, productivity, and our progress as well. With so many opportunities to receive critiques, it is important to know that everyone has a choice as to how they respond to the criticism that is received. Those who choose to react negatively to the evaluations of others only hurts themselves.

Adverse reactions by the individual to any form of criticism can negatively impact how they internalize the comments. Some individuals take a pessimistic stance to any evaluation as if they do not have permission to be themselves. The negative reception of the comments may not have been the intent of those who critiqued the individual; however, their hurt feelings caused them to take an adverse attitude towards the evaluation. They will stop commenting or behaving in any way that resembles the nature of the critiqued behavior. The individual who does this is authorizing those who purposefully intended to provide negative criticism to have the power to influence their behavior. The person who negatively internalizes personal or professional evaluations of their attitude or behavior may not be aware of subconsciously conforming themselves to receive the approval of others. They may not be conscious that they are abnormally adapting to the critique they received by either changing their behavior or holding back from vocalizing their opinions. This way of reacting to criticism can be a form of self-sabotage as the individual no longer feels able to be themselves among those who do not agree with their opinions or behavior.

One way of preventing criticism from sabotaging your attitude is to gain insight as to whether the criticism is causing you to feel misunderstood, rejected, or unappreciated. Self-awareness of the impact of criticism can help you to understand how to internalize the criticism received. It is important to realize that criticism is an analysis that can be constructive or degrading based on how the individual presents the evaluation to you. Constructive criticism provides a positively expressed assessment in a way that informs you on how you can improve in a particular area. Many individuals focus on ‘DE-constructive’ criticism that takes a person apart in a negative fashion. Deconstructive criticism can cause you to feel misunderstood, unappreciated, and rejected. Some people cannot accept any form of criticism, causing negative emotions that can hinder personal growth. They will internalize the analysis in a negative fashion, helplessly saying, “I just can’t catch a break!”.

Whether the analysis of your opinions or behavior is constructive or deconstructive, you have a choice as to how you internalize the information that you receive. You can utilize the information obtained as an opportunity for personal growth. The first step in accomplishing this is to make a determination as to whether the individual and the information is meant to belittle you and tear you down. If this is the case, you should avoid that person and discard that information as it is not intended to be useful to you on your journey towards personal growth.

The next step in avoiding self-sabotage on your journey towards personal development is to determine how you are internalizing the information that you have received. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What bothers me most when people are providing me with their

opinions of my comments or behavior?

a. Is it the person?

b. Is it the message?

c. Is it the attitude that accompanies the message that was given?

d. Is it the place where the comment was shared?

2. Have I received similar comments from different people about the same subject?

a. Is it valid?

b. Have I done anything about it in the past?

c. Am I doing anything about it currently?

Self-Reflection on the answers to these questions will help you to avoid sabotaging yourself by taking on a negative attitude to any form of evaluation that you receive.

For more information on how you can be empowered to prevent self-sabotage through self-reflection on your journey towards academic, personal, and professional growth, check out 'Daring You to Be YOU!: Your Winning Attitude Promotes Your Potential.

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