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The Gut Punch of Constructive Criticism

No one likes to be criticized. In fact, it can sometimes feel like a kick in the gut!

Even the word itself... CRITICISM...seems to carry a negative meaning, which often changes our perspective about what we hear from the very beginning.

This way of perceiving criticism, however, robs us of some of the most efficient methods of improvement, namely, learning through our mistakes.

Here I explain why constructive criticism is actually beneficial for you, as long as it comes with the right intentions.

The Big Picture

First, let's talk about perspective. When we are trying our best to achieve something, we can often become consumed by it.

Although this shows our dedication and keeps our focus, it's easy to get lost in the details and forget about the bigger picture.

An illustrative example of this is when a novice starts learning how to draw.

Many times, when people start doing their first paintings, they may tend to focus on the details right from the beginning.

And although these parts of the picture turn out well, there are others parts that might need more work.

Imagine a landscape with a house, for example - picture each brick in correct correspondence to the other and to reality, but the perspective, the overall size, and the background are not as well made.

It can look as though someone tried really hard to perfect one aspect, but neglected another.

Subconsciously, this is how we sometimes start dealing with problems in our work and in life too.

And that's exactly where constructive criticism comes in handy.

A different perspective, a fresh pair of eyes will help you notice that you are too focused on a particular detail and can help you see the bigger picture.

With this new point of view, you can start ironing out some of the things that are out of your focus.

Better Relationships

Constructive criticism can also help when it comes to forming stronger, more trustworthy relationships.

Communication is the bread and butter of both receiving and giving this type of constructive advice, which is why relationships benefit greatly from it.

Let's break the explanation down to the two aspects of constructive criticism - giving and receiving.

Giving constructive criticism

When you're the one who shares their ideas and advice, you have to make sure that the person opposite you understands both what you mean and where you're coming from.

This form of communication makes you considerate of the other person's perception, which is key when making a positive change.

Have you ever had a disagreement with someone only to realize that you were actually saying the same thing? One of you had just misunderstood what the other was saying.

This is why, when you're giving advice in the form of constructive criticism, you are also improving your communication skills and your understanding of the other person's thought process.

This form of communication also makes you more considerate of the feelings of others because it can serve as a double-check to make sure you're not offending anyone.

Receiving constructive criticism

By being open enough to listen and understand where the other person is coming from, you start realizing that you're not alone. This is key in building trust in others.

This means that, while relying on yourself, you can share your experiences with others, learn from them and be happier for it.

The building of trustworthy relationships goes both ways, and when you’re on the receiving end, it really helps to know that this person is trying their best to help you.

Final Thoughts

Constructive criticism is incredibly useful for both parties involved.

It is a valuable tool that, when used correctly, often results in a job well done and happier participants.

The idea of constructive criticism itself is to aid in communication, not threaten it.

It is providing you both with the resources you need to do the best work you can and with the ability to help in the most useful way.

Which side of the constructive criticism equasion do you prefer? Giving or receiving?

Would love for you to share in the comments below.

I’m Melanie Gallo, Ph.D., a WorkLife Psychology coach and writer specializing in personality and thinking habits. Through my fun and innovative app called Coach2GO, I help busy-minded people define, get and keep their WorkLifeJoy. Like to be notified of my future posts? Simply subscribe to Coach2GO today.


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