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My last BLOG was all about communication style. I thought I would follow on from this theme to give you some techniques to help you deal with criticism.

When we hear others being critical of something we’ve done, we tend to believe that they are being critical of ‘us’ rather than our actions. This may be because we’ve been criticised in an unhelpful way in the past, which resulted in feeling blamed, rejected or unwanted. However, very often the person offering criticism is intending the criticism to be helpful to us – pointing out the effect of our actions. If we were able to accept that criticism in the spirit in which it was intended, then we could make positive helpful changes.

Whereas, if we were able to consider the criticism in a different way, then maybe something positive could come out of it. When you receive criticism, consider whether the criticism is:

  • True

  • Not true

  • Partly true

TRUE – OK, thanks for taking the time to review it. Can we talk about how you feel it could have been better and I’ll take on board your comments for next time?

NOT TRUE – Thanks for taking the time to review it. Can we sit down and talk through this as I don’t agree with the comments and I’d like to show you what I mean?

PARTLY TRUE – Thanks for taking the time to review it. I’m not sure you’ve seen my point and maybe I need to understand your point more. Can we sit down to discuss?

It can very often be difficult to say no to people who make demands of us, and if we say no, we can get caught up in self-critical thoughts leading us to feel guilty. To avoid feeling guilty, we just keep on saying “yes” to every request.

We can learn ways of saying “No” that don’t lead us to think self-critically or feel guilty. For example:

  • I’m sorry but I really can’t take on anything else at the moment.

  • I’m quite busy right now. Perhaps another time.

  • I’d like to help you out, but I just don’t feel up to it at the moment.

  • I don’t need a new roof (double glazing, vacuum cleaner etc). I’m happy with what I have thank you.

  • Thank you for asking me. You’re a nice person, but I don’t want to go out with you.

If the person seems to have trouble accepting your “No”, then just keep repeating yourself, over and over if necessary. You might have to add the word “No” to the beginning of those statements, perhaps with some emphasis on that word. For example:

  • No. I’m sorry but I really can’t at the moment.

Be wary of those self-critical thoughts afterwards. Practice challenging and/or dismissing them, by telling yourself:

  • I explained to them why I couldn’t do it

  • It’s not my responsibility

  • It would only end up upsetting me if I agreed to it – this is best for me. If I feel less tired and not resentful, then I might be a better position to help them out next time

  • They’re just thoughts – I don’t need to pay them any attention (then put your focus of attention on something else)

I know that sometimes it is easier said than done. Keep on practicing to ensure that your thinking remains positive.

With Love xxxx

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