What is wrong with criticism? Unfortunately, many people give and receive criticism in a negative and hurtful manner. The way we receive criticism as well as compliments has to do with our self-esteem. If it is hard for you to receive either, it is most likely that you associate (you are the person experiencing the event, seeing through your own eyes) into the criticism

When people receive negative feedback they often consider they are a failure. We do not have failures in life, we have experiences. When Edison was ridiculed for having an enormous amount of failures while working on his light bulb, he answered that he did not have a lot of failures but a lot of experiences about how it did not work. If we consider criticism as a feedback of an experience, it is much easier to deal with it. On top of that, watch yourself in the situation as it happens. That way you dissociate yourself from the situation. You become a looker-on and make it easier to respond in a calmer way.

When you are given criticism you can follow the following guidelines:

* If it is true, accept it.

* If it is wrong, disagree and affirm yourself.

* If it is vague, ask for examples.

* If taken aback, delay your response and say you need time to think about it.

If the criticism puts you in a non-supportive mood, you can use the following steps:

* Relax and close your eyes.

* Pretend you are at the movies and see yourself laughing feeling energetic and happy.

* Make the movie screen as big as you can.

* Stay there for a couple of minutes.

When you give criticism, think about the way you do it. Would you like to be on the receiver end? Tell the person the reason for the criticism and explain how the change in behaviour will be beneficial to the person or to others concerned. It is also important to show that you understand that the other person feels the way he or she does. The next step is to help the person solve the problem. It is only reasonable to give criticism when constructive solution can be given.

Attitude and spirit is important when we receive criticism. One day I was told I had to do a certain job in a very specific way different to how I did it in a harsh way. Earlier in life I found it hard to receive criticism. Now I straight away think that this is an opportunity to improve something, and that the person in front of me is doing the best he or she can with the resources available at that moment. We do not know why the person is angry or very grumpy.

It is significant to stay cool and calm when dealing with criticism. Ask yourself what you can learn from the experience? Learn from experiences and close the door to yesterday.

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