A Strategy for Responding to Criticism

  1. Recall a recent criticism that you reacted to poorly (for the initial experience,choose a mild, not a devastating example).
  2. Imagine the “criticizer” is approaching you. As you first see the signals that they are going to be critical, take a step back and dissociate. See yourself out there with the criticizer. Put a plexiglass shield between you and the criticism scene.
  3. Watch and listen to the “you” being criticized through the plexiglass.
  4. Do you have enough information to know what the criticizer means and what they want? If not, have the “you” that you are watching ask for more specifics so that you’re clear about its content and purpose.
  5. Now imagine you are the criticizer. What are your positive intentions?
  6. When you can picture what the criticizer is saying, compare what they say you did with what you think you did. Do you agree?
  7. Think of an appropriate response; an apology, honor the other person’s intentions, disagree firmly and politely, state your own intentions, a pacing statement, etc. Have the “you” you’re watching deliver the response to the criticizer.
  8. Is there any behavior you’d like to change as a result of the criticism? If so, run a movie of yourself in the context in which you were criticized modifying your behavior as appropriate. Now step into the movie and rehearse it as though it is happening now.

To test how well the process worked:

a) Ask the person what it is like now when they think about being criticized, or

b) Criticize the person and note the response.

Developed and adapted from Change Your Mind and Keep The Change by Steve and Connirae Andreas

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