What is criticism?
To critic is the act of pointing out the flaws from an object, person, or process to improve it. It is common in our lives, at our places of work, and even in governments. Criticism can come from many quarters, even in unexpected places. It is as important as is the person doing it. Is it biased or fair? What does the critic aim to achieve in criticism?
Criticism is not a new concept in humanity. It has been perpetuated over the years and passed down to generations hitherto. Many people know it in bad light given that it has cost many people their livelihoods and destroyed many budding relationships.
Two sides to the same coin.
The critic and criticized person are often on opposite sides of a policy or process. This is not supposed to make them antagonists or permanent enemies. Their hard stances on morals or beliefs towards something does not make them foes. It is not surprising that you could not be sharing common beliefs or philosophies with your close relative, spouse, or even child. Either of them can criticize your reasoning on issues and question your judgments.
Total strangers can also criticize your opinions and decisions. It is not that they are unobjective or anything of that nature. They could be offering a fresh set of eyes on a situation that others were lacking.
Perception versus reality.
It is human nature to resist criticism and justify your decisions. This makes it difficult to be your judge or teacher. A critic in your life is very important. They will identify your faults, question your decisions and challenge your reasoning. All of this is to keep you on your toes at work or in your social life.
It is often a wrong perception that criticism is disruptive. This is a fallacy that has taken root in the mindsets of many people. This is what criticism does: it gives us a new perception of things and challenges our reasoning on issues that we had made decisions on. Our judgments on various matters are based on what we see before us, something that could not be the reality. Positive criticism enlightens us to what we were blind to and we can reconsider our decisions for the good of everybody.
Be proactive and not reactive.
Proactiveness, not reacting is the answer to facing criticism head-on. Whenever somebody else criticizes you for your action or position towards something, do not be quick to give a rejoinder. Pull back and think from the other person’s perspective. Could it be that you actually erred and you now have the chance to clear your mistake before it gets messier?
Question yourself what it is that the other person saw that you overlooked. Go further to interrogate the possibility of other people involved in the subject matter reasoning like your critic and where that puts you.
When you react wildly towards allegations or criticism, you are painted as the guilty and incompetent one even if you are correct. There is a level of maturity that comes with how you handle criticism, both in public and private but most especially in the former. Gracefully acknowledge your flaws whenever you are publicly criticized instead of seeking to justify yourself.
Be fluid, not rigid.
It is said that it is only a fool who does not change his mind. Be wise to accommodate criticism lest you are labeled as a dictator and people shun you. Criticism could come as a harsh rebuke or a humble suggestion. Whichever way it is clothed, it is essential to maintain a flexible mind. You should be flexible and equally grow a thick skin not to let any voice demoralize you and crudely shove you out of the ring.
Criticism is a form of democracy. Every voice is supposed to be accommodated into the discussion. This gives criticism a fertile ground to breed. When you accept it as part of democracy, you will have an easier time embracing it.
Is criticism a bad idea altogether?
On the contrary, criticism is an excellent and fruitful practice. It shows us that we do not know it all, neither do we have the monopoly of ideas. Through criticism, we see things through the lenses of other people and we operate optimally.
Every voice matters no matter how loud or faint it is. Communication and feedback go hand in hand. Feedback could be in the form of criticism or praise. It is important to capture all feedback to be able to know the areas you will need to improve or repackage your ideas for them to become acceptable.
Answer all questions.
You can best deal with criticism by not evading any of them. Boldly come out to tackle challenges and respectfully address your critics while confidently calling them out for either misinformation or misrepresentation of facts. Negative and ill-intentioned criticism should be called out for what it is and not left to thrive in the minds of your audience.
You can turn criticism aimed at assassinating your character into a platform to clear any lies. However, this should be done politely based on facts not to further defame your character. Criticism is like a game of the mind where the smartest player wins with minimum moves. Play your cards right to correctly answer questions thrown your way dressed in criticism. Sometimes there is more than meets the eye.
The power of criticism.
Government policies have been altered when they came under heavy criticism by its citizenry. Word leaders have changed their tactics when they faced criticism in their backyards. These are just a few examples that demonstrate the power of criticism.
Never underestimate the impact of criticism in your life, be it positive or negative. Take heed of them and adjust accordingly for you to have another life in leadership or your social life.
In conclusion, not all criticism is bad. It pays to be teachable because nobody has a monopoly on ideas.