Always thank people for criticism

Being gracious about unwanted criticism gives you the moral high ground.

Some people like to criticize others. Maybe the mean well, maybe they don’t. The thing is, you don’t need to take it personally. Learning how to take all criticism, even the nasty ill-intentioned kind as constructive will help you emotionally and professionally.

Here’s why.

If they are just being mean, thanking them for their criticism will disarm them. People who criticize to be mean, like trolls, are hoping to get a reaction out of you. Your failure to give them the reaction they want will catch them off guard and they won’t know how to respond. It’s actually kind of fun to troll the trolls this way. Kill them with kindness.

Sometimes what seems like people just being mean is actually intended constructively. And if you knee jerk response defensively, the person who was trying to help you will feel bad and be confused. If instead, you take a deep breath, despite your hurt and thank them for their criticism, they will be pleased you care enough to pay attention and they will think more highly of you.

If you fail to express gratitude at first but then realize you should have, be quick to apologize and thank them. People really do appreciate it and generally understand that you may have been sensitive. The important thing is that you heard them.

My feeling about criticism is that unless it’s an outright troll, it’s probably constructive. Someone is taking the time to give me feedback, the least I can do is accept that feedback and try to learn what I can learn from it.

They key is to remember that the feedback isn’t really about you. It’s about the other person and their perceptions. If they misunderstood you and what you were trying to do, that isn’t them being jerks, that means you failed to take into account the very real human on the receiving end of whatever it was you did. Your future actions will benefit from this human reality reminder.

The other thing I find helps me is to invoke compassion for myself and my rather human gut reaction to be hurt and compassion for the other person who clearly had something they wanted and needed to say to me regardless of what that reason is.

How do you deal with criticism? Do you have a mantra to help you overcome your hurt feelings?


  1. Thanks Jen.H.Good write and it applies to me and my automatic reaction to criticsm.I may become Good Humanist.

    1. Glad it's helpful. Everyone struggles with this. I know I do. For me, I have to consciously switch modes in my mind from anxiety and sadness to compassion and openess. The more I practice, the easier that switch becomes!


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