One of the hardest things in the world to deal with is negative feedback. We all like to hear positive things about ourselves to boost our self-esteem and confidence, but negative feedback can play an important role in our development too. This only works if you can take that feedback in the spirit it was meant in, rather than being hurt and offended, but how can you get better at not taking things personally?
Luckily there are ways to achieve this. Firstly you need to listen carefully to what is being said so that you can be sure you’re not misunderstanding their words or intentions, and then you need to avoid the instinctive response of immediately apologizing. If you have done something wrong, your apology will mean more when you’ve had the chance to think about it. Instead, take a deep breath and slow your breathing to lower your stress levels.
Try to maintain open body language, even if you are feeling defensive inside. Thank the person for their feedback and write it down so that you have a record of it and won’t distort what was actually said over time, and then politely ask for time to process their feedback before getting back to them. All of these steps will help you avoid turning the moment into an even more awkward one.
Afterwards, you can turn that negative feedback into a positive through the way you process it and learn from what has been said as well as your reaction to it. If there are actions for you to take, break them down so you can work through them to remedy the situation. It may also help to get advice on the situation from someone you trust to be honest and supportive, as they will be able to give you much-needed perspective.
You may never enjoy receiving negative feedback, but at least with these tips, you’ll be able to avoid the experience being an entirely painful and unhelpful one.