All criticism represents a challenge for most of us, especially for Highly Sensitive People (PAS), it can be especially devastating
Sensitive personalities tend to have more intense reactions to criticism than others less sensitive, and as a result, they often employ certain tactics to avoid facing criticism, like pleasing people, criticizing themselves first (before the other person has the opportunity) and of course, avoiding the source of criticism at all costs.
If you are a very sensitive person and struggle with the overwhelming thoughts that a criticism produces, here are some of the strategies that you can use and that aim to help you cope better, in addition to teaching you to grow through these “bad” experiences.
How to deal with criticism
1. Find out if the criticism is constructive or destructive
The difference between a constructive criticism and a destructive one It's the way comments are made. Constructive criticism points to failures but includes advice or suggestions on how they can be corrected, while destructive criticism aims to directly attack or bring down the person, and of course, does not include practical advice.
2. Do not respond immediately
Our first instinct when facing criticism is to get defensive. Even if it is intended to be useful, criticism can feel like a rejection and provokes our "fight or flight" instinct as a natural response. But when we give free rein to our emotions, we often say things that we regret later. The best we can do is resist the temptation to respond immediately. It is important then to step back into the situation and think about how it will be processed. Wait until you find calmer and have it clearer before saying anything.
3. Avoid polarized thinking
Many extremely sensitive people have a dual type of thinking, in which things are white or black, without half measures. They look like people of great success at a given time, and soon as useless ones, depending on their most recent achievement or failure. This type of thinking prevents people from seeing themselves from more comprehensive and realistic way, composed of both positive and negative traits. Let us remain present and give our thoughts a better perspective of reality. Once you have identified an extreme thought, ask yourself, for example: "Where is the evidence that I am the worst employee on the entire planet?"
4. Ask questions
It can be easy to misunderstand the slightest negative criticism. So ask to make sure you fully understand what they are telling you. This is especially important if the criticism received is not too clear. One way to determine if you are correctly interpreting the feedback, is to paraphrase the message you have heard and communicate it again to the other person, asking: "Am I understanding this correctly?"
5. Find out what is really in what they are telling you
It is said that there is almost always some truth in each criticism. Or at least, a person's criticism bears the truth of how that person sees you. Try to listen with an open mind, which does not mean you have to believe it immediately, but maybe you can find something that makes you reflect. For better or worse, other people in our lives often act as mirrors that reflect the things we cannot see for ourselves. Find a way to use this as an experience of learning to improve.
6. Separate feelings from the facts
Do not believe everything you feel! Feelings are not facts, feelings are just that: feelings. They do not always represent what is happening around you. When you hear the criticism, deep feelings of shame, frustration, anger, insufficiency, hopelessness, etc. are often triggered, so it is difficult to perceive the whole situation with perspective, instead of focusing solely on those aspects of the situation that we They are bothering you. Ask yourself if your feelings are based on current reality, in past experiences, or in your fears about the future.
7. Do something good for yourself
After receiving a criticism it is not uncommon for our ego to feel as if it had been beaten. After this experience you could provide some self-careBy doing something that helps you calm down or even console yourself, you can watch a funny movie, take a long bubble bath, read a good book or enjoy your favorite food. If you are kind to yourself when things get complicated, you will realize that it is easier to achieve greater balance and inner tranquility.