How to Take the Positive from Negative Criticism

It can be difficult to convert negative criticism into useful tools, especially when it is packaged in a manner which is offensive or difficult to digest. However, this conversion is necessary in order to get the best out of negative criticism, even if it was meant to hurt and not empower. So how do we do get the conversion process down?

It’s time to get REAL. Time to get the following down pact Retention, Examination, Action, and Letting Go.

  • Retention. The key to digesting unpalatable information is time. Retaining the criticism we receive until we get the opportunity to sift through it can make or break the opportunity to learn.

This part of the process involves receiving what you are told without becoming defensive. Although this may be difficult at first, it gives you the opportunity to take the feedback you have received, remember it as accurately as possible and prepare to make it useful.

  •  Examination. Negative criticism in its rawest form can be offensive or even hurtful. In fact, it may even come from a person who seems out to get you. Don’t let that distract you from searching for kernels of truth. Consider the other person’s perspective. Is any part of what they said true? What was the motive behind the criticism?

We often get distracted by the delivery which can make positive intention difficult to see. And even worse, when the intention is negative, we may be quick to dismiss the truth. If no truth exists in the feedback, there remains a lesson to be learnt about the individual and how you may need to interact with them moving forward

  • Action. Using negative criticism to your advantage is the turning point heading towards positivity. Your actions going forward should show that you have analyzed the information you gathered from the feedback and you are prepared to grow from it. This could involve doing your own research or changing some of your habits or actions. It may even mean apologizing or finding new ways to manage your relationship with the person. Whatever your action is, it should be geared towards personal growth and development.
  • Let it Go! Once you have drawn what you need to from your negative feedback, let go of your feelings towards the delivery. Following the first three steps should definitely help you get there, but it’s important to do a double-check on yourself. Do a self-examination and ensure that you are ready to interact with that person with a positive attitude and let go of any resentment or bitterness you may be holding on to. Particularly in cases where the feedback was not accurate, you must be prepared to release negative emotions.

Remember that criticism is as constructive as you make. It is your responsibility to be REAL with yourself and make it work for you. To inspire you along the way, find some quotes on criticism and how to deal with it at


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