Taking criticism can be tough, even if it’s well-meaning and constructive feedback. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to cry when you hear it, and that’s okay! Just make sure you don’t cry a lot cause that will really get in the way of your growth. Here’s how to accept constructive criticism while only crying just a tiny little bit.
Take it only sort of personally.
Constructive criticism isn’t meant to be a reflection on you as a person, but it kind of is, so only take it sort of personally. Remembering this will keep your mind open to your shift manager’s perspective and your tear ducts mostly closed. Though you might cry a little as she tells you you’re not coming across as ‘likable’ to customers, more than two or three streams of tears shouldn’t run down your face at once. Nice! You’re doing it. You’re taking feedback like a real champ and just barely mourning!
Distract yourself from hurt with a funny joke.
If you’re about to cry during your monthly performance review, distract yourself from hurt with a funny joke. Something simple, like, “Where did the kittens go on their class trip? To the meow-seum” should keep your sorrow to a minimum. As your boss explains you seem to have some trouble communicating, make this joke to yourself and instead of crying a lot about her comment, you’ll smile and only laugh cry a little. This looks a little strange, so your boss may ask why you’re gritting your teeth as your eyes swell with tears, but don’t answer no matter what. It could make you cry even more and you don’t want that right now.
Listen so closely you can no longer feel.
Congratulations, you’ve calmed yourself down by saying a funny joke, and now it’s time to listen so closely you cannot feel. If you feel, you might cry and you must allow your editor to share her complete thoughts without interruption from your mouth saying, “Wah!” Listen so closely you can repeat back to her exactly what she said to you. For example, “This entire first chapter made no sense. Please rewrite it to include a real story arc and not just 12 pages describing what a centaur looks like.” Nod your head and write down what she’s saying as if you are taking it all in stride. Focusing on her perspective ensures you won’t cry for more than a few minutes during your meeting. Well done!
Blame someone else.
Blaming someone else can help you calm down when you want to cry about the way you are. If your roommate suggests you could pull your weight a little more with household chores and it hurts your feelings to hear that, point at her and say, “Actually you’re the one who’s crying right now.” Of course she’ll immediately realize you’re wrong, but it might trick your brain into believing you aren’t actually crying, in which case you can get right back to grappling with the truth about your behavior. After all, you never really did buy garbage bags like you were supposed to last month.
Sometimes the only way to cry a little is to cry a lot first. Cry upfront, as soon as your boss or anyone in your life sits you down to talk. By the time the constructive criticism begins you’ll already be cried out!
It’s no secret most people would like to cry when having their flaws pointed out to them, but if you follow this guide you’ll be able to handle feedback with tact and grace and no more than 10 minutes of uninterrupted crying.