Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Criticism can build you up

Criticism can build you up

No one can escape criticism. Everyone is bound to receive some sort of criticism at some point in their life. Especially in the modern world we are living in, everywhere you go, there will be criticism – both offline and online.

We cannot control what people will say about us, but we can control the way we react to what they say. Not everyone can positively handle criticism. It’s a life skill that we should develop as we mature. Being able to take criticism will be beneficial to everyone. By being able to do this, we can learn to put aside our ego and properly deal with harsh criticism to be a better person.

When someone criticises you, you can either take it positively as an opportunity to be better or in a negative way which will affect your self-esteem and insecurity. Whichever you choose, it will tell a lot about who you are as a person.

Before we react to criticism, consider for a moment if there might be a grain of truth in the criticism rather than going into a defensive state. Not all criticism is given with ill intention, some simply just means other people believe that you can do better. Of course, this depends on how you would react to the criticism. Generally, there is usually some truth in criticism and if we get defensive, we would lose the chance to change for the better. This is why we should assess the situation before acting out impulsively.

I am reminded of a quote I read somewhere that goes: ‘Cultivate inquiry instead of reactivity’. Be curious about why people think we need to hear that kind of criticism from them and think about how we can improve on ourselves through it. The ability to truly listen and hear to what people say about us, even when they’re doing it with the intention of attacking us personally, will make us understand and see things clearly. It also shows how much you value who you are as a person and how willing you are to change bad habits.

Naturally we should own up to our mistakes. We have plenty of opportunities to learn and improve ourselves as we go through life. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what kind of criticism we receive, we should analyse it so we can learn something from it. Society pressures us so much to strive for perfection that making mistakes seems to lower our value in society, but it’s human nature to make mistakes. It seems as if the more we live, the more we forget what it means to be human.

Being able to accept criticism in a positive manner is a powerful tool to be a better person in life.

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