“What will others think about me?” This is a thought that terrifies many people especially as they get on stage to give a speech. A speaker cannot avoid facing criticism. In fact no one who attempts to do something escapes criticism.
Words of criticism cut sharply and they hurt for a lifetime. It will come in some form or the other. There is no stopping it; any attempt to contain it is like trying to grasp oil with the hand. Though we cannot control criticism levelled against us, how we respond to it is entirely our choice.
Several options are available. Instead of withdrawing or reacting angrily, there is a better option. It is reacting creatively and positively to pain.
This is exactly what an oyster does when a grain of sand gets injected into its body creating terrible pain. It then secretes a fluid and covers that grain of sand. That is how a lovely pearl is made over the years. The oyster’s positive and creative reaction to pain creates something of exquisite beauty and enduring value.
So can your right response to criticism do for you. Always remember, “It is the wounded oyster that mends its shell with pearl.”
Now let us take a look at the Seven Points that will help you face criticism that is levelled against you:
#1. Though the pain is real decide to prove your critics wrong by using criticism as an inspiration to do your very best. Mistakes made need not prevent you from achieving greatness in life.
#2. Understand that your value in life is not primarily based on your performance; but in the fact that you are created in the image and likeness of God. There is no one else like you; never was; never will be.
#3. Never lose sight of your goal. Keep travelling hopefully towards it however slow or difficult the progress seems to be. Do not stop to answer every criticism levelled against you. As the proverb says, “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”
#4. When the emotions, pain and hurt of biting criticism wears out after a few days, try to evaluate whether there is some truth in what your critics said. If there is a need to correct or change; have the humility to acknowledge your wrong and show the courage to change.
#5. Never play the blame game. Be willing to accept responsibility even if the criticism levelled is against one of your team members.
#6. Often it is our self-righteous attitude (the thought that I am always right and everyone else is wrong attitude) that hurts us when others criticize us. Learn to esteem others and be willing to learn from them.
#7. It is when you believe in your dreams and really go for it that others try to pull you down. It is not a matter of enmity but the fact is that there is a vast majority out there who do not believe that dreams can be achieved. Do not make their problems yours; let it be theirs alone. You go and do what you do best in life.
To conclude, let me remind you once again that there is value in criticism. It shows that there is growth, movement, and progress in your life and attempts. As it is said, “Dog’s don’t bark at parked cars.” Or its variant, “I’ve never seen any dog chase a parked car.” So also people only criticize when you attempt to do things in life.
So criticism is a proof that you are attempting to do something worthwhile. So don’t lose sleep over “What will others think about me?”