Critiquing Criticism

By: Kayla Hunt, Columnist

For so long, criticism has had a negative connotation, something that people tend to avoid and try to please those that are professionals in the field.

Criticism is something that we’ve always been taught to accept and learn from because it gives us the means to improve. However, there seems to be a thin line between criticism that is constructive and destructive.

It can be hard to distinguish between the two because criticism as a whole can be hurtful at times. The main difference between constructive and destructive criticism is the way that the messages are delivered.

Constructive criticism is supposed to be useful feedback that you can learn from and work on, whereas destructive criticism is negative, comes off as an attack and often is meant to bring people down rather than up.

The emergence of social media has made it a lot easier to not only be critical of others, but also critical of ourselves. It is now very easy to provide feedback and comments on each others’ posts. We think about what we post due to others’ opinions and we even delete posts when we don’t receive the attention we want.

After running a poll on Twitter asking several different questions, the results showed a clear conclusion.

Out of 32 participants, 84% said that they often receive constructive criticism rather than criticism that is negative and destructive. Out of 29 participants, 76% claimed that they hesitate to try something new due to fear of criticism. Out of 19 participants, 63% said that when pursuing something they tend to put others interests and thoughts before their own.

The good news? Most people agreed that when they do receive criticism it is constructive, which is imperative in growing and finding room to improve. The bad news? People are still hesitant in pursuing new things because they fear criticism and when they do try something new they tend to put the interests of their ‘critics’ in mind before their own.

According to Good & CO., there are several tips on how to give constructive criticism:

  1. Think about why you are giving criticism
  2. Set new, positive goals rather than reprimanding missed ones
  3. Set goals that are specific and challenging
  4. Don’t make it personal

According to Entrepreneur, there are several tips on how to handle constructive criticism:

  1. Don’t take it personally
  2. Ask for specifics
  3. Solicit help
  4. Share your progress

As you may see, the tips related to giving and receiving constructive criticism are quite similar. The main goal for constructive criticism is helping others improve in their craft. Be a feedback mirror.

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