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IT'S not always easy being on the receiving end of criticism but how we respond to our critics can have a big impact on our lives.

If we respond defensively, with anger or shame, criticism can seriously hold us back both professionally and personally. On the other hand, responding calmly and objectively can help us achieve our goals and fulfil our potential.

Here are my tips for responding to criticism in a positive way.

DON'T BURY YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND RATHER than trying to ignore criticism altogether, it's important to work out whether criticism is constructive or destructive. When criticism is constructive it raises reasonable points with the aim of helping you in some way.

By comparison, destructive criticism is often unfounded and aims to undermine or hurt the person it's aimed at. If you're struggling to work our whether a criticism is constructive, ask yourself, "Is there anything I can learn from this?" Be honest with yourself in your answer.

TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST SOMETIMES it can be difficult to process criticism objectively, especially if it has made you feel angry or upset. In these situations, discuss it with someone you trust.

Talking it through can help you to separate your emotions from the criticism and work out whether or not the criticism is valid.

USE IT OR LOSE IT USE constructive criticism to help you learn and grow. Bin any criticism that is intended to hurt or demean you.

You can do this by visualising a bin in your mind for dumping malicious criticism. Some people find it helpful to actually write down the criticism on paper, tear it up and throw it away.

IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU WHEN people use destructive criticism this usually tells you a lot more about them than the people it's aimed at.

If you find yourself on the receiving end, tell yourself: "this is about that person's insecurities, not mine."

Finding compassion for those who criticise needlessly is a powerful tool for stopping destructive criticism from getting in your way.

| Dr Ellie Milby is a counselling psychologist


Criticism may not be pleasant, but it can be useful

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 5, 2016
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