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How to Accept Criticism Without Attachment

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Accepting Criticism Without Attachment

I don’t care how Zen we consider ourselves or we think we are above that sort of thing, no one likes to receive criticism. Even the good constructive criticism (which is rarely the case) causes our defenses to go up, our self-esteem to flinch and our egos to instinctively rise in self-defense.

If we have learned the art of non-attachment of the good opinions of others, it definitely goes down easier but few have mastered the initial reaction of being offended, outraged, hurt, judgmental, making excuses or blame. It is definitely an experience of growth and what you do with it and how you react, whether it be within a minute, an hour, a few days or weeks, you honor the information and move on. Knowing that possibly they may be right or most importantly, your opinion and value of yourself is what is most important.

Checking out what some of the professionals have to say about dealing with personal criticism, here are some tips to help keep that initial ego’s first reaction of anger and defense.

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  1. Take a minute before you react to a remark or criticism. Even if you have to say “excuse me for a minute” and then come back after giving it some thought. Your ego will want to lash out or try and make your shrink in size but a moment of head clarity will allow you to respect yourself and the other persons right to have theirs too.
  2. Try to turn any negative remark into something positive in your favor. It takes some learning but it can stop a critic in their tracks. For example: “I am not particularly fond of the color you dyed your hair, you look like you are blue Smurf.” Your answer would be: “Well, then it is good thing you are not wearing it because I like it!” And so what, if you look like a Smurf with your blue streaks, you had fun!
  3. Be gracious to your critic. Even if someone is harsh and rude, thank them for their opinion. It will catch them off guard and may make them think about how they delivered their insight to you. They might have been having a bad day or maybe they’re just a negative person in general.
  4. Learn from the criticism. Don’t shoot the messenger, there may be some constructive truth in their statements that you can use to your advantage. If it just mean talk, it’s then filed in the worthless area of your opinion of yourself.
  5. Try and be the bigger person. If you feel you have been attacked by a criticizer, you are stooping to their level if you automatically attack back. Too many times we take criticism as a personal attack, as an insult to who we are. Sometimes it will, but most of time it is a criticism of your actions, not your person. If you do that, you can detach yourself from the criticism emotionally and see what should be done.
  6. Really, really listen respectfully to what is being said to you in criticism. Don’t interrupt nor try to defend yourself while the information is being shared. That way, you have the opportunity to get in a calm place and actually hear what is being said versus it ending up being a defensive conversation or a shouting match.
  7. Be sure you understand fully what has been shared with you. You don’t have to accept blame or responsibility for something that doesn’t make sense or that isn’t clear. You then have the opportunity to change incorrect information and/or tell your side of the story or opinion.
  8. Acknowledge the criticizer’s point of view. Everyone has a right to their own opinion about you or what you have done but that does not make them correct. Your opinion of the situation is what is most important but be open minded.
  9. Don’t get defensive right away. We all sometimes do and say stupid things and sometimes are wrongly accused of doing things we didn’t do. Sort out the information, what feels true to you (even if it pisses you off), stand your ground. If you protest too loudly on an issue, there may be some truth to it and you might want to look at it.
  10. Avoid escalating a point of criticism. By that I mean by firing one back or one better, at the person who has criticized you. Stay on the issue and try not to turn it around to be about the person who is doing the criticizing.
    It helps to realize that you have a valuable opportunity to learn from a seemingly negative output. Sometimes our best life lessons and growth come from hearing just what we don’t want to hear.

Susan Z’s Verdict

Criticism is always hard to hear, even if it is coming from someone who has your best interests at heart. Hard not to take personally, we question ourselves, go to anger or defense or start judging and blaming the critic. It takes practice but the secret is always in terms of having a good opinion of ourselves and liking ourselves enough to not take someone else’s word for being less than.


Considering getting a psychic reading? We have carefully screened and selected a range of gifted, compassionate psychic readers to provide clarity and new insights into your life. Online psychics available 24/7.

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Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine. (life cycles) Learn more at her website: www.szrwhitewings.com

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