Have you ever faced a really tough bout of criticism? It left you with your head hanging low and your tears falling softly. Somehow, you didn’t feel as though it was a personal attack, but that didn’t take any of the sting away. We’re only human and, at that, often sensitive creatures.

Yet, criticism can take us to higher levels. Without it, we run the risk of remaining stagnant. Walking in our own shoes day after day, we sometimes lack the objectivity that’s required for personal growth. A couple rough bouts with criticism can refine our rough edges, if we allow it. Mind if we take a walk through the graceful steps of acceptance together?

First, listen up

“Who does she think she is? Ugh, she’s probably miserable all the time.” Whatever your first trains of thought are; stop them! Our initial reactions are just a response to the pain. Take it back a step and really listen to what you’re being told. If you’re being honest, you’ll know if there is any truth to the sentiment being offered.

Then, seek out the positives

This criticism is coming from somewhere. Aside from a terrible, jealous human being who only wants to see you suffer (that’s a whole different kind of article), listen to this newly proposed side of the coin. Jot down some points that popped out as being possibly true. Work on finding ways to ensure those missteps never happen again. The helpful parts can even turn into future goals!

Own it, girl

Be one of those tirelessly confident ladies. “Yeah. I did that. And??” Being practically perfect in every way is easy to love. Being flawed and still loving yourself is an amazing attribute. If we blame-shift or attempt a cover-up, we’re robbing ourselves of golden opportunities for personal growth. In order to get there, we need to examine our inner selves and polish up some of our dustier corners.

Be grateful

Say thank you! Whether you do it to their face or internally, say thank you to the person who opened your eyes to some piece of yourself that you were not capable of identifying – or willing to identify. Don’t ever allow yourself to be a doormat, needlessly chastised left and right. But, in these valuable moments of criticism, say thank you because you are about to develop just a little bit more brightly. What an excellent excuse to turn this momentary misstep into a chance for improvement!

Move on and up

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” is that friendly reminder my best friend offers up whenever I come to her with my tail between my legs.  Receiving criticism leaves a temporary scorch on the soul. Once you’ve iced it down, do a little something for yourself. Grab a cup of ice cream; allow yourself to watch that TV show that you’d normally hold off on ’til the weekend. Just keep an eye on yourself and maintain a certain perspective on the situation. Don’t go too far off the deep end, into a full-scale pity party.

Criticism is the friendly neighbor to mistakes. It’s nice to catch our own mistakes and quietly dust ourselves off without anyone noticing. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way life goes. When someone else catches it for us, stop that initial reaction to the pain, consider that they just may be right, own it, and then be good to yourself. It’s all a part of life, and she’s a sweet, sweet prism of unexpected angles and colorful delights. Cheers to taking criticism with grace and gratitude. Every step is one step closer to the best YOU!

Feature photo:Edu Lauton / Unsplash