When the emphasis of criticism is negative, it can be destructive, punitive, and alienating. Being bulldozed by a drive-by criticism can take your breath away and leave you feeling shamed and misunderstood. Can criticism ever be healthy?
It’s entirely possible to give and receive criticism in ways that are healthy and supportive. It’s isn’t so much about what you say that matters; it’s how you say it.
Giving and taking healthy criticism is all about the delivery. Leave negative emotions aside and look for the benefits of what is being shared.
Healthy Benefits of Giving Criticism
There are healthy benefits to offering criticism. First off, labeling the criticism as feedback helps. Feedback can include positive and negative information. Given the right way, even derogatory information can be helpful.
Some of the benefits to giving criticism are:
- Helping improve a situation
- Stopping destructive behavior
Criticism is beneficial when it can improve a situation. Pointing out safety issues, remedying a problem, or offering a solution can help. Though the feedback may be critical of a situation, behavior, or practice, it is in service to the person being critiqued.
Healthy Benefits of Receiving Criticism
There are equally healthy benefits for receiving criticism. In the same way, your opinion and feedback to someone else might help them, and theirs might help you. Having the right frame of mind can make receiving criticism a blessing rather than a curse.
Some benefits are:
- Preventing loss or embarrassment
- Increased self-awareness
Criticism is beneficial when it helps you prevent loss or embarrassment. Sometimes a neutral person or even someone who’s fired up can alert you to a practice, behavior, or situation that isn’t in your best interest. Also, criticism can help you become more self-aware. Seeing yourself or something you’re doing through someone else’s eyes can help you have an aha moment, making you more aware of your impact.
Criticism can be very healthy if it’s delivered by trustworthy people who have the best interest of the situation at heart. Sure, you can get random criticism that can tip you off that you need to make changes, but most times, it only causes defensive reactions. Hearing tough truths from helpful people really can make a difference. Being this sort of person for others will make a difference in someone else’s life, and listening to this sort of person will make a difference in your life too!