Saturday, 2 December, 2023

Shun Negative Criticism

Bini Dahal

Criticisms are a part of our life. No individual can be hundred per cent correct in everything that they do. At times, someone who is always running high on success might not be able to identify his or her mistakes. This is when criticism can become a reality check for them.
Maybe, it is the socio-cultural orientation of the Nepali society, but almost everyone is found to be a critic here. We are made to believe that the harshest of words can help a person grow in the most beautiful manner. But there is also a different perspective to this. Not everyone can take criticisms lightly. So, growth is not always guaranteed. Rather it can have a negative effect on the recipient’s psyche.

Let’s take an example of a school setup. Suppose, a hardworking student receives grades from the teacher. He finds the teacher making slight mistakes during evaluation, thus giving a low score. If the student honestly opens up to the teacher, it is the responsibility of the latter to try communicating and clearing out things properly. On the contrary, let’s say the teacher acts defensive and reacts negatively. This can make the student feel low and attacked.

The above example is a clear indication of two types of criticisms -- constructive and destructive. While constructive criticisms are meant for the welfare and improvement of the recipient, destructive criticisms are negative feedback that can harm and offend them. Like the terminology, destructive criticism is catastrophic. It puts an individual in a situation where he or she cannot question their own worth. In the above example, the student is a constructive critic who wants to make his teacher alert of the mistake made. However, the teacher here is a destructive critic who is trying to put the student down just so that he can prove his own point.

We need to remember that criticism can make or break an individual. As intellectual beings, humans hold the power of choice. The critic should always be mindful while making use of their words. Pondering over the concept of criticism and its type can help a lot. Not just the giving end, but the receiving end or the recipient should also learn to be conscious in this matter.
Firstly, they should determine whether a given criticism is good or bad. If it is constructive, recipients should carry a growth mindset and work on it. A growth mindset is a thinking process where individuals believe that they can improve through rigorous efforts, proper strategies and inputs from others. Someone who can welcome criticisms will not be discouraged and will continue putting in an extra effort.

But if the criticism is destructive, individuals should minimise any kind of contact with the critic(s). They should respond in a calm and composed manner when listening to harmful feedback. After it comes to an end, it is their own responsibility: whether to forget it or take it up seriously. Because we all have been a critic as well as someone who has received criticism, everyone will be able to relate well to this. We need to push ourselves to rise above bad criticism and feel secure when receiving good criticisms.