How to be OK with Criticism or Negative Feedback

This Hub (as people at HubPages call the articles posted to the site) started from a question asked on the site.

“What do you tell anti hubbers?”

The first thing that bugged me about the question was “hubbers”. Titles should be capitalized. The second thing that bugged me was the whole attitude of the question. It’s all WRONG!

First, why do we have to live as if everything is us and them?

Second, why is no one allowed to disagree? Why do we put down opinions that don’t agree with our own?

Third, why don’t people listen to criticism and use it to their advantage?

Fourth and lastly, why do people close their minds and then act proud of it? I admit, this attitude of being close minded and proud really annoys me. As if the arrogance isn’t enough; to be proud of being so close minded is just too much!

Turn a Negative into a Positive

I’m only going to write about the third point I made, using negative feedback to your advantage rather than closing your mind to it.

When we first hear something negative we get an instant reaction. Some will rebel or be aggressive, defend ourselves, ignore it and try let it slide off us, deny it all, or some of us hide away in our shell just that much deeper, unable or unwilling to cope with anything someone didn’t like about us or something we are doing. I tend to hide in my shell in that first moment but I have learned to see it differently, though it takes practice.

I won’t pretend it’s easy, but open your mind to the essence of the feedback or the opinion given. If you take out the negative delivery, the part of the comment just meant to cause a fight or hurt your feelings, there could be something of value in what was said. Even opinions which counter our own beliefs and values can have a bit of truth. Take the negative feedback, comment, opinion and use it to your advantage. Open your mind to the possibility that you can improve.

Some negative comments and opinions are a fantastic way to confirm your own ideals and values. My best example of this is from my own life as a Pagan. I do get feedback from other people, in other religions or even people who claim to have no religion or serious spiritual beliefs. Some of the comments are nasty, some are fear driven, some are aggressive and some are well meant. If I just listen to how the comments were delivered I could be offended, upset. But, what really works best is to listen to the comment, the information given. Sometimes the information confirms everything I already believe. Now and then I learn something completely new – that’s what I like best.

Of course, the great thing about listening to people who want to hurt you with their words is to turn it back to them, to surprise them by saying “Thank you” and meaning it. You can bet that confuses them. Unless they are foaming at the mouth, most people will be interested in what you have to say once they see you are actually listening to them. You won’t necessarily change their opinions (and you shouldn’t really try to) but you can start a conversation, have a discussion where both of you will learn a little or a lot and agree to disagree. At the very least, both of you have the opportunity to come away with your mind a bit less closed.

You might even find out you agree more than you disagree. It could be you have been arguing the same point from different sides. Even people from different religions want the same basic things, they just look at it from different points of view. In the end, it’s the big picture that counts. Little things mean a lot but there’s a reason big screen TV’s sell so well compared to the old smaller screens. The big picture shows more and makes a lasting impression.

Turn negative feedback/ comments/ opinions into positive action for yourself. Use new information to better yourself, to confirm you are on the right track or to understand how other people think. In this way you can turn something negative into a positive. A win-win situation for you!

Note: I don’t want to say anything for people who don’t like HubPages. They are welcome to their opinions. You’re a little foolish if you only value people who agree with you. It’s up to each person to listen to what is said and form our own opinion. Use the feedback to our advantage. It doesn’t have to be polite feedback in order to be true or right about things we could change to make HubPages, and our contributions to the site, better.

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