There can be all sorts of reasons for this:
– Maybe they disagree with the choices and decisions you have made in your life or work.
– Maybe they don’t like your work.
– Maybe they don’t like you.
– Maybe they have listened to untrue stories about you and have appointed themselves judge and jury on the matter.
– Maybe they have made assumptions about you and have chosen to attack you as if those assumptions are true.
Whatever the reason you are experiencing unconstructive criticism or a personal attack, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you deal with it:
It isn’t actually about you so don’t take it personally.
When someone launches a personal attack on you with unconstructive criticism keep in mind that it isn’t actually about you at all. It is about them. It is about their poor, unhealthy and inappropriate communication style. It is about their standards and level of integrity (or lack of!). It is about their assumptions. It is about how they see the world etc. Some people will approach a situation in a healthy constructive way, some people don’t. Whatever way people communicate with you is about who they are and not about you at all. So don’t take it personally.
Be careful who you listen to.
Unconstructive criticism has no value other than the value you give to it. So choose wisely who you listen to and what value you give to what they say. You can read more on this in this article -> Be Careful Who You Listen To.
Always maintain your own dignity, integrity and personal standards.
Don’t allow yourself to get sucked down to other people’s low standards of communication. Always operate from a position of dignity, integrity and uphold your personal standards and values.
Set strong boundaries
You get to choose what you are willing to engage in and what you won’t. You get to choose what is OK in your space and what isn’t. Choosing not to engage with people who want to force their unconstructive criticism and personal attacks upon you is OK. It is YOUR choice. Set strong boundaries that reflect your choices, protect yourself and that honour your values.
Don’t feed the toxic cycle.
Be careful that what you do in response to a personal attack or toxic communication doesn’t feed the unhealthy cycle and open you up to more of the same. Choose your response wisely keeping in mind that in some circumstances no response might be the best response.
Keep this in mind:
You do not need anyone else’s permission or approval for what you are not willing to tolerate in your life and work.
So the next time you in the firing line of someones unconstructive criticism and personal attacks, remember:
You can’t always choose what happens to you. But you can always choose how you respond.
I would love to hear your experiences on dealing with unconstructive criticism. Please share in the comments section below.