Writing Prompts: Do you respond well to criticism?  Why or why not?

To offer a cop-out answer, this entirely depends upon context. The exact nature of the criticism, and the manner it’s delivered, very-much affect how it’s received and responded to.

I have in the past received what I regard as stinging, and unnecessarily cruel ‘criticisms’ from the radical religious right peanut gallery. Needless to say, the lack of constructive effort from the peanut gallery leads me to not take their criticisms (which are nothing more than insults) seriously.

Criticism should have a purpose. It should be used with the intent of gently helping someone to realise they’ve made a mistake, or to understand how to improve. The sort of deeply personal, blunt criticisms – especially in the form of unsolicited opinions (such as telling a stranger they need to lose weight) – can be quite wounding. They are in fact less criticisms, and more insults.

There’s no escaping the fact that no one likes criticism, and it’s more or less impossible to take it cheerfully. After all, who enjoys being told they’ve done something wrong? Who likes being told they can improve? Back in July, I received the news that I was underperforming with sales at work. This naturally wasn’t pleasing, but the manner in which that criticism was delivered was professional, and it served as a shot in the arm. The criticism was presented as a challenge for me to meet, and I met it. The rabid peanut gallery’s ‘criticism’ is best ignored for the vapid, mindless, cruel attitude it represents serves no practical purpose.

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