Social anxiety is a condition that affects millions of people, but not being able to handle rejection can make it difficult for individuals with social anxiety to pursue their goals. Because it’s an issue that impacts many people, the following article will go over different strategies for how to respond when you are criticized or receive rejection.
Understanding Criticism and Rejection
Criticism is something people deal with every day; whether it be at work or in their personal lives. The key to responding to criticism and rejection is understanding that our motivations behind what we say and do can be very different from others, and this makes it difficult for us to respond without feeling rejected.
Before we delve into strategies for responding to criticism, we need to understand what the real reasons are behind criticism and rejection.
First, let’s start with the simple “I didn’t like what you said” response:
“I didn’t like what you said — I’m not going to try and change your mind because I don’t agree with it.” The first reaction is often one of trying to make the other person see reason or change their opinion. This can be very frustrating because it is not our intention to change people’s minds, just to help them understand why we think the way we do.
The second reaction is more subtle than the first. Instead of stating that you didn’t like something, some people will say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way”, “You probably have a good point”, or “I didn’t mean to offend you.” These are all responses designed to make someone feel better about their feelings and make you feel good about yours. They are not meant to make you feel bad or correct your opinion.
The bottom line is that negative criticism will always push us away from the other person. It’s a natural response to feel that way when someone points out our faults or mistakes. Yet most people believe that being critical of others will serve a positive purpose in improving the situation. But oftentimes, it can have the exact opposite effect, and hurt both parties involved.
The key here is to focus on the positive side of a situation rather than the negative. Be careful with what you say and make sure it’s constructive criticism — one that helps people improve rather than point out flaws and put down others. Receive criticism and rejection with kindness and understanding
Being critical or giving negative criticism to others can be difficult because we know we’ll hurt their feelings. But if we approach the situation with kindness and understanding, we will get a much better response than if we were to criticize people’s shortcomings.
If someone criticizes our idea, don’t get defensive and tell them how stupid they are for saying that. Instead, let them know when you think it is a good idea, put it in your own words, and ask what else they see that could be improved upon. In other words, express yourself fully without trying to deflect blame onto others or making their mistake an excuse for you to do the same thing in the future.
Fear of rejection
Fear plays a very important role in criticism and rejection. For instance, let’s say you’re out with some friends at a party. One of your friends has been drinking too much, and he makes a scene in front of everyone by telling jokes that aren’t funny. In the past, you would have made fun of him for this but decided to tone it down so you wouldn’t come off as mean-spirited or rude.
Now, this may not be a problem if you’re with close friends who always make fun of one another. However, if you were with people who would get offended or angry at such comments, you may want to consider what would happen if we stopped putting him down and supported him instead. It’s hard to approach people in person and give them constructive criticism after they’ve done something unprofessional.
However, the easiest way to get over this fear of criticism is to start giving people constructive criticism on a more personal level. Instead of commenting on why something isn’t funny (“That wasn’t funny at all”), tell them what you do like about it (“I like how it was offbeat”).
Responding to criticisms
When we’re the subject of negative criticism, there are a number of responses we can have.
Refuse to answer
The easiest way to deal with criticism is to ignore it. Most people will want to know why someone chose not to join a certain group or chose a different school or job than they did. When asked this question, always say you don’t feel comfortable talking about it and how hard it is for you to talk about these things on the phone.
Make excuses for why you didn’t like the criticism
This might be an easier way of dealing with negative criticism but isn’t very constructive because it’s all about making excuses rather than taking accountability. When you refuse to accept your faults or mistakes, it’s hard to grow as a person because you’re always living in denial.
The best way to deal with criticism is to fully accept it and acknowledge how you can improve yourself. Also, if people are being critical, they’ll know that you’re aware of their opinion and won’t feel bad about voicing their concerns.
This works especially well in the workplace when people are honest with one another about how things are being done. They can have easy access to all the information by simply looking at the person who is doing the task rather than hearing personal complaints about how it should be done.
Use humor to deflect criticism if you’re being criticized by someone else.
Most people are able to see the funny side of things when you’re being critical about their habits or behavior. For instance, if someone criticizes how you dress, you could say something like, “Well, I did get dressed this morning.”
A good thing to do with negative criticism is to pretend it’s a joke instead of taking it all seriously. It’s hard for most people to be criticized on a personal level so they will need time to digest all your comments before they can reflect on them in a positive way.
If people make fun of you for your mistakes or bad habits, don’t believe them and use humor as a defence mechanism. It’s a good way of diffusing the situation because you’ll be able to laugh it off rather than have someone feel bad for saying something negative about you.
Don’t take it personally
This is more of a general tip, but if someone is being critical of your actions, always remember that they would do the same thing if they were in your shoes. In other words, don’t take it too personally when people have a problem with some of the decisions you’ve made in your life. Don’t feel bad about some decisions and stick with what works for you even when others think they’re “wrong”.
Talk about your challenges or failures with positive people
If you feel insecure about a certain decision you’ve made in the past, talk about it with someone you can trust. This person should have a positive outlook on life and will be able to lift your spirits when you’re down in the dumps.
You can also talk about these issues with a professional therapist or coach if you have severe doubts about how your life is turning out. Sometimes, people go to these professionals because they’re the only ones who can offer outside advice on how to deal with certain situations.
By talking about your problems with positive people or professionals, you can gain an objective point of view on things and learn to accept the fact that nobody is perfect.
If you don’t deal with your problems properly, they will continue to haunt you for years and possibly affect your future relationships.
Give yourself enough time to think things over
Before jumping into a situation or making an important decision, it’s important that you think it over. If you’ve just been criticized for losing your temper during a job interview or an argument with someone close, spend some time alone so you can reflect upon what happened.
Depending on the urgency of the situation, you might be able to go ahead with it after two or three days. If you do act rashly, there’s always a chance that your negative actions will make you regret it later on.
For instance, if your friend tells you he hates your new haircut and you went ahead and cut it anyway, don’t make too many decisions without giving them time to simmer in your thoughts first. By waiting for at least two days before making any big decisions, it will give you time to consider all the pros and cons of each option. Don’t get defensive when someone criticizes you.
If people are trying to criticize you, they’ll want to know what’s wrong with their argument. Rather than pointing out the mistake, they’ve made, instead, just acknowledge it and tell them why it works for you. This way, you can avoid getting into an argument with them and focus on the logic of your case instead of defending yourself.
Trust that your friends will not play more than one side of the story
Once you’ve explained your actions to someone who is criticizing you, they should believe what you told them. But if this person keeps questioning you about how things happened, there’s a chance they’ll be more balanced in their assessment of the situation.
So, if your ex-boyfriend keeps calling you to get the full story of what happened, don’t give it to him because he can easily twist your words and make you look like the bad guy. If you feel hurt by what someone has said, be careful about how it will affect your future relationships.
It’s very important that you don’t hold grudges against people who criticize you because they’re only saying these things to get a reaction out of you. If someone tells you that your boyfriend is cheating on you, take their opinion into consideration but don’t let it affect how well he treats you in future.
Do this even if they have lied before or have a history of being unreliable. By trusting your instincts and being more confident in yourself, you can have more influence on these situations.
If you feel hurt by what someone has said to you, spend time with a loved one so they can reassure you about how things are going to be okay. Stay away from bad influences that will only bring your spirits down.
Negative criticism is more of a challenge if it comes from people who have already proven themselves untrustworthy or unreliable. In this case, it’s best to avoid them altogether so they don’t get a chance to hurt your feelings.
Staying away from them will also help you concentrate on your goals and think carefully about how you want to live your life in the future. If you feel insecure about a certain choice you’ve made, do more research on the matter.
If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, don’t jump into it until you’ve done proper research. There’s nothing wrong with researching different aspects of your life to avoid making hasty decisions that can affect your chances of success in the future.
Don’t degrade yourself or act as a martyr for the sake of not getting criticized by others again. Make sure people see your true self and accept you for who you are rather than taking their criticism personally.
If they like the person they see under your shell, they’ll be more likely to accept your differences and help support them rather than pick apart everything that is “wrong” with yourself.