No one enjoys being wrong or when they make a mistake. But since we all make mistakes and many times when we are wrong – there is almost always someone around to point them out – getting criticized can be very stressful.
Learning to deal with criticism can be very helpful when it comes to anger management. Many times the hardest criticism to hear is the one that has a little bit of truth to it or one that we fear is a bit true. This can be difficult to face and we may become defensive because a nerve has been hit. Someone may even question our motive for our behavior – and this can really take us off our even keel. In both of these situations if there is any truth to the criticism, it is an opportunity for us to grow, change or modify ourselves – as long as we are able to avoid becoming defensive. If there is no truth to the criticism we need to remember that there is always going to be someone who has an agenda and is ready to criticize not just us but anybody or anything. We need to learn to brush it off and not let it affect us.
Learning to deal with the stress of criticism also includes our ability to consider the source of the criticism. Have you ever noticed that the person who has children who misbehave all the time wants to give parenting advice?, or the guy who is always broke wants to give financial advice? Consider the source, when those kind of people are being critical. It never hurts to hear them out, but to do so and take it personally may become too stressful, resulting in an angry mood.
Finally, be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, take responsibility for the mistakes we make by 1. admit them, 2. apologize, 3. see if there is a way of fixing them – but do not beat yourself up over them. Doing so really takes the stress off. We begin to view our mistakes as learning experiences and we can do better the next time.
There you have three steps to dealing with criticism that comes from the well intentioned, to those with bad motives to criticizing ourselves. Thinking about this ahead of time will protect us from losing control of our anger due to criticism.