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5 Things People with High Emotional Intelligence Do Not Do When Handling Criticism

Nobody likes to be criticized. We all want to be smart, funny, and clever. It hurts to be called out, whether it is for a mistake, a flaw, or a weakness. After all, you do your best, you work hard, and you always try to get it right.

But sometimes we need feedback to improve. Everyone makes mistakes or missteps. Everyone has things they are not good at, so criticism is inevitable. Granted, some people deliver feedback in such a kind way that we are grateful for it, and we resolve to improve right away. Other are not so skilled, and then that feedback creates anger and resentment.

The secret lies in how we manage it. You can choose to be reactive and angry, or you decide to manage it in a much more emotionally intelligent way.

Emotional intelligence means you recognize and acknowledge your emotions, and you know how to manage them. Here are five ways people with emotional intelligence do not react when they are criticized.

1. They Do not Minimize

It is natural to react to criticism by trying to make yourself a smaller target by saying it was not really such a big deal. Do not make that your first reaction. Give yourself some time to analyze whether or not the criticism is valid. If someone thought the issue was important enough to mention, there might be something in there for you to learn from.

2. They Do not Make Excuses

Trying to bluster through criticism will just show that you are thin-skinned or that you are not that interested in doing an excellent job. You do not want to be the person everyone has to tip-toe around in case they upset you. If you made a mistake, own it. Do not try to talk your way around it or deny it. Just face it, apologize for the mistake, fix it, learn from it, and move on.

3. They Do not Rationalize

Similarly, do not try to brandish your way through by rationalizing. People see right through that, and they will not respect you for it. Blustering does not address the real issue. Keep your focus on what really matters, what you are trying to achieve, and how to get there. See the criticism as helpful to change course.

4. They Do not Shift the Blame

Taking responsibility for your mistakes is what adults do. Immature people, especially children and teenagers, will often try to shift the blame onto someone else – the “my dog ate my homework’ excuse. Emotionally intelligent adults own up to their responsibilities, including mistakes and failures.

5. They Do not Try to Weasel Out of Tough Conversations

How you manage a criticism reflects your commitment to improvement. People with high emotional intelligence swallow their pride, acknowledge what went wrong, and try to figure out how to do better in the future. Seeing the feedback as a learning opportunity is tough, but it also gives us a chance to work through the issue with a different perspective. Instead of reacting defensively, ask your critic for advice on how to do better.

People with high emotional intelligence see valid criticism as an opportunity to improve. They are confident enough to know that everyone is a work-in-progress, and they are open to growth and getting better, even if that criticism is delivered in an abrupt way.


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