Inquiring Minds: Why criticism is absolutely necessary and how to respond to it
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2007
Updated: Saturday, September 12, 2009 12:09
Criticism is a good thing. In fact, if it ruffles your feathers, it's probably something you should be reflecting on.
Criticism is often hard to hear, especially when it is couched in harsh terms or anger, and few people respond well to things they don't want to hear about themselves. Whether it be criticism from a professor on a paper or from a friend, sometimes it is hard to take.
But criticism is an everyday part of life and has the potential to shape us in positive directions as students and as people. We need to use it as a tool to better ourselves.
Of course, not all criticism is truth-based. But even false criticism can help us to understand the ways that other people perceive us, and before dismissing a critical remark as false, we ought to take it as a chance to think about certain aspects of our life.
We sometimes tend to be blind to our weak spots, to those parts of our character and actions that need changing, and it is only after we hear what others think that we can truly discover what we need to change or improve upon.
The problem is that we often take offense to criticism and feel under attack when someone questions us. We are afraid to be seen as imperfect.
However, we are not perfect, and it's important to remember that. We are all innately human and thus subject to error. Therefore, someone else might have better authority, and their criticism might actually be rather helpful.
That doesn't mean that it is easy to take.
But as the proverb goes, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
A positive response to criticism is the only effective way to learn how to better ourselves.
Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.