Back in college, I was heavily involved in school politics. Whether in college or the “real world”, anyone in public is subject to opinions that are not always complimentary. In those days, I was prone to taking this type of criticism personally. Very personally!
I’d often complain to my friends, Bruce and Joe about this “unfair treatment.”
At the time, Bruce was President of the college’s Student Government Association and Joe was Senate Chair. One thing I really admired about them both was that they didn’t seem to mind criticism that would come their way. I found that quite fascinating, because it surely bothered me!
Whenever I’d moan about it, Joe used to simply say, “Bob, consider the source!”
In other words, before getting upset, determine how much weight you should even give this person’s opinion.
Actually, considering the source of the criticism is a good idea at both ends of the spectrum. When receiving disturbing feedback, if the source has said similar things that were nonsensical or baseless, we can pretty much “chalk it up” to a pattern and not pay it a whole lot of attention. (Unless, of course, he or she has a valid point.)
On the other hand, if you know the source to be rational and clear-thinking, and if you’ve previously agreed with some of their other thoughts, now it might be productive to “consider the source” differently. Perhaps their critique should be given thoughtful attention. Not that you have to agree, but a look from their viewpoint might turn out to be very helpful.
Even if you were to take someone’s criticism seriously, you still do not need to take it personally. Those are two different concepts. Either way, this is an excellent opportunity for practice. First, practice determining whether the criticism is worth taking seriously. If it is, act accordingly and be prepared to make changes. Secondly, you can practice not taking it personally, regardless of the first part.
Either way…consider the source!
How do you do in that regard?