Criticism: Destructive vs. Constructive

Previously from the category On Life


Throughout your life, no matter where you are, or even who you are, you’re going to feel criticism on a daily basis. This is a fact of life, whether you are being criticized or not. Only you can help whether or not you feel criticized on the inside, simply because it’s an internal force.

If on the other hand you are judged openly on the external side of the spectrum and have the evidence staring you in the face, it’s probably a good idea to try and separate the judgment into two categories: constructive and destructive criticism.

Criticism can take many forms as well as hit certain gray areas if you’re not open to interpretation. It will wear your willpower down if you aren’t careful.

In regards to this, this post will discuss the differences between both types and how you can benefit from those who are willing to offer great constructive criticism as well as how to purge the negativity from your common groups of friends, family, and peers for good.

Recognizing the Difference

            As I said before, sometimes certain critiques will fall into a large gray area, but with the more experience you have in dealing with criticism, the smaller that gray area will become over time.

Constructive criticism is something that should never be taken for granted when you’re in the midst of doing something you love or even something important. This criticism will always consist of having your shortcomings brought to light, whether you knew you had them or not, but followed by great advice on how you can change, amend, or make up for that shortcoming.

Destructive criticism, on the other hand, is nothing past someone calling you out on a shortcoming. It’s true that sometimes it’s easy to misinterpret constructive criticism for destructive, but when you’re hearing true destructive criticism, sometimes you can simply tell by the vindictive or sarcastic tone in the other’s voice.


Handling Criticism

            Being criticized only gets easier with time. The more experience you have in dealing with it, the easier it will be to take into consideration what kind of criticism you’re dealing with. Whether it’s good or bad, criticism often cuts us deep because at the end of the day we’re all only human, but it’s good to accept how you feel on all accounts when someone offers you their critiques. Understanding yourself during this vulnerable state of mindfulness will help you get a better understanding of how you’ll deal when the next encounter with a critique comes along. It’s mental tempering at its finest.

You should understand that it’s up to you whether or not to take any amount of criticism; be it good or bad, having the ability to sort what criticism is taken into account and which are written off will become a big determining factor in how you’ll perceive almost anything in your daily life, both for better and worse.


The Gray Area

Let’s revisit the gray area for a minute. Early on in your life, especially when going through your teens and early adulthood, you’re going to have a lot of people giving you ‘personal advice’. This advice, in many ways, is a form of criticism. Sometimes this advice is good or bad; sometimes it falls into that big gray area, along with lots of other criticism. At this point, there are a few things you can do in order to sort them:

1) Ask yourself if this is someone who has gone through the same experience before. If not, it’s probably not worth your time.

2) If they haven’t gone through the same experience, ask yourself if they’re someone who normally helps you with things in an encouraging way, even if they haven’t experienced such things before.

3) If the first two don’t apply, ask yourself if this person seems to practice sympathy often by their demeanor.

There are probably thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of these small questions to live by, but they’re all things that come with the experiences of dealing with criticism throughout all areas of your life, whether good or bad. Hence, they cannot be taught in a classroom (or a blog post), but simply learned through experience.

If there’s something to take away from criticism in the sense of ‘expanding your mind’, simply remember this: the more your gray area is slimmed down, the quicker you’ll be able to decide whether the critique will be used to better yourself in the long run or purge it from your life. If some of the more destructive criticism is coming from the same person, I would recommend taking into consideration the idea of purging them as well.

How Can You Benefit From Both

            The benefits of having criticism in your life are important to understand as well as take into consideration if you want to grow as an individual.

All the bad criticism will help you understand that there are many more people in this world that want to complain about you and your standings rather than take a long look at themselves. These people have no business in your life, and the sooner you see this for yourself and make the decision, the better off you’ll be.

The good criticism you’ll receive will be rare; however, when you receive good constructive criticism, it’s like having a three-for-one deal. First, you get the advice itself to pass onto someone else in the future. Next, you get to use the advice to carve a better version of yourself. And lastly, you’ll know that the person who was willing to give you that advice is likely to give you helpful advice again in the future and are looking out for your best interest.

When it comes to making the right deviations and picking the best criticism for yourself throughout your journey, just remember that it’s never easy for anyone to start what’s difficult, but choosing to make those difficult decisions and molding yourself using the good criticism you have today, tossing the destructive aside, will turn you into the person you want to be tomorrow.

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