As Featured on News Cult: How to Take Criticism

First of all, whoever is criticizing you is obviously a bumbling idiot. But just because they’re clearly misguided doesn’t mean they’ll shut their trap hole and keep it to themselves. So you have to be able to take criticism with the grace of a swan, and move on with your life without getting hung up on it to the point of shame spiraling. No stranger to critique and the shame-spiral, myself, I feel I am uniquely qualified to give you some tips on how to handle being criticized. Here they are.

First, spit in your critic’s face

It is imperative to establish the power dynamic immediately—otherwise, the dolt who dared utter negative words about you to you will think they’re the dominant one, and before you know it, they’ll be humping your leg while stealing your lunch money. We’re setting a tone, here, people.

Then ask them for a one-page defense of their stance

Typed and single-spaced, of course. You’ll wait… If they’re going to criticize you, they’d better be able to back it up. Should they fail to present a solid defense, as they inevitably will, you’ll have the opportunity to obliterate their argument piece by measly piece. I suggest having a red pen on hand so you can mark up their pathetic excuse for an argumentative essay whilst verbally attacking them. And let’s not forget to also make sweeping hand gestures—I find it helpful to imagine you’re walking behind a maddeningly slow person on the street, à la herding cattle.

Consider what they have to say

Mostly so that you can tell them you considered what they had to say when deciding to reject it and proclaim that they can suck thoroughly on a bag of dicks. Now, there is a one in a trillion chance that what they say is true—and we are nothing if not self-aware, humble, always-attempting-to-better-ourselves saints—so don’t completely write off what is most likely rubbish spewing from their pie hole; it could most definitely not be a learning opportunity.

Remember that you are the captain of your fate

Meaning that despite what they say—despite what anyone says—you ultimately get to decide how to be, act, think, and value/evaluate yourself (or not). So take their criticism with a grain of salt. And chuck that grain of salt right the fuck over your shoulder so it turns into good luck. People will say shit they shouldn’t, be nosy where they shouldn’t, and be mean when they shouldn’t, so you can’t put too much value into their words. Don’t take this to the extreme and become a narcissist, though—as we’ve seen in cases like the “affluenza” teen and Donald Trump, a lack of regard for rational and realistic thinking can lead to disastrous consequences… and hair.

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