How to Keep Your Confidence in the Midst of Criticism

We often take a judgement and attempt to cram it into our identity

How do you respond to criticism? Reflecting on this question offers you the opportunity consider how outside influences define your worth, value and capability which will either result in inner peace and confidence or stress and low self-esteem.

Did you know an opinion is simply information offered to you by another person based on his or her perspectives, conclusions and assumptions? As you choose to collect information that has value to your own personal growth and development, confidence in the midst of criticism helps you find your way.

The next time criticism is thrown your way, pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself:

  • In this moment, what guidance does this present and is this feedback aligned with the person I strive to be?
  • Am I forgetting that I can keep what fits and return to sender what doesn’t?

Have you ever worked on a puzzle?

If you grab a piece of grass and attempt to fit it into the sky, the end result is frustration. Yet, we do this frequently in our lives when it comes to opinions. We will take a judgement and attempt to cram it into our identity without first reflecting on its shape and size to see if it fits with the person we know ourselves to be.

For example, let’s say you order an outfit on Amazon and the shirt and shoes fit perfectly but the pants are too tight. Do you forfeit comfort in light of the hassle it will take to return the pants for the right size?

During a recent Keynote, I asked the audience how many people would just opt out of going through the return-to-sender protocol and keep the tight pants. Close to 50 percent of the audience said they would keep the tight pants to avoid the aggravation. How many of us keep opinions that don’t fit to avoid the trouble of stepping into dialogue and returning opinions that don’t align with our identity?

When you keep an opinion that doesn’t fit, you will hunt and gather for information that sticks to the false evidence. Similar to wearing tight pants that don’t fit, the result is discomfort and restriction.

As you practice your ability to deflect that which does not serve you, you increase your confidence and your ability to successfully handle criticism.


  • Ask yourself: “Is this mine or someone else’s?” Many times, denunciation is the result of someone else’s insecurities. Just as you would send back an item that does not fit, go for comfort over inconvenience: Shake it off and move on.
  • Be quick to return items that don’t fit.
  • When harsh commentary flies your way, pause and ask yourself: “Does this piece of information align with the person I know myself to be?” Either way, the opinion contains a learning and growth opportunity.

When a sender delivers you a message that has ugly packaging – shaming, negative intonation, unkind words – it is entirely possible the content within the message offers you a valuable chance to look within.

For example, let’s say you show up late to a meeting. After, your manager flips out, accusing you of being rude and insensitive to others who are on time for the meeting. Perhaps, there is valuable content hidden in a poor delivery that can offer you the chance for positive change.

Sift through the junk and grab ahold of the gem. Keep what fits and speak your truth in love.

The opinions of others are power-house learning opportunities to identify and adjust behaviors that do not align with our core values.

Categories: Human Resources