Five Ways to Deal with Negative Criticism About Your Work

Martha Lueck
6 min readMar 24, 2021

No matter how well you do something, someone might give you negative criticism. While this criticism can hurt, here are five things you can do to relieve the pain.

Criticism hurts, but there are ways to cope with it.
Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

Many of your actions will elicit a response. Sometimes your work will receive praise; other times, it will receive negative criticism. When someone looks down upon your work, you do not have to let it bring you down. When you feel yourself losing spirit from negative criticism, try doing these five things.

1. Remind Yourself That Criticism Is Not a Reflection of Your Worth

Even though harsh criticism can be hard to hear, it does not define your value as a person.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Many people make the mistake of placing their value in their work. Trust me, I’ve been there. When someone recommends that you change something or redo it, you might think that means you lack skill or intelligence.

To change your way of thinking, always remember that criticism does not define your worth as a person. You have so many positive attributes that make you the person you are. When you feel inadequate, take the time to write down your accomplishments. Then instead of focusing on the criticism, you will see that there is so much more to you and your life.

Guided meditation audio can help to restore self-esteem and handle criticism. If you are a Christian like myself, you might enjoy audio from the app called Abide. If you are not interested in religious meditations, I highly recommend listening to “The Honest Guys” or Jason Stephenson.

2. Practice Self-Care to Relieve Stress

Self-care activities such as yoga can help reset your mind after dealing with criticism. Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

If your critic is someone of high authority like a boss or a teacher, the criticism can affect more than your self-esteem; it can affect your reputation at work or school. Many people punish themselves by using negative self-talk and avoiding fun activities to focus on improvement. However, punishment is counter-productive and exhausting. Practicing self-care is more effective because it relieves stress and distracts you from negative criticism.

As stated before in this article, meditation can improve your self-esteem and relax you. This is one form of self-care. Some other self-care methods include basic human needs to function, such as eating healthy, sleeping well, showering, and exercising.

Some people have no problem with self-care activities, while others struggle to get out of bed. If you struggle with self-care, you can significantly benefit from talking to supportive friends and family members. These people can validate your feelings while providing you with reasons not to believe someone’s criticism. When you know who has your back, you can ask those people to help you practice self-care. Some examples of self-care activities to do with another person include playing games, cooking, watching movies, and cleaning.

3. Take Criticism with a Grain of Salt

Always remember that not all critics are reliable.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Always remember that all critics are different. In fact, some of your critics might not even have the skills required to do your type of work. Here are some possible reasons for negative criticism. By looking for these signs in critics, you will avoid damaging criticism.

  • The critic is jealous of you. They will do their best to make you feel bad so that they can feel better about themselves.
  • You and the critic have a negative relationship. If you have done something to upset the critic, they will make you feel bad to stop you from succeeding at your work.
  • The critic was in a bad mood when commenting on your work. Therefore, the critic might not have realized that they were criticizing you.

The signs in the critics mentioned above can be very difficult to ignore, but doing so will prevent you from believing lies about yourself and your work. It will also allow you to find and appreciate people you can trust with constructive feedback. If you need help dealing with negative critics, seeking the guidance of a mentor or a therapist can be very effective.

4. Consider Helpful Criticism from Reliable Critics

Even though you should not always trust critics, the most helpful ones are reliable and constructive. Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

While a lot of criticism can seem negative, not all of it is intended to be that way. The best critics are trustworthy and helpful. Here are some ways to determine whether your critic is reliable and constructive.

  • The critic has social media sites with many well-known followers and positive post engagements. The critic’s positive reputation gives you some proof that he or she is loyal and trustworthy.
  • The critic points out places where you can improve, but also includes positive feedback. By giving you some positive feedback, you know that this critic does not have intentions of personally attacking you.
  • You know the critic, but not enough for the person to critique your work with a bias. Having a little background information about you can help the critic determine your credentials and skill level when giving you feedback.

5. Notice When Someone Appreciates Your Work

Someone will show appreciation for your hard work. Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Every time a critic makes you wonder if your work is really worth your effort, think about the benefits of it. Do you enjoy what you are doing? If not, are you helping someone else in some way? Someone, somewhere, will notice your efforts and benefit from them. Sure, you might not think you will save someone’s life. But what you do and how you do it could change someone’s life. People are inspired by other people who work hard and show that they care.

Think about this example for a minute. You are standing in line waiting to check out at a grocery store. There is only one lane open, and the person in front of you has a full cart of groceries. The cashier is clearly stressed out. Still, the customer screams at her for not ringing his items up fast enough. But without her presence and ability to do her job, that man would not have walked out of the store with his groceries. If you take a moment to thank the cashier for her assistance, that will validate her hard work. She will know that what she is doing makes a positive difference.

Knowing that your work matters to someone could be a motivator to keep doing your best work in spite of criticism. However, there will be times when people will not be there to give you positive feedback. Writing down examples of when your work has mattered to someone else and why it should matter to you can make a huge difference.

I hope that by now, you are less discouraged by negative criticism. Keep up the hard work, and forget about what other people say. Your work matters, and you are more than enough!



Martha Lueck

Published author | Freelance blogger for | Passionate about mental health and Jesus |