Dealing with critical people when trying to live a positive life can be challenging. And in today’s world, criticism has taken on a life of its own, spreading like wildfire.  Who would have thought that we would be discussing individuals who have been canceled?  Why them and not others?  Why you?   

We’ve all been on the receiving end, right?  I can remember several times over the years that the sting of someone else’s opinion made me doubt my own self-worth and even retreat from my path.  And I will be honest…perhaps some of the criticism was warranted. But I did realize that we all have the power to accept what is constructive, discard what is not, and keep growing and learning. Here are some strategies to help you handle critical individuals while staying true to your positive mindset: 

Maintain Self-Awareness: Start by understanding your triggers and reactions when faced with criticism. Do you immediately get your back up, or do you instantly believe what the person is saying? Self-awareness allows you to manage your emotions and respond more effectively. 

Empathize and Understand: This takes practice and maturity.  But to live a beautiful and positive life, we must always seek to understand, even when the message hurts. Try to see things from the critical person’s perspective. They might be going through their challenges or frustrations, which can lead to negative comments. Understanding their viewpoint can help you respond with empathy. 

Stay Calm and Composed: Responding defensively or with anger will likely escalate the situation. Practice staying calm and composed when faced with criticism. Take deep breaths and pause before responding. And depending on the situation, sometimes walking away and using the 24-hour rule is best.   

Choose Your Battles: Not every criticism requires a response. Evaluate whether the complaint is constructive or merely intended to provoke. It’s often best to ignore unwarranted negativity. I remember attending a Wayne Dyer writing conference, and when talking about criticism and our response, he said, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked that question when faced with negativity.   

Respond Positively: When criticism is constructive, thank the person for their input and let them know that you value their perspective. Express your willingness to learn and grow. This takes practice and humility, but we cannot grow in isolation.   

Set Boundaries: Sometimes, you can find yourself in a simply unhealthy situation.  It may be a workplace, a friend group, or a home.  If the criticism becomes too harsh or frequent, setting boundaries is essential. Politely but firmly let the person know that their comments are not welcome.  If that does not improve the situation, you have the power and the right to set good boundaries for you.   

Surround Yourself with Positivity: Spend time with people who uplift and support you. Positive relationships can help counteract the effects of critical individuals in your life. 

Focus on Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities such as meditation, exercise, and hobbies that bring you joy. When you care for your well-being, you’ll be better equipped to handle criticism gracefully. 

Practice Positive Self-Talk: Strengthen your inner resilience by practicing positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your worth and the progress you’re making in your positive journey. 

Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist if you’re struggling to cope with critical people, even if the critical person is you. They can provide guidance and a listening ear. 

Forgive and Let Go: Holding onto grudges or negative emotions from criticism can hinder your positive journey. Practice forgiveness and let go of the negativity to free yourself from its impact. Remember that living a positive life is about your own well-being and personal growth. Don’t let critical people derail your progress. Stay focused on your goals and maintain a positive mindset, and over time, you’ll build resilience to negativity while nurturing your own positivity.