No one enjoys receiving criticism, but it’s a crucial process in growing as a person and improving on your faults. And being open to receiving constructive advice is a trait that many people respect. While human nature is wired to be defensive, follow these steps to help you understand and receive criticism better.

1. Recognise when you’re being defensive

The minute you hear something that goes against what you think of yourself, you start to feel a sense of rage building up inside. But as soon as you notice yourself getting heated up, take a deep breath and try to relax. It’s only natural to tense up when you’re emotional but practicing breathing exercises will help you counteract your emotions.

2. Listen only to understand

When the person standing in front of you is telling you what you can improve on, then listen to them. Don’t interrupt with a counter-argument, and don’t tell them they’re wrong. You may have valid points, but bring them up at another time, not when you’re on the receiving end of constructive advice.

3. Let them know you will continue to think about the conversation

Maybe you might not have come to a resolution but telling the other person that you’ll ponder on their words after the conversation has ended will show them that you care. Saying something like: “It’s not easy to hear what you’re telling me, but I want you to know that I’m going to give it a lot of thought.”

4. Draw the line at insults

Criticism should always help improve you as a person, so when someone starts delivering personal insults, that’s when you need to walk away. Everyone deserves respect, and if the person sitting in front of you cannot give you that, then you have the right to exit the situation.

Are you someone who handles criticism well?

This article was published in conjunction with Over60.