Most people do not like to be criticized. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and co-workers sometimes offer very unwelcome briefings on what they think we need to fix. You may also be the one to volunteer your own views on what someone else needs to correct. The latter is less painful than the first.
As a matter of fact, some people might even enjoy pointing out the flaws and mistakes of others. It is not often that we meet someone who enjoys being criticized.
Two Types of Criticism
The second type involves pointing out your flaws and mistakes. No one is perfect, yet many imperfect people seem to find it extremely easy to 'let us know' when we mess up (as if we don't realize it ourselves).
In many cases, we already know a lot of what people are saying to us, and the fact that they are telling us what we already know makes it that much more annoying. It can also be painful if we didn't realize what we were doing was wrong (then it is just embarrassing).
How to Handle It
When people express their disapproval on a particular area of your life, you first need to consider how you feel about it. You need to be secure about who you are and the decisions you make. Also, you need to understand why you make the decisions that you make.
If you don't understand yourself, other people won't either and they may not accept whatever it is that they are criticizing because they just don't get it. If your decisions are solid and you firmly believe in them, you won't allow anyone to change your mind.
Remember that there is a difference between being firm in your choices and being stubborn. Don't be the latter. Consider that the people giving you criticism might just be giving it to you because they love you, and they might have valid points.
Be mature enough to truly hear out what they are saying, even if you don't agree with them at first. You may come to realize that they have a good view of things and are right. If not, just let go and trust that they meant well. Don't be mad at them.
In a work environment, you should use discretion and try to perceive the intent of the person giving you the criticism. Either they might be trying to help you grow with the company and succeed, or make you second-guess yourself so that they can get ahead. Before you take their volunteered advice, figure out if they are trying to be helpful or hurtful.
No one should pick at your flaws. If someone is doing that to you, ignore them and/or give them a taste of their own medicine. Words can hurt, but if you learn to love yourself and try to understand why other people act the way they do, you will feel better. They might just be jealous.
Pick and Choose
You don't have to take criticism to heart. What you can do is guard you heart, but listen carefully. Yes, you may not like the person who is criticizing you, or his tone and method. So, try to separate the message from the messenger, and take criticism for what it is worth.
Don't let it drag you down or make you insecure. Use it to grow as a person and improve the different areas in your life. Remember that some of it is just hurtful and should be disregarded, but don't throw it away if it's a chance to make yourself better.