Receiving Constructive Criticism in Relationships

Many of us may know how to deal out constructive criticism in a loving manner, what about when the roles are switched and you are being criticized? No matter how nicely you are told you are doing something wrong or could do better, it is still a blow to the self-esteem and can be difficult to receive. Here are some tips to soften the blow and continue on the path of improvement:


  1. Use active listening: actually listen to what is being said to you. This is without becoming defensive and plotting a response.
  2. Empathize: Try to put yourself in their shoes as you are hearing what you do wrong. Think about how it would make you feel if you were on the receiving end
  3. Re-frame the criticism: Try to take what is being said to you (especially if not constructively doled out) and reframe it to a more positive perspective. This is a way to lessen the blow yourself. Remind yourself that your partner loves you and this is being said because they don’t want to feel resentment.
  4. Check your own feelings before responding: if you are feeling upset, revisit 1-3, take some deep breaths, some time, or even ask for space to absorb what was said.
  5. Provide your feedback: thank them for trusting you enough to share this! It takes trust and faith that one can accept the criticism and is often just as difficult to deliver it to those we love as it is to receive it. Use your ‘I-statements’ and share how you feel in a thoughtful and constructive manner.

Honestly try: Honestly try to give your partner what was just requested. If you find yourself struggling, share this with your partner and try to work together to find a healthy compromise that will work for the both of you.

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