We must start with the basic definitions of constructive and destructive criticism.
Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of ‘constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.
Destructive criticism (usually uncountable, plural destructive criticisms) Criticism performed with the intention to harm someone, derogate and destroy someone’s creation, prestige, reputation and self-esteem.
I grew up in and worked in a company that prided themselves on using constructive criticism. We even had a class to insure that we all used the proper use, timing and how to accept said constructive criticism.
Almost everyone can agree that we don’t really look forward to being criticized. For some – it is a fear. For others (due to position) it is just another day in their life.
When dealing with others – it is too easy to find fault and criticize and/or condemn actions. How often does that criticism result in change or improvement? I don’t know the true numbers, but I bet 95% of the time people will not criticize themselves even if they are wrong.
In today’s world we get to see so much more destructive over constructive criticism. If you are a twitter user – you pretty much just need to follow President Trump and you get to witness how it works. His tweets about others are not constructive – but destructive. Watch him in the news and he shares those views as well.
Criticism is futile, because it puts a person on the defensive and causes him to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s pride and arouses resentment. Criticism is vain, because in judging others, we regard ourselves as more righteous than they.
We can’t control what other people will say to us, whether they will approve or form opinions and share them. Do you take the criticism to drive and motivate your actions? Or do you answer back with “attacking the messenger?” We can control how we internalize it, respond to it, and learn from it, and when we release it and move on.
Next time that you are about to criticize someone – think about the following: Do you have facts to share? Are you sharing a potential improvement? What is your end game? Do I do the exact thing? Am I a better example? Are you willing to help them?
When you see someone’s criticism of someone else – think about the following: What is the end game of the criticism? What type of criticism was sent (constructive or destructive)? Could a person improve from said criticism? Think about the messenger – do they just want to be destructive every time?
We all get to see examples! We go to work – we see examples! We watch the news – we see examples! There are examples everywhere… Some good, some bad, and way too many are ugly. Use every example to help form your method of criticism. Also, don’t forget to look realistically at yourself.