Constructive Criticism

How well do you accept constructive criticism? If your goal in life is to improve in whatever way that is, or whatever field that is, you must be willing to accept constructive criticism.

If something is “constructive”, it is productive, beneficial, or useful. Even the word “construct” implies building or creating. The word “criticism” itself is sometimes thought of with a negative connotation. But, if you replace the word criticism with evaluation or analysis, or even opinion, it takes on a whole new meaning. Thus, instead of constructive criticism, consider thinking of it as a helpful building process.

When someone is offering constructive criticism, what are they really saying? You are horrible and worthless? Of course not! They offer advice because they care for you and they sincerely want you to improve. As a musician, taking lessons puts you in a vulnerable position. As a teacher, I strive to help my students feel comfortable by creating a positive, friendly atmosphere. I strive to point out what they are doing well then offer suggestions of what to improve.

When someone offers their opinion, whether that’s as a flutist or a coworker or a family member or friend, strive to take their input and recommendations and remember that the only reason they are sharing those ideas with you is because they want to help you develop and progress.

So, don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t beat yourself up. No one is attacking you. Don’t throw in the towel and give up. Accept their advice. Try to implement it. Take counsel and allow yourself to benefit from it and discover how you can blossom and grow.

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