To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. Aristotle
At the age of 37 I learned to see criticism as a valuable tool, rather than something to be avoided or feared. This came about in the life-altering workshop with Dr. John Savage. My eyes were opened to the possibility, wisdom and power of intentional communication including criticism. This change improved my relationships: personally, family, socially, professionally, academically, financially and with myself profoundly. I confess that up to that point in my life, I had pretty much taken relationships for granted. From that point forward I have endeavored to continually learn about communication and relationships. I now know that it is possible to present and respond to criticism without making things worse, without adding fuel to the fire. I now know that potentially explosive situations can be skillfully defused or diffused, so that people can dance rather than fight, even in difficult situations. I now know that people can move from conflict to conversation and acknowledge the observation and experience of the person offering criticism. This approach makes way for possibilities other than the fight or flight syndrome, manifested as a skunk or turtle mode of survival. Occasionally, there are "freeze" responses resulting in a stalemate.
"Fight or flight" offers the option of going into battle or waving the white flag of surrender, yielding merely a winner and a loser with no resolution.
According to Dr. Hendrie Weisinger, in the introduction of his book, "The Positive Power of Criticism," the Greek concept of criticism is to serve as a neutral, objective appraisal of ideas and actions. Criticism can be regarded as a judgment, evaluation or an appraisal intended to improve or advance, leading to new resources and skills. For this to be so requires moving away from the attitude and belief that one's own presuppositions, perceptions, and biases are absolute and correct.