It is hard to take criticism, plain and simple. It is even more difficult to take constructive criticism, even if it is well-meaning. Sometimes people see shortcomings in others they want to point out, but don’t always do it effectively. When people are in recovery, it feels like everything lands under a microscope and others want to criticize everything that person does (or does not do). There is a way to receive and accept what people say without worrying whether it is going to backfire. Taking a no-regrets approach to criticism is the first step in a healthy journey of recovery.
Lots of people are not comfortable with constructive feedback but don’t mind giving it out. Giving more details and being specific keep people from guessing what a person needs or desires. It also promotes openness to receiving feedback when people know how to help. This will result in an individual likely receiving more consistent (and on-point) feedback than just critiques.
Constructive criticism goes both ways. When someone shares with you, they may be sharing from the heart. It is good to know their intention and likely a person can feel that intention with their words right away. If their intention is harmful, it will be felt immediately. Constructive criticism feels honest and true to that person but also feels like an opportunity to grow, not a personal attack. In that sense, it is appropriate to offer something to that person to support their growth, also. It means being open to sharing thoughts and feelings about that person openly, as long as the relationship supports it and they can receive what is said constructively.
It’s Not About You
The truth is, criticism is not about an individual, it is an observation about some things that can be well-meaning, rather than mean-spirited. Respond as though the person’s intentions are thoughtful and kind, as long as they feel they come from a place of good intention. Express gratitude and tell them to thank you, even if the criticism stings for a little. Make note of it and see how it resonates. You may find eventually it makes sense to address the criticism head-on and start growing in that area of recovery. Being in recovery can make a person super sensitive to criticism because it seems everyone wants to take a shot right now. For the moment, take a deep breath and realize most people in the inner circle are well-meaning and want to help. Don’t take it personally, just see it as an opportunity to either grow in recovery or find new friends and support, depending on how the criticism is doled out (and received). There is plenty of room in recovery for growth, but not for toxic people who want to bring you down. It is okay to decide what to keep and throw away the rest.
Criticism is hard to take but essential for recovery. We help you grow a thicker skin in rehab around answering critics and receiving healthy criticism that supports growth. We will help you achieve personal goals in recovery. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295