The sad news of Judge Guy Andrew suicide in Qld this week, brought me to tears…. mental health and suicide are close to my heart…. personally and professionally. I suffered with depression from 8 years of age to my early 30’s at which time I attempted suicide twice.
I empathise and understand mental health issues and suicide, I also understand that we can build up resilience, improve mental health and people can live with greater confidence. We can all show up as our best, with a healthy attitude, even when criticised.
You probably know, I strongly advocate for law and lawyers highly valuing humanness and building human qualities, managing emotions, being your best self in law, looking after your wellbeing and others, which given the same focus the same as technicality., so that performance is continually improved We have a shared experiences as humans in legal practice.
No one likes to be criticised, its not enjoyable, however it’s a fact of life, everyone gets criticised, to varying degrees at different times in their lives. All criticism it hard to take, and particularly hard when its public criticism, especially when perfectionism is the measuring guide for people and tasks. Criticism may feel like our self worth is eroded, our credibility and self confidence is lost, we are humiliated and our reputation is damaged. It can feel like the criticisms is attached to our identity, who we really are.
Im not saying that when you feel angry, disappointed, humiliated, lacking confidence, embarrassed,, etc when criticised isn’t a normal human reaction, it is.
The question is, how long do you stay in that negative state? What attitude do you adopt after say 24 – 48 hours max of being criticised?
We all have a choice about the thoughts we allow to roam in our head and the attitudes we choose and show up with daily, and after being constructively criticised.
What can help us to choose the most resilient course, to create a healthier attitude?
- When we only value praise, we feel happy when people speak kind words about us, it reinforces a particular behaviour and when we are criticised, we feel miserable. Life becomes a roller coaster ride. Invite feedback, constructive criticism, which is valid and well reasoned, involving both positive and negative. It enables improvement and personal development which is necessary for high performance in life and career progression.
- If the criticism is false or bullying, not given to help you improve and the words are demeaning and insulting, its not constructive criticism. Detach from the criticism, don’t give it any meaning, or attach your emotions to it, don’t react with defensiveness or excuses, give it no time. If you feel the need to respond, WAIT until you can control your emotions so you don’t say or do something you will regret.
- Be self aware (EQ): Try to find some truth in criticism as this provides a learning opportunity to grow and improve from others feedback. Attribute positive intentions to the critic.
- Most people’s job/title/status are linked with their identity (Im a lawyer.. NO, you are a human who practices law – different), Their job has become an extension of themselves. Separate yourself from your role/title/status and then mistakes are no longer seen as a gauge of your worth or character as a human. What you do, is not who you are.
- Everyone makes mistakes, no one knows everything, remain humble. Learn to have a growth mindset, show your humanity and vulnerabilities and willingness to learn.
- Are you replaying the criticism in your head over and over again, wishing you could change something or said something different. That negative conversation you have in your head, will continue to feed negativity. Choose to change the voice in your head to positive and perspective. Don’t ruminate on it, change the channel in your mind after 24-48 hours.
- When you are asked to give feedback, give it in a way that you would like to receive it. Take the time to help someone to grow.
- You are always in control of your attitude when you receive constructive criticism. The choice is to continue to think negatively (after 24-48 hours) or turn the inner voice to positivity and use constructive criticism as a learning experince.
- Listen carefully to and develop a personal development plan based on what you hear (if constructive). Don’t take it personally, its an opportunity to grow, we are not perfect, we are all works in progress.
Don’t allow criticism, perfectionism or seeking others approval rule your life or your performance. How you think and your attitude is always your choice….long term. Those with mental health issues can always choose to improve and get the help they need. No one is stuck in negativity. You can learn to live with greater resilience, confidence and courage….it takes time and commitment to learn and grow.
Contact Louise, if you would like to discuss your family law mediation and how she can assist you and your clients as an advanced trained mediator (Harvard)/FDRP/Certified high performance and EQ coach and consultant.
Contact Louise if you would like to build resilience and markedly improve mindset and performance or you would like her to help your business/teams/leaders thrive. She is a certified high performance and EQ coach and consultant and completed a Diploma of Leadership and Management and Harvard – Negotiaion, Leadership and How to Handle Difficult Conversations.