Have you ever gotten negative feedback about something and had a hard time letting it go? Whether its criticism from a boss or work colleague or being scorned by your significant other for leaving the toilet seat up, negative emotion can linger in our brains far longer than it should. But in a world where disapproval is all but a tweet or a conversation away, how do we learn to deal with negativity effectively?
So how do you handle those nagging negative notions currently swirling around in your head? According to Art Markman, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, the best strategy to deal with criticism is to take a pen and a piece of paper and simply write down how those negative comments made you feel.
Writing away the negativity
One negative comment in a sea of positive feedback can ruin your entire day. By writing down your feelings on either a piece of paper or in a word document about how exactly that one single negative comment made you feel, you can help relieve your brain of the task of having to remind you about the negative criticism. Our brains are programmed to disregard forms of praise and focus on purely the negative.
Scientology calls this the reactive mind, in which painful emotion and physical pain are stored in the memory banks of an individual and occur when a person is full of semi-unconscious. It is theorised that ‘survival’ is our main, with L. Ron Hubbard stating that the purpose of the mind is to solve problems relating to survival.
This basis of survival came in handy for our evolutionary ancestors who had to avoid danger at every corner and stave off predators in a primitive land in which emotions like praise were deemed unnecessary. But while this survival instinct was mandatory for cave dwellers during ancient times, it probably isn’t best suited for those of us in 2020 where the stress of everyday life can affect both our mental wellbeing and overall self-confidence.
By writing down your reaction to a form of criticism, Markman claims that ‘’you can find information about negative things in the document you wrote’’.
What Jobs in Security Says
We all want to be liked, appreciated and valued, especially in the work environment. But it is inevitable that at some point during the working week that someone may make some kind of negative comments, whether it’s criticism about our work ethic or just a throwaway comment that means nothing. However, regardless of the intention, a negative comment or criticism can make us question our value and worth and can end up with us replaying the incident on an endless loop in our minds.
Next time you receive a form of criticism, no matter how small or critical try writing down how that negative comment made you feel rather than spend hours pondering over it. You never know, you may feel like a weight of negatively has been lifted off your shoulders.