How to Take Criticism – 5 Techniques to Build Your Backbone
how to not get emotional in stressful situations

Knowing how to take criticism without getting emotional is something most men deeply desire.

In fact, it’s also something most women covet in men too as evidenced by the famous “shit test” – a marker women will use on a man to ensure he’s stable within and not prone to emotional outbursts.

You can watch a video version of this post here

Henceforth, calmness under pressure and the ability to take valid criticism and not take everything so personally is one of the surest signs of emotional maturity in a man – but why is it so essential? 

For starters if you haven’t got a control on your emotional nature it is all too easy to be manipulated.

How to Take Criticism: Modern-Day Manipulation

One place you see this a great deal at present is in news & social media confected outrage.

This, in turn, leads to petty needless arguments that lead to complete breakdowns in relationships as well as in the present epidemic of needing validation from the world.

Further still, having an out-of-control emotional nature can lead you into all manner of trouble.

You may fight, freeze or flight when you feel threatened, and these manifest in the form of anger, anxiety and ignoring reality respectively in the real world.

This leads to you saying things you don’t mean and scaring people away, being walked all over or becoming resentful.

Each of these outcomes takes you further away from other people, your own inner harmony and most importantly, the truth of what’s really going on.

Left to fester, such scenarios can develop into all manner of inner demons – anxiety disorders, feelings of depression, even addictions, so it’s important you learn some key techniques to pull you back to your stable, still masculine core.

Below are 5 techniques that will help you in learning how to take criticism.

1: Embark on Shadow Work

Now I’ve left a longer video underneath exploring exactly what shadow work is, but in short, one reason you get emotional is that there are unresolved issues within.

Part of growing into an adult involves the formation of the ego, in which personality quirks and identities are developed in response to traumatic experiences and the threats of the world.

Watch: What is The Shadow? 5 Techniques for Shadow Work

It is completely natural to do this, yet what isn’t natural is to stay with these identities built around threat detection forever.

If we do, we become trapped within ourselves and prone to having a massive over-reaction when someone bypasses our defence mechanism and hits a sensitive emotional wound.

Henceforth, before expecting yourself to be calm under pressure, you must first weed out and integrate the inner wounds that are scuppering your balance from the inside.

2: Learn to be Still

If you’re always on the go and never find the time to sit in silence and stillness, you’ll always be at the whim of your emotions.

This is why I often stress the importance of the silent prayer – again, link is below – and meditation.

These techniques teach you to be still and observe what is happening within and around you non-judgmentally as opposed to riding the wave of drama every time you’re challenged.

On a deeper level, remaining in stillness begins to show you that your true nature is not the mind and the ego, it is the space in which these things exist.

Watch: The Silent Prayer – Learning to Rest in Your True Self

The more you rest here, the more you don’t react and refuse to judge each and every thought and thing, the more clarity, peace and stability you create within.

Now while this isn’t dealing with actual criticism from the world just yet, it is showing you how to be neutral, and soon, you will start to bring this calm energy from within to the external world.

3: Embrace Inner Mastery

Once you’ve acknowledged and met the shadow self and learnt to sit in stillness, you then open the door to inner mastery, the third step in learning how to take criticism.

Inner mastery simply means to be the master of what occurs within and not be dominated by it.

This is something you can begin to practice in general conversation.

When you’re speaking to someone, even in a calm context, instead of looking for the next thing to say, trust in the state you bring over the words you say – you will see that people respond to states, not words, and if you bring peace, it doesn’t really matter so much what you say, as the right words will come.

Next, consider what you want to say from your internal options, take your time, deliver words slowly and surely and you’ll begin to build a foundation you can depend upon in the most challenging of conversations.

Finally, when conversing with someone, bring up the silence and stillness that you dwell in during the silent prayer.

Remember that the personality is just façade of what you truly are and hence when engaging with someone, speak as if you’re an empty space of meditation, not a mind who judges.

4: Outer Mastery

Now, outer mastery depends upon you doing the inner work first – if you haven’t done that this won’t work because you’ll still be too hung up on anything that could be perceived as insulting.

Firstly, when someone is being critical of you, you must let go of any excess aggression or throwaway insults that come your way – if you react to these you’ll only give the same back.

Remember what I said about state earlier?

People respond in kind to state, yet in practising outer mastery, you stop that process by not engaging with petite or offensive comments.

This doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself or let it be known if someone has crossed the line, yet such a response should come from a place of stability, calmness and non-attachment – if it does not, the situation will just descend into more anger and/or anxiety.

Again, when engaging with someone, remove your personality from the exchange, be like thin air, speak slowly and surely, keep soft eye contact and take your time.

5: Don’t be a perfectionist

In learning how to take criticism, we must remember that no one is perfect – even the best of us fuck up.

In fact, the best of us have often failed their way to success.

I myself am speaking about this subject because I’ve spent years struggling with this very issue, I tried loads of different tips and tricks, but none of them really worked; until I engaged in deep inner work.

It is only because I struggled – and still can if I don’t do the necessary work – that I learnt and continue to learn.

Henceforth, you must be humble and not expect yourself to be like superman overnight.

If and when you fuck up, and you will because we all do, take it easy, think out what you have learned and simply work on realising you lost your cool and that this is okay and all part of the process.

Remember – there’s no need to pay twice for your mistakes in life – if you mess up, the mistake is the cost, dwelling on it just means you pay double, which you don’t have to.

Further, just as the cycle of addiction depends upon the emotional trigger of guilt after a binge, which in time leads to acting out again because of inner anguish, so to does beating yourself up lead to struggling all the more because you start putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.


I hope you enjoyed this piece, if you’d like to really go to the next level, then check out the Recovering Man Path of Initiation linked below – this really is the essential journey in finding your inner core:

recovering man 9-step path men's coaching

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