Naturally, receiving critique or advice from others isn’t easy, and is something most people struggle with. While some people feel like any criticism they get from others is a reflection of their personal worth and abilities, others get defensive and angry because they just simply hate being wrong. Whatever the case might be for you, there is a better way to handle failure, mistakes, and/or advice and criticism from others.

We’ve been taught from childhood that being right makes you worthy of things and of praise, but being wrong is just unacceptable. But the truth is that failures and mistakes are a normal part of the process of our lives, and is actually what propels us to growth and to greater knowledge. Keep reading this article to learn how to deal with critique and become more comfortable with being wrong.

1. Give yourself permission to make mistakes

Top students often get extra stars and acknowledgement, while the students with all the red markings on their tests get deemed inadequate. As children, we internalize that people who are right are better off than those who are wrong. Thus, we go on to crave perfectionism in other aspects of our lives.

Since we have internalized that failure is linked to our self worth, we are stuck in this cycle of always trying to avoid failure at all costs, and this brings about a lot of issues in our relationships as we progress through life. It is high time we take responsibility for unlearning those harmful mindsets that we have learned in our youth, so that we can live well nourished lives that is characterized by a lot of growth.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Rewire your mindset to see that mistakes are an opportunity for you to learn and become better than you were, and doesn’t define your ability or intelligence. Tell yourself that as many times as you fail, you would rise up and try again, and so failure no longer becomes a stumbling block to you.

2. Open your mind and listen to other opinions

Being right all the time is boring. The need to be right is a close-minded way of thinking. There’s always something to be learned from others. There’s a reason many successful people say they aim to be the dumbest person in the room. We learn and grow the most in spaces where there’s a knowledge gap. If you feel like you already know everything, you would be missing out on a wealth of information, knowledge, and experiences from others that would be beneficial to you.

Fight the urge to close yourself off to ideas you disagree with. Instead, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try seeing things their way. It’ll help you not only learn a new perspective, but also find new ways of thinking.

3. Collect yourself with a moment of self-compassion

Yes, it is normal to feel a little frustrated when we are wrong, or when we receive critique or negative feedback, but it is very important to take a moment to relax and treat ourselves with compassion. Try to quickly dispel any negative thoughts and words that you might want to label yourself with.

Think of those moments as opportunities to learn something new, and to think in a fresh and creative way. Remind yourself that all human beings are unique, and so we would naturally have varied opinions, which everyone should be comfortable to share.

4. Rethink your argument before you try and defend it

Being wrong can often be helpful in creating meaningful dialogue. Instead of defending an incorrect statement, try asking questions. Asking questions when you don’t understand something is better than assuming.

We’ve all had that moment in class or in a meeting when someone asks that “silly” question that we all were also secretly unsure about- strive to be that brave person whenever you can because on the other side of being wrong is learning how to get it right.

Remember to aim for success, not perfection. Don’t give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward in life.

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.