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Dealing with criticism can be a tricky business.
The wrong kind of criticism can harm your self-confidence, make you feel like you’re less capable than you genuinely are, and squish your motivation.
If we lived in a world where criticism was delivered tactfully and with due consideration to a person, it would be fantastic for everyone, but that’s not how it works in the real world. To help you deal with criticism and negative feedback we’ve compiled this list of criticism quotes, as sometimes a few comforting or perspective-expanding words can make all the difference.
Before we go into the quotes, let’s discuss more on criticism and why these quotes will be helpful for you.
What is criticism?
For some people criticism is a negative thing to be avoided at all costs, for others it’s something to be ignored completely, and for yet others, it’s something that should be listened to intently. These can all be insufficient reactions depending upon the situation that you’re in.
The problem with these approaches is that they’re all limiting, some criticism can be well-intentioned. If someone is more experienced than you are and they’re trying to point out your mistakes, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s often the only way to get better – whether you’re knitting or learning martial arts.
Some criticism is not so good, a jealous person or someone who for whatever reason isn’t your biggest fan, that kind of criticism can usually be safely disregarded.
The problem is that completely ignoring these people will just make the situation worse, whereas listening might give you the insights to discover why they dislike you and then allow you to deflate the situation.
The long-term route to handling criticism is about learning to trust your judgment, building your self-confidence, and becoming more mindful. When you take the time to read through these criticism quotes and do a little introspection, you’re building up all the mental tools to deal with the feedback you’re getting concerning your situation.
We can’t give you dogma or maxims to handle criticism, as it’s a nuanced area. There are lots of people that want the best for you, but they aren’t good at delivering their criticism, it’s only through persisting in your efforts to become a more full-fledged, spiritually aware, and wiser person (a happier human you might say) that enables you to know what to do with the negative feedback that others give you.
Now let’s get to the good stuff!
- “Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “Do not let arrogance go to your head and despair to your heart; do not let compliments go to your head and criticisms to your heart; do not let success go to your head and failure to your heart.” – Roy T. Bennett
- “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.” – Bob Dylan
- “Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar
- “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie
- “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill
- “A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.” – Will Self
- “The Bamboo that bends is stronger than the Oak that resists” – Japanese Proverb
- “I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
- “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill
- “When criticized, consider the source.” – Unknown
- “To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves; let us be above such transparent egotism. If you can't say good and encouraging things, say nothing.” – Will Durant
- “How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” – Benjamin Disraeli
- “The pleasure of criticizing takes away from us the pleasure of being moved by some very fine things.”– Jean de La Bruyère
- “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist” – Indira Gandhi
- “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.” – Susan Sontag
- “If we judge ourselves only by our aspirations and everyone else only by their conduct, we shall soon reach a very false conclusion.” – Calvin Coolidge
- “You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.”- Lou Holtz
- “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Aristotle
- “Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.” – Henry James
- “If you have to criticize, do it with deep understanding and love.” – Debasish Mridha
- “An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” – E.A. Bucchianeri
An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” – E.A. Bucchianeri
- “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” – Elbert Hubbard
- “You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.” – John Wooden
- “Fall down seven times, get up eight” – Japanese Proverb
- “Being a critic is a terrific method for killing your love of art.” – David Toop
- “Criticism of others is thus an oblique form of self-commendation. We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked.” – Fulton J. Sheen
- “When we speak evil of others, we generally condemn ourselves.” – Publius Syrus
- “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” – Will Rogers
- “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” – Andy Warhol
- “There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.” – Zig Ziglar
- “Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.” – Emmet Fox
- “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
- “Pay no attention to toxic words. What people say is often a reflection of themselves, not you.” – Christian Baloga
- “It's easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It's a lot more difficult to perform one.” – Chuck Palahniuk
- “The dread of criticism is the death of genius.” – William Gilmore Simms
- “A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealousy.” – Jean Baudrillard
- “When virtues are pointed out first, flaws seem less insurmountable.” – Judith Martin
- “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” – Sigmund Freud
- “Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.” – Abraham Lincoln
- “People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”– Albert Camus
- “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”– Neil Gaiman
- “A leader is always first in line during times of criticism and last in line during times of recognition.” – Orrin Woodward
- “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality” – Plutarch
- “Excessive self-criticism is a bad habit and extraordinarily self-destructive. Don’t be your own worst enemy!” – Bryant McGill
- “It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.” – Daisaku Ikeda
- “It’s too easy to criticize a man when he’s out of favor, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else’s mistakes.” – Leo Tolstoy
- “When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.” – Pablo Picasso
- “Blame is safer than praise.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Handling criticism and negative feedback takes discipline and awareness. You have to be able to sort the well-intentioned feedback from the stuff that is simply trying to bring you down.
If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or like everyone and the world are criticizing what you do, come back and read these quotes – they’ll help you get some distance and see things with more clarity. We hope these criticism quotes can help you on your journey through life, check out these 104 mindfulness affirmations, they’ll help you develop the equanimity of mind to deal with negative feedback.
And if you want more eye-opening quotes, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 73 Haters Quotes for Dealing with Negative People
- 67 Unappreciated Quotes for When You Don’t Feel Recognized
- 101 Toxic People Quotes to Stay Away from Negativity
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.