325Nobody likes to be criticized. It hurts to be called out, whether it’s for a mistake, a flaw, or a weakness. After all, you do your best, you work hard, and you always try to get it right. Everyone makes mistakes or missteps. Everyone has things they’re not so good at, so criticism is inevitable. The secret lies in how you handle it. You can choose to be reactive and angry, or you decide to handle it in a much more emotionally intelligent way.

Emotional intelligence means you recognize and acknowledge your emotions, and you know how to handle them. Here are five ways people with emotional intelligence don’t react when they are criticized.

1 – They Don’t Minimize

It’s natural to react to criticism by trying to make yourself a smaller target by saying it wasn’t really such a big deal. Don’t make that your first reaction. Give yourself some time to analyze whether or not the criticism is valid. If someone thought the issue was important enough to mention, there might be something in there for you to learn from.

2 – They Don’t Make Excuses

Trying to bluster through criticism will just show that you are thin-skinned or that you’re not that interested in doing a good job. You don’t want to be the person everyone has to tip-toe around in case they upset you. If you made a mistake, own it. Don’t try to talk your way around it or deny it. Just face it, fix it, learn from it, and move on.

3 – They Don’t Rationalize

Similarly, don’t try to blandish your way through by rationalizing. People see right through that, and they won’t respect you for it. And it doesn’t address the main issue. Keep your eye on what really matters, what you’re trying to achieve, and how to get there. See the criticism as helpful instructions on changing course.

4 – They Don’t Shift the Blame

Taking responsibility for your mistakes is what adults do. Kids and teenagers will often try to shift the blame onto someone else – the old ‘my dog ate my homework’ excuse. Emotionally intelligent adults own up to their responsibilities, including mistakes and failures.

5 – They Don’t Try to Weasel Out of It

How you handle a crisis is an opportunity to be a better person. Swallow your medicine and acknowledge what went wrong. Try seeing it as a learning opportunity and a chance to work through the issue together. Instead of reacting defensively, ask your critics for advice on how to do better.