Like hunting, criticism feels like a noble sport or an assassination; depends on which side of the gun you are.
When we give criticism we judge it fair but we seem born to take criticism as surprise, stoning and humiliation.
This is quite undiscerning. In fact, from its very definition, a "critique" is valuing what is good as much as correcting the improvable or censoring the wrong. You can give and obtain profitable feedback in all forms of critique. Even in the mud of bad, hostile criticism there are hidden precious stones which you would never find otherwise.
It is well worth to learn what we do with criticism instead of leaving it to happen by itself.
In all its forms, critique will not be received on impartial merit. It will not simply win by the force of argument and the crystal clarity of Truth. Not at all. The business of critique concerns persons. Even the friendliest critique requires convincing and tactfulness; credibility, the right occasion, intentions, attitude and words clearly understood. Without which it will confuse and it may be rejected as an aggression. Or, it will bounce into the opposite of what was intended.
In short, criticise when you feel you have a right to do it, when it helps and when it is also wise and timely. Critiquing without asking yourself first for which cause you do it now and even more with which purpose, is a vicious bad habit.
When being criticised, the urgent thing is to observe that you are criticised, before reacting to the heat, so that you control your response. Listen first and ask yourself which kind of it you face and why: Friendly? Objective? Hostile? You give or receive the three modes with a different mind.
Do not argue with critique received, it is not ping pong, not a show of wits, a negotiation, nor an academic quest after truth. It is most often feedback and evaluation, a sign of something that counts, a relation between susceptible people. Handle with care.
Mostly harmless when based of fact and following civilised rules, often precious as a form of competent advice, it turns inhuman at times. It does not dwell on people, it is meant to correct, to perfect, to redress and bring to task, to do everything towards precision, beauty, excellence, outcome and profit. It does what is needed, nothing personal.
While defending against something, this critique is aimed at overwhelming enemies and bad competitors; not to improve them but to unsettle and to reject them, to belittle, to punish or even to destroy. It tries to stop, to contain, to make things harder or to discredit and ridicule. Unfavourable by definition, what it wants to avoid is being of any help.
To read more go to http://wisdom.tenner.org/three-kinds-of-criticism.html