As an academic, I have had to learn to deal with criticism. My graduate advisors would take every paper I wrote and fill it with ink of all different colors to point out every flaw in my writing and my conceptual arguments. I submit papers for publication, and reviewers find every flaw. And some reviewers take particular glee in pointing out each error.It stings to get criticized for things you have done. It also hurts when people point out behaviors that they think you need to change. And comments on your appearance can be particularly difficult.So, what can you do to handle criticism with more grace?Is it really about you? Some criticisms are really about you as a person. If someone has a comment about your behavior or your appearance, it is hard not to take those personally. But, there are also times when people criticize your ideas or your some other work you have done.As hard as it may be to do it, you have to separate your ideas and your work from yourself. When people criticize the results of your efforts, then you have to be willing to look at the complaints. As much as you may love something you have written or a project you completed, there is always room for improvement in the future. If someone takes the time to make suggestions, you can learn a lot by listening.That said, taking criticism can be painful. I recommend reading or listening to the critiques and then putting them aside for a while. Come back to them again later when any negative feelings have receded. You’ll know that you are ready to deal constructively with the comments you have gotten when you no longer just think that your critics are idiots and are willing to concede that they may have a point. After that, you can try to figure out what you might do differently the next time.What if it is about you? Most people who criticize really do mean well. They care about you and your life. And they are probably at least a little uncomfortable pointing out something to you that they think you should change.It can be easy to forget that most criticism comes from a place of love and caring when the critique is about something that really can (and perhaps should) be taken personally: your weight, your appearance, or your life choices. It is hard to accept criticism that hits a central part of your self-concept. And it is often the case that the critiques you get are ones that you are aware of. If you put on some weight, for example, you are generally aware that it has happened. So, having someone point that out to you is simply not helpful.In those cases, try to see the love behind the words. Take a few deep breaths and smile. They cared enough to say something.What about the constant critic? Of course, there are some people in your life who seem to live to criticize (or at least seem to live to criticize you). When dealing with them, just recognizing that they care about you is not enough, because the criticism does not stop. There, it is probably time to have a frank discussion.Tell your critic that you appreciate the concern they show, but that the repeated comments are now just upsetting and not constructive. If the barrage does not stop, then it is time to find ways to avoid this person. Minimize the amount of time you spend with anyone who routinely makes you feel bad and will not stop with their comments.Beware of double standards. Some recent research suggests that women are more likely to be criticized in the workplace than men. If you sense this happening where you work, pay attention to the number of times that you being criticized as opposed to praised for the work you do. If you feel like you are not receiving enough positive feedback for your work compared to the comments about problems, it is time to have a conversation with your colleagues and your supervisor about the work environment.