We yearn for positive feedback, probably because we get so little of it in our daily lives (note to bosses). But it's the negative feedback that can often be the most helpful.
If all you get is "that was great," you're not going to improve.
I recently had a conversation with one of my clients who was anxious to hear what I thought of his media interview. I told him I thought it went very well, which it did. Then he asked, "Is there anything you can suggest for next time?"
That was what I wanted to hear. So, I proceeded to give him a few ideas of what would help him handle the next interview even more successfully. They were "negative" in that I suggested he not do certain things or say certain things the next time. But those negatives will quickly turn into positives for him, because he was willing to listen.
Three points to remember:
Don't take a negative comment as a personal attack. It shouldn't diminish your self-worth. Rather, it's designed to point out something that will help you improve. Think of it as someone giving you directions to reach your destination. You'd welcome their help, wouldn't you?
Listen for the "truth" in what's said. There's usually a nugget of truth in even the most scathing negative comment. Learn what you can from it.
Ask yourself if you can honestly say that it's a fair point. If it is, then apply it. If not, then chalk it up to a difference of taste or opinion. Not everyone's comment will be valid.
Negative feedback can be your best friend, if you treat it positively.