Performance reviews and feedback are an unavoidable part of work—and life, for that matter. But it doesn’t make receiving criticism, no matter how casual or constructive, any easier for many of us. Critiques might trigger anger, self-doubt, defensiveness or resentment that lasts hours or days, leaving us unable to move forward.

The problem lies in how we interpret the feedback and the deep-seated feelings we associate with the critic and their words. In the workplace, imagine you’ve been preparing all weekend for a meeting with your boss for a performance review, and Monday morning she cancels the meeting at the last minute.

How do you respond? Do you take it personally, assuming your work isn’t important enough or the review was going to be negative? Do you spend the rest of the day in an insecure funk or seething at your manager? 

None of these responses are productive; they are emotionally draining and could stunt your professional development.  In a recent The Upside article, positive psychology coach Homaira Kabir explores how to “step off the emotional roller coaster,” starting with understanding what lies behind our reactions. 

Kabir explains that we naturally walk through life wearing different “masks” for different environments. For example, we wouldn’t behave the same in a corporate meeting as during a  conversation with a spouse. These masks are different parts of our authentic core, and help us adapt to situations and relationships.

But sometimes we wear masks to hide our authentic core because we see it as inadequate. We hold too tightly to these false masks and overreact to feedback that threatens to “expose” us.

Kabir outlines three easy ways to step out of this world of “fragile confidence” and step off the emotional roller coaster and respond to critique in a way that fosters personal growth and nurtures relationships. Get her tips in the article here.