Learning to handle criticism was one of the most positive aspects of our assertiveness training. One of the hardest concepts for us to grasp was that of criticism being a gift: how could something which causes us so much pain be thought of as a present? Yet feedback about the effect of our behaviour on others is truly a valuable gift. It affords us the chance to develop an awareness of ourselves, which otherwise we might never achieve. Choosing to change our behaviour as a result of this feedback can have a really positive effect on all our relationships, including the one we have with ourselves.