How do you take criticism?

I’ve been told by my critics that I don’t take criticism well. I’ve been told by those who know me that I take criticism well. But you know it’s always been interesting and challenging to shrug off criticism, whether spoken or in silence from the people you love and/or respect. One thing I do believe some on this blog who has been blocked from commenting is their promotion of hate, violence or tendency to just want to argue and not seek solutions.

Now I’m not talking about when your mother says you need a haircut or your sibling says you stupid or your father telling you to get a job. I’m referring to when you have a vision that no one can see, but for you and perhaps a few people you’ve never met. How do you confront the critics from within?

Criticism is often the judgment of someone who has a vision that they can not see. Before you criticize someone you must begin with yourself. Consider yourself before you verbally stone someone with rigid consideration or cut them with sharp words.

Words can not be accurately measured, because they’re individually dynamic. Meaning that the words you say to someone may mean more to them than they do to you.

As an example, think of one of the most hurtful things someone has said to you. Now think of one of the nicest things someone has said to you. These are two different events with two competing results that hold the same space in your emotional life. You remember the words they said to this moment, because it meant something to you. The same words expressed to someone else may not have been as important as the words someone offered to them.

You learn so much from the people. The people you are drawn towards and how you draw others towards yourself through your words, attitudes and gestures. I work to remain aware of my criticisms, especially emotionally, because it comes right back to you. So when I hear something I know is not true or accurate I have to temper my immediate response so that it is not improperly received or understood.

This is a lesson I learned early and concisely as a parent. When my first child was around two or three I noticed slight behavior change that caught my attention. Especially when I would correct him for the forth or fifth time and he would respond either with anger or withdraw completely. It caught my attention, because I recognize the criticism others had of me when I was much younger in my son.

How I addressed this issue is by recalling how I felt when someone was correcting me with something that I was honestly trying to do. I wanted to give up. I wanted to explain how I saw it, but was never given the opportunity. “Just shut-up” or “You’re stupid” or “I’m not sure if you’ll ever get it.” So what are you left with except to withdraw or get angry?

Essentially was learning to do. Although I was mindful not to use the phrases said to me, I still had the same results.

The only way to correct this was to change my criticism to consideration. Consider yourself before you criticize others with rigid consideration or admonish them with words. Take the time to understand how they understand, comprehend or interpret before your criticism.

It is true that there are some things that are expected of people and a minimum a person of age should already know. But you need to begin with yourself before striking out at others, because it could be your words that they carry for the rest of their lives, whether good or bad. I would prefer that they be good or at least not bad.

So how do you take criticism?

You take it with consideration, you take it with patience, you take it as an opportunity to learn, but also an opportunity to challenge what is understood.

These are my thoughts, now I would like to hear yours.

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2 thoughts on “How do you take criticism?

  1. Take criticism isn’t in everyone’s makeup, but it is still a necessary ingredient in life. Sure we have to consider the source, but it needs to stimulate one to look at themselves.

    Some people don’t get it … hmmm … Some don’t know how to give constructive criticism while others don’t know how to take it. Some don’t know how to be nice, while others don’t know how to take someone being nice to them.

    But those who can take it are the ones who reflect upon themselves, and then make the necessary changes/adjustments in their life.

    Good post Tim.

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