It’s not the critic who counts, nor the one who points out how the strong man stumbles or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who if he fails at least fails while daring greatly, that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt)
Destructive criticism is meant to:
- Hurt or humiliate and belittle…
- Manipulate or control…
- Blame or create guilt…
- Get attention
Destructive criticism loses its helpfulness because of the damage it causes to the receiver. The beneficial truth is lost to that person because of the damage caused by the comments made. Destructive criticism usually is more about the insecurities of the criticizer than the reality of the comments given.
What not to do when facing criticism:
I am at the mercy of a man who can make me angry.
Aggression criticizing your critic right back. Two people can tear each other to shreds as attack and counterattacks can quickly escalate. No matter how unjust the criticism is just returning fire is rarely an effective way of effective dealing with the critic.
Backstabbing This approach gives the appearance of giving in but in fact you are just waiting to get your own back. For instance, you’re confronted about a problem with one of your workmates and you appear to go along with the boss’s suggestions for reconciliation. All the while you are planning your next opportunity to get back at that workmate for having the temerity to dob you in. This approach fails to deal with the criticism and does little to help either party.
Capitulation This means giving in completely to the critic. Many persistent critics are in fact emotional bullies. By just agreeing with the criticism, apologizing, promising to change your behaviour you can in fact make the problem worse. This is usually just what the critic wants to hear. Again and again! They learn what buttons to push and enjoy making your feel worthless. To make themselves strong, they have to make you weak. To keep control, they have to turn you into a child.
Constructive criticism is meant to:
- Help improve or make us aware…
- Express concern or caring…
- Keep communication open…
- Clear the air…
- Motivate us to make positive change
Step One – Hear the Truth
Criticism can be one of life’s finest shaping tools. The very nature of the word suggests that even though there may be some truth in what is said it will also contain a barb. But, listening to the critic is very effective when they have pointed out a real concern. The first thing to do when handling valid criticism is to accept it as true but not fall into exaggerated self-put downs and negative self-talk. Avoid over-apologizing for the error.
Often it can be more difficult receiving criticism from our friends. After all we expect our enemies to be hostile and to put us down. If the friendship is to be maintained it will mean working through our differences and building a stronger relationships. An enemy can be shrugged off and avoided but a true friendship requires commitment through the good and bad times, the nice and the harsh words.
Admitting the truth allows us to accept our mistakes and faults without apologizing for them.
Admitting the truth allows us to recognize mistakes as mistakes, without feeling like a bad person.
When admitting the truth, the goal is to get past this mistake or barrier. The truth will help heal relationships and enable the individual and group to become productive again.
Once we accept the mistake, we can move forward rather than become bogged down in depression and self-criticism. Others will accept us as we are and see us as fellow human beings.
Limit the criticism you’ll accept. We must how to limit the criticism we accept. Listen to certain people and all they will ever talk about are the negatives or how things should be done their way. Even if they are mostly right listen to them too much and it may prevent you from hearing strength of the hundred who are in agreement.
Seeing ourselves clearly is helped when?
We are secure in who we are: We need to have a sane estimate of our abilities. Our understanding of ourselves is to what others may have. Building a healthy self appreciation of our abilities is essential if we are to withstand a range of differing opinions of who we are. Paul goes on to say that rather than allowing the world to squeeze us into its mould that we are to allow God to remould us from within. We are always a work in progress.
We have learnt to laugh. It is those who take themselves too seriously that find the sharpest barbs in any comment. This attitude can turn a gentle reminder into a devastating putdown that can prevent us from moving forward. A healthy sense of humour can take the sting from what is said and turn it into a positive chance to gain a better appreciation of how other’s see us.
Don’t take it too personally: Assume that most people most of the time aren’t out to destroy us. Sometimes we may hear comments that weren’t intended for us to hear. Sometimes people just have to have a chance to vent themselves. If you are unfortunate enough to hear what they have said you may not be getting a clear picture of their true intentions.
Keep criticisms in perspective: Remember what we are really place on earth for. Remember your higher purpose and live for that at all times. Lives with integrity and you will discover that sooner or later your critics will be disarmed.