Awww… Criticism… The opportunity to be criticized is as welcome as melting snow to a backyard full of dog crap. We see criticism as the equivalent as being shoved naked into a spotlight to have our insides picked apart. It can be a very emotional and traumatic experience, full of anger, bitterness and tears. I know this was how I viewed criticism. I didn’t take any pleasure in it, and an unwelcome encounter was sure to dampen my whole day (even a whole week or more).
I don’t think this view on criticism is surprising because most everyone I listen to seems to have this sort of perception. As common as it is though, I’m here to argue that we’ve made it into something it doesn’t need to be. Let me explain…
Years back, I was lacking confidence and security. I wasn’t certain of myself or what I stood for, and every little oops became a HUGE emotional mess. Of course I was sensitive to what people thought about me! I wasn’t a very big fan of me, and I had little to no faith in my value or abilities, so it’s no wonder that people’s feedback on me was so devastating. Even though they may have meant well, I took it personally and I saw it as confirmation to my belief that I sucked at life.
Fortunately I was wise enough to see that other people provide a perspective on things that isn’t always so clear from my angle of sight. As time went on, I started to see these encounters as opportunities for growth. Whether I related to what the person said or not, I made a point to gain something from it. Even when personal comments were made about me I would suck it up and listen to what they said. When my emotions settled I would reflect on what was said and look for the truth in their message. I would always walk away with an amazing new insight and a personal goal. I’m sure that the message I received often was NOT the message intended, but that was besides the point, really. I had turned criticism into something positive, beneficial, and even enjoyable. You can call me delusional, but that’s fine by me since I’m all the wiser and happier for it.
Life is what we make it! Literally!