It was a harsh criticism and mostly undeserving but it struck through the heart. It may not had been taken seriously but it was someone we expected better. Even though it was over 25 years ago, I still remember how the bite hurt for a few months.
When criticism comes your way, it can make you feel devalued, disrespected and unappreciated; however, not all criticism should be treated the same. Criticism comes through various means and varied approaches, so the response to criticism varies; one answer for all does not apply.
Let me suggest a few action steps if criticism bites today:
Examine the criticism. Is it an attack against a decision you made and not all parties are on the same page? If so, no matter what side you are on, criticism will come. Stand for the right and continue to live with a smile on your face. If the criticism attacks an unchangeable feature, understand the nature of the attack, find grace to live without bitterness and continue to live patiently. If the same criticism thrown at you, others have received, most likely, nothing will change to suit the critic, continue to live forgiving.
Evaluate the criticism. Is the criticism coming from a person you love? Did it come at a heated moment? Was it intentional? Did it come from someone who does not know you? Evaluate the person’s value to you, close friend, anonymous source, a person in your group?
Rate criticism on a scale of one to ten. One being, criticism from a person I don’t know and ten being a criticism from a person who loves me much?
If one to four, IGNORE,
Five to eight, ADAPT and
Nine to ten CHANGE.
Is the critic a “known” critic? Everyone knows the critic lives with a chip on his or her shoulder or an axe to grind, give them a one.
Estimate the criticism. Are you offended? Is the criticism well deserved? Was it a courteous criticism? Are you willing to listen to creative criticism? Estimate the amount of criticism you will accept and the amount you will reject. Can you tell if the criticism is constructive criticism or destructive criticism? Can you accept ideas from others? What do you do when others do not agree with you? How you handle criticism tells a lot about you as a person.
Entertain the criticism. The worse becomes the worst when we engage an army, enlist recruits, play the story over in your mind and entertain the critic by how bad we feel.. Live by the philosophy, “you can hurt my ears but you can’t touch my heart.” Find a place to put your criticism before you go home. Hang up your jacket before you leave the office, placing all the criticism in the pockets, you will feel better when you get home.
Lastly, enlarge your heart by praying for your critic and praying for yourself. Pray specifically for joy and peace. Pray because God understands criticism. When David was criticized by Shemei in 2 Samuel, he cursed, criticized and cast stones but David responded with an amazing answer, It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. Leave criticism in God’s hands, it may be God will turn it around for the good.
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. Do not construe this post as medical, legal or professional advice.