Have you ever struggled with criticism?
If I were to share with you my personal journey on the subject of criticism, I would have to say there was a time when I was very good at criticizing and very defensive when being criticized.
Not a great combination…
Criticism is a two-way street. Sometimes we need to receive criticism and sometimes we need to give healthy constructive criticism to others.
Criticism can be such a negative force that living with it every day causes you to become dehumanized or even possibly suffer from depression. No one is meant to live with constant criticism. When it’s given in unhealthy ways, it breaks us down, instead of helping us to see how we can become better.
When we criticize in unhealthy ways, we are simply putting our bad feelings onto someone else. Criticizing others and talking about how badly someone has failed, shifts our bad feelings onto the person listening. As we unload we might feel somewhat better, but the person we have dumped on starts to feel terrible.
I believe that before we give constructive, helpful criticism, we have to be able to receive it from others. It isn’t balanced if we only give it, and are never willing to receive it.
What can we do when we receive constructive criticism? Thank those who gave it to you. Ask what you can do to improve this? Listen to what is being said.
Being defensive is inappropriate. One of the sure marks of good character is a person’s ability to accept personal criticism without malice towards the one who gives it.
After we’ve learned how to take constructive criticism, (feedback is the breakfast of champions), then we start to help others improve by giving constructive criticism.
I believe we start by being sensitive in our approach. We all have areas we could improve. Remember that. When we give criticism, we should always take responsibility to offer assistance in making changes possible.
In the workplace and in our homes, we need to create an atmosphere where people feel free to give and receive constructive criticism. After all, feedback is how we can grow as individuals.
If we value each other, hurtful and demeaning criticism will not be a part of daily interactions.
I’ve made many mistakes in my journey to give and receive criticism. Some have cost me greatly, but my goal today is to love and respect others rather than criticize.
What about you? Where are you in your ability to give and receive healthy criticism?
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