HOW DO YOU ACCEPT CRITICISM?
“I’m doing my best, so just don’t criticize me, OK.” I used to be like that for a large part of my life. Accepting criticism was a bitter pill to swallow. I was Mr. Nice Guy and would just about do anything for anybody, so don’t criticize me. I didn’t want to rock the boat. I would always try to justify my actions, because I hated to be wrong or to be seen as anything other than what I perceived myself to be.
I grew up and realized that I was going to make mistakes and that other people had great ideas, too. I learned to listen. I was able to accept critiques of my performance. I discovered that in terms of a day, a week, a month, a year or years, it didn’t really matter. It was no biggie. I would do better next time. At my age now, it’s like…I don’t really care when people are critical of me. I know who I am. I know what my abilities are, my strengths and my weaknesses. I don’t have to put on a persona or display a false image. I can be who God designed me to be. I know my purpose and am living that out. So what can harm me? If I make a mistake I laugh at myself.
Sometimes, accepting criticism is a quickly-learned art, while for others it is a longer process. I believe that parents can help their children accept criticism by teaching them that criticism has a positive and a negative side, just like a battery. In our culture the word seems to have a predominantly negative connotation, so we feel indignant if anyone dares to offer any comment on what we do. We get highly defensive and think, “What right have you got to judge or criticize me?”
We have to learn to accept constructive criticism first before we can teach our children. It can be difficult, but it is so defined in our highly image-conscious nation. To be good models we have to quit our gossip, our unhelpful judgments and our highly-tuned negative criticism. Say to yourself, “Is there any truth in what the person is saying? Anything I can learn from?” If it is no on both counts, let it go. Ignore it. Move on and don’t hold a grudge. Try to be unoffendable.
Now teach this to your children. Others see what we do through different eyes or have a fresh perspective. Others can help us grow in our journey to become the people we were designed to be. Be prepared to let others speak into our lives.
Written by Brian Burgess, School Counselor, PPE, Nashville TN (My opinions, not PPE’s)