Criticism Is A Tough Pill To Swallow

Criticism Is A Tough Pill To Swallow

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“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  Winston Churchill

“But instead of spending our lives running towards our dreams, we are often running away from a fear of failure or a fear of criticism.”     Eric Wright

Without a  doubt none of us like to be criticized. Many of us come from homes where we received daily criticisms to the point of totally losing our confidence. Maybe that contributes to the reasons why we hate another suggestion, even when deep down we think they might be on to something. We must equate the critique, to our frequent  childhood sessions of instruction by our parents. It would be interesting to discover if the people who hate the criticism the most, are those who had to withstand the most condemnation as children.Of course parents are not to blame for our lack of confidence, because at some point in time it is up to us to get over it and move on. We take what we perceive as the good, and leave the useless advice behind. We might also consider those homes, that infrequently instructed or interacted with their kids. Without having had any advice, kids grow up adhering to their own counsel. For them to accept any remarks from another, might be intolerable. They might even consider the recommendations worse, than what kids endure from homes with critical parents.

Whatever the case, or how we come to acknowledge it, we hate to be in the wrong in order to learn there is a better way to do something. Those people who dare to give advice are brave. Now I would like to know how we come to equate  criticism with belittlement of ourselves. Perhaps it is mere suggestions about how to be a better person. We still must have faith in our own worthiness.

I hate it as much as anybody, so I simply wait for the person to go away and then I attempt to use their advice. Sometimes I tell them if it works, and sometimes I don’t. I always tell them when it didn’t pan out. It is as if I won, and they were wrong. How we came to winners and losers is beyond my knowledge. None of us enjoys being so transparent. It  appears that most of us can’t maintain our confidence for any length of time. As soon as someone offers a criticism we fall apart. We never see it as building us up further. It feels like it is a large rock, knocking us over.

If we look at it in that way it sounds so silly to take things that way. I am debating about whether to fret about my self-confidence, or my ability to accept and use critical remarks. They might be one and the same. Some advice has made a huge difference in my life. It doesn’t change my opinion on receiving it. Somehow I still perceive it as placing one in a less powerful position. It is similar to a pecking order in the animal kingdom, and we are placed below this other person. Friend or foe we don’t care for the placement, or the ability they had to do it.

I probably would consider the sibling rivalry as another form of mindset, which parents use to prompt us to do better. Of course we all know that backfires, more than it works. People as well as kids give up when they feel defeated. They see it as a lost cause and sometimes see themselves this way. That may be what we are remembering, when someone offers recommendations. It is similar to our sibling besting us, and it fills us with resentment. We never wanted  this help, and sometimes didn’t ask for it, so we think, “Just leave me alone.”

It is tricky to handle guidance without conveying denigration. The kindest offer of assistance can be wrongly perceived by another, who has trouble with self-confidence, or having a bad day. Moods affect all of us. Fear and anxiety from childhood or adulthood are part of our nature, until we learn to let them go free. It really is time to admit we all have backbones. Without the release of anxieties, offering and receiving support becomes problematic.

We are left with never improving our way of thinking or doing things. Of course we can accept it from those we don’t know, when it is given in a general manner. We accept how to fathom our feelings from a counselor because we see it as their job. We won’t accept the same counsel from a friend, who may be professing the same advice. Perhaps we allow the guidance to penetrate as long as we remain positioned and our adviser remains steadfast. Nobody must sense they have lost face or position.

Most of us don’t desire to expose our opinions on anything. People might react negatively.  When someone  is In our space, We experience weakness or stupidity. People remember things we said or stood for so it appears better to remain quiet and keep people guessing. It is none of their business anyways we surmise. Of course there is never a good count of votes one way or the other, because so many of us remain still about everything important.  Payback for the minority vote can be harsh. Better to keep them wondering.

Parents may attempt to instruct their children gently, and without any thoughts of crushing their kids spirits. Somehow it is relevant to keep our kids sense of self in check. Perhaps it will help them to maintain confidence. There are too many of us who mature into fearful adults, with more anxieties and uncalled for worries. No one can get too close to us, and we discourage the help that is offered.

Our place in society depends on the facade we have erected. As a poker player would say, keep your cards close. It leaves us one question, “How do we improve ourselves in any area?” We haven’t the trust that is called for to follow another suggestion. We must be in charge no matter how tired or confused we become. I know I am through expecting myself to be on patrol twenty-four seven. I’d like to give the wheel to others for a while, and see how it feels. I stress about being crushed in the attempt.

All of us together can make a positive difference. The teacher has to teach with kindness and integrity, so that the child’s fragile spirit is comfortable, and without fear of threat. The receiver must be willing to let go, Bare the truth and accept what they find in return. Criticism shouldn’t be a tough pill to swallow. It should be a gentle cold drink on a hot day. More openness would change a lot of people, families, communities and countries  for the better.

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”  Norman Vincent Peale

“The words with which a child’s heart is poisoned, whether through malice or through ignorance, remain branded in his memory, and sooner or later they burn his soul.”     Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Lao Tzu

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