Dealing with criticism

It seems that there are two types of criticism: just criticism and unjust criticism. I’m not great at taking either, but I’ve had my fair share of both.

Just criticism is actually a good thing. We learn and grow through criticism. Each time a teacher takes off points for something, we make a little note to not do that again. Criticism at work helps us do our jobs better. It shouldn’t be mean, rude, or personal. It should add a tool to our life’s toolbox. Don’t sweat a little criticism–it’s part of any worthy endeavor.

To avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

-Aristotle

Unjust criticism is a whole different ballgame. It gets personal. Maybe you’re criticized for something that wasn’t your fault, or maybe for something you can’t change. Some people like finding petty things to criticize, nit-picking your every move. It’s mean, rude, and unnecessary.

Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

-Dale Carnegie

In my adult life, I’ve received a lot of criticism for being too quiet. It’s come from professors, boyfriends, acquaintances–even total strangers. I’m learning to take it with a grain of salt because the criticism is unjust. It doesn’t alter my ability to get my job done. It doesn’t make me a bad person.

And since I can’t change my personality, how does this criticism benefit me? Unjust criticism hurts the person more than it helps them.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

-Ephesians 4:29

Oftentimes unjust criticism has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the other person. As Dale Carnegie put it:

Unjust criticism is usually a disguised compliment. It often means that you have aroused jealousy and envy. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog.

 

Unjust criticism gets me down. Like, really down. On the same token, praise and accolades have the opposite effect–it can cause me to think I’m somehow better than others. I’ve learned to avoid this by using the metaphor of an ice chest: be insulated against both criticism and praise. Take both into consideration, but don’t let it affect you personally.

Don’t let compliments go to your head and don’t let criticism get to your heart.

 

Wise words from the blogosphere

Lately I’ve been reading a lot on other blogs, seeking wisdom and inspiration from the many talented writers out there. I’m not feeling particularly philosophical this week, so rather than writing something original, I want to share my favorite quotes from other blogs that really resonate with me (and maybe will with you too!):

  • On running. Yes, I feel crazy for signing up for a half-marathon (which is one month away, yikes!), but this running blog reminded me that it’s okay to be a little crazy. Because passion and crazy often go hand-in-hand. And people will always respect you for being passionate about something, whether it’s running, a great cause/organization, career, collecting GI Joes…anything!

What if we stopped there.  We wanted to try something new or achieve a goal not so much for the guts and glory, but just to see if it could be done, but we stop in our tracks because someone said You’re crazy.  Can you imagine if you heard the words You’re passionate, do it.  What a different world this would be. http://11315miles.com/

  • Click the link to this blog and read the rest of the list. Unless you really “have got it together”, this list of advice is for you (so, basically, it’s for all of us who aren’t Barbie or Ken):

Don’t give others the satisfaction of making you love yourself any less. http://waitingfordodo.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/some-advice-i-need-to-keep-telling-myself/

  • What is true beauty? Not perfection, but this. What a lovely thought:

Beauty is displaying all that you are like a canvas splattered with an array of colors. Even though it may look bonkers and deranged, that is why it is beautiful. Beauty is you. Beauty is exhibiting the good, the bad, and the messy.  http://jenuinelife.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/stepping-in-the-beauty-of-vulnerability/

  • On online dating profiles. Ever notice how hard it is to find a normal, decent, genuinely nice guy? It’s like they’re not out there! Which is why this quote is so perfect to me. If I ventured into the world of online dating, I’d probably put this in my bio… 

Normal seeks same. How hard can THAT be, RIGHT???? A bit about me… I’m pretty normal and well-grounded from life’s lessons.  My Energizers are Sun, Water, Music, Workouts… I feed myself with these and then Energize the world. http://datingwhatnot.com/2013/09/12/what-not-to-do-the-worst-online-dating-profile-ever/

  • On love songs. This is by far my favorite dating blog. It’s personal, fun to read, and perfect for strong, independent single ladies who still believe in love.

I want one of those relationships where the two people just adore each other. Where you have nothing but lovely things to say about each other, even if you’ve had a fight. Where words are used carefully because both of you are aware of the scars they can leave and the irreparable damage they can do. Where there is mutual respect and caring. Where both people do things for each other, just because. Where both people feel loved and special. http://27singlesydneyau.wordpress.com/