“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale
All people like to be praised as it boosts their self-esteem, keeps them motivated and happy but it also pushes them into the abyss of sham, which is propelled by hypocrisy and sycophancy.
We like to think that we are the best; we are the most successful; we are more intelligent and smart.
Anyone who criticizes us earns our instant dislike and we try to keep that person at arms length. If we happen to be at a higher position we try to take a punitive action against our critics.
Criticism is a subtle message that we need to embellish our personality and manner of working. Sometimes such messages are loud and hurting but they do ring a bell within us. They may seem to belittle us but they need to be heard.
I have learnt many lessons from my critics. When I was told ‘I am arrogant,’ I made every effort to analyze my personality. When I was told I was reticent, I tried to come out of my shell.
I learnt to smile from my critics. I learnt patience, compassion and humility from my critics.
When I was a teacher, I was given an extra charge of writing press notes of all school events. It was not an easy task and each time I handed over the report to my boss, it was criticized and thrown back at me.
Today when I look back, my heart is filled with gratitude towards her because she helped me enhance my writing skills, ignited the fire within me to put in my best and fostered the ability to become emotionally resilient.
Why is criticism essential?
- It is an eye-opener
- It steers us out of self-deception
- It points out our mistakes
- It acquaints us with our imperfections
- It develops our emotional quotient
- It helps us in introspection
- It makes us a better person
Keep the windows of your mind open:
Welcome all kinds of feedback, more so if it is negative. All people can say good things about your work, way of dressing up and demeanor. Only the truthful ones, the unsuccessful and the jealous ones would point out your mistakes. Listen to them and reflect upon what they have said. Growth and learning happens only when we are receptive to criticism.
When we listen carefully what others have to say about us, we get an opportunity to know others’ perspective. We tend to tune off even when our friends try to convey a negative aspect of our persona but each negative insight can contribute to our positive development only if we pay attention to it.
Can you lie to yourself? Self-awakening hits us only when we find the time to drop into our heart. Our weaknesses reveal themselves one by one when we make an effort to understand the cause of criticism. Such experiences ennoble us. They prepare us for forgiveness. I forgive myself before I decide to forgive those who have hurt me with their insensitive words.
The aunt who told me not to laugh loudly, the teacher who punished me for being rude, the friend who mimicked me for being a cry baby, the student who glared at me for giving unsolicited moral advice and the neighbor who criticized me for being unsocial, they all taught me profound lessons of life!
It is easier to praise but hard to criticize. Let’s bless our critics, as we owe gratitude to them for showing the mirror to our true face.
Critical thinking is a gift that nature has given us. Let’s use it judiciously and constructively.
I am sure you too have faced some critics. What did you learn from them?
Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections.
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