When you receive criticism take a moment to pause. Let this time be a kind of speed bump to slow down and “try on” what is being said.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan
No one likes to be criticized and judged. We like the way we are doing our lives and anyone who disapproves is clearly wrong!
Oops! What just happened? How can it be that we, too, may be just as critical of others, and they don’t care for it very much either?
What if instead of blocking this feedback and defending our positions, we simply paused to consider their perspective?
What would happen if we actually looked for the potential value in what was being said?
How might new ways of looking at ourselves create new opportunities for growth and self-improvement?
How would slowing down for the seemingly critical speed bumps offered by others make your travel through life smoother?
How might the ideas that are shared actually fit if you “try them on” for size?
If you still find them too tight, loose, itchy, or the wrong color, you can take them off.
Sometimes we forget that what is happening around us and within us is our real life.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson
My wife and I love to go to the movies. She frequently lets me know what is playing and gives me an overview to help us choose what to see. In our efforts to not waste our time, I often seek the guidance of review services such as Rotten Tomatoes to provide the perspectives of both the critics and the audience. We tend to trust the audience more given the fact that critics can be—you know—critical.
What if your life was a movie? What rating would you give it up to this point? How engaging are the people and events? In the case of our own lives, we are both critic and the audience. We are also the screenwriter, director, producer, and lead actor that can improve our rating as we go.
How can and will you break out the popcorn, candy, and beverage of your choice to more fully enjoy the reality of what’s showing in your life?
“Behind every criticism is a veiled wish.”
—Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist
Image from Unsplash by ahi ismail
How do you feel when you are criticized?
How often is your immediate response to defend yourself or perhaps go on the offense and attack others?
Explore a few recent interactions in which you were criticized for something you did or didn’t do.
Dig deeper into the thoughts and emotions of that person to see if there was a hidden desire or veiled wish below their barbed message. What did they secretly want that was not communicated in an acceptable way?
How might you shift your perspective and translate the harshness of their words into simple requests that would have a higher probability of acceptance?
A few books that can help your relationship skills are Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Confrontations.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this post with your email address and I will be pleased to send you a copy of my one page Communication Toolbox.
“Counting other people’s sins does not make you a saint.”
Image from Unsplash by Tanner Mardis
What does it mean to live a good and meaningful life?
How important is it for you to be kind, thoughtful, generous, and of service?
Where do you see yourself on the saint-to-sinner spectrum of human behavior?
Many of us look at life and others with a critical eye. We often make comparisons to justify our predominate good-deed-doing status, and give ourselves pretty good marks on most days.
How many “brownie points” it takes to get into Heaven, no one knows. Keeping score of other’s sins is unlikely to increase your chances. Finding fault may actually be the type of sin we all should avoid.
How can and will you more fully express your values through virtuous actions?
Where and how can you more fully seek and find the saintly efforts within your personal and professional communities?
“We all have our limitations, but when we listen to our critics, we also have theirs.”
—Robert Brault, American freelance writer
Image from Unsplash by SEP
One of the very first personal development programs I attended in my early twenties was Dr. Wayne Dyer’s How to Be A No-Limit Person.
I had recently graduated from college, was just married and entering the working world with great anticipation and excitement. Dyer’s message of being a no-limit person was just the boost I needed to bring my full energy, enthusiasm, and drive to my efforts.
Along the way, I ran into numerous professional and personal speed bumps.
Doubts and discouragement definitely caused me to not shoot as often or as high as before.
Unfortunately, I also began listening to others who put a few more mental barriers in my way, based on their own self-imposed limitations and biases.
Where and on what personal or professional matter are you being limited by your own views or the views of others?
What bold and courageous actions can and will you take to be the no-limit person you want to be?
“Dogs bark at those they do not know.”
—Samuel Daniel, 17th Century English Poet
Image from Flickr by Toshihiro Gamo
Can you imagine people barking like dogs at people they don’t know?
In many ways, we do just that, except our bark is often silent, much like a dog whistle is to we humans.
This inner bark is often our judgement, criticism, and prejudice, showing that we are rarely open or receptive to another’s point of view, perspectives, or beliefs.
Take a look at the communities within your personal and professional worlds. What, overall, is the cost of the silent and not so silent “barking”?
Peace and a sense of unified community is hard to find, even if all signs point to things being fine on the surface.
Where would acknowledging and working on your own judgmental and critical tendencies support your cooperative and collaborative nature with those you’ve barked at in the past?
“Praise does wonders for our sense of hearing.”
—Arnold Glasgow, Psychologist
Image from Flickr by Team Omega Racing
If you’ve ever been to a loud concert, or slept next to someone who snores, you know the value of a good set of earplugs!
When we consider the difference between what people say and what others hear, we may think that some people forget to remove their earplugs when they rise in the morning.
Those little foam rubber buds may protect our ears from harsh noises, but we may also want to investigate the harsh judgements and criticism we choose to hear or block out.
How would more praise and acknowledgement improve our ability to listen, hear, and relate to one another?
“Don’t belittle yourself. Be-Big yourself.”
—Corita Kent, American Catholic Nun
Image from fineartamerica.com
There is, perhaps, no greater destructive force in relationships than that of belittling and diminishing others. Eleanor Roosevelt gave us a bit of coaching with her famous quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Today’s quote points to the not always recognized inner critic and the things we say about ourselves. How often do you chastise, berate, belittle, and judge yourself, personally or professionally?
What alternative “Be-Bigging” messages can you use now and in the future to build, empower, and support your own self-confidence and self-worth?
Consider enlisting the help and coaching of others when you aren’t aware of these often hidden attempts to bring yourself down.