“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”. – Aristotle
Because I was extremely afraid of being judged, I took everything, from everyone, as condemnation.
I realise criticism doesn’t always come gently, from someone legitimately trying to help. A lot of the feedback we receive is unsolicited. Maybe there’s a lesson in every criticism, if only we were willing to find it.
We cannot control what others have to say of us, good or bad, either way they have the freedom to speak their minds. But we surely can control how we accept it, internalise it, respond to it, and learn from it, right?
After listening to so much of blabbering with clear signs of discord, I segregate criticism as good / constructive or bad / projected. If I feel that in the long run it is going to invest in making me a better person, then I don’t hold back to take it into consideration. But if my brain hints me to something unfruitful which is only going to depreciate my morale and my building endeavouring spirit, I get it off like a wrong and accidental call (plus avoid answering to it).
But how do we differentiate between constructive and projected criticism?
“What could I have done better?” – constructive criticism answers this question. Constructive criticism comes along to help us, educate us, helps us forge ideas and improves our performance. Moreover, it is thought of and calculated. Projected criticism is more likely to be a personal attack, it tends to embarrass us, dissolves and tears up our ideas, makes us feel terrible and worse by rapid – fire and random responses.
I question myself, “what are the possible reasons that compelled them to say this to me?” This question gives rise to a clamour in my mind. I try to analyse and conclude facts from other’s perspectives because we humans tend to judge ourselves by our intentions (while others judge us by our actions).
“It is much more valuable to look and learn from other’s strengths. There is nothing I can gain by criticising their imperfections” is the thought that pops up in my mind which prevents me from initiating a bitter dissension or calling them to heel in my favour.
It’s important to have a feedback loop so that we know how well we have performed and how we can do it better. Thus it’s important to classify criticism as constructive or projected so as to take the necessary required actions.