Thursday, November 17, 2011

She Will Run - Wk 3 Criticism

It is certainly not a coincidence that since looking at the topic of criticism, I have heard, seen, read and experienced things related to it. A bit like when you are pregnant or wanting to be and you see every pregnant women wherever you go. This study has opened my eyes to new perspectives and made me more aware of what I say and do.

The essential question that I came away with is how do you see yourself? Everyone has an opinion about us and what we do, and many like to offer it. Whether couched in positive language, sarcastic or harsh, criticism is hard to hear.

Picture if you will a backpack, strapped on your back ready for the trip {your journey in life}. At your feet is a pile of rocks of various sizes. The rocks represent those words of criticism that we hear. From the small well intentioned comment stone to the constant, critical, uninvited rocks, we have a choice to make. Do we take them on board, adjust our straps and go through life weighed down with the extra baggage? I would far rather pack the things that matter in life. So how do we deal with the rocks?

It starts with you. Have you defined who you are? I came across this post at the beauty of different blog. How amazing are you? You were made to be loved, valued and appreciated. We are on a journey to be better people. No one is perfect. In the words of Charles Swindoll {a world renowned Christian leader}, "Don't tell yourself that you really are the kind of person others say you are. If what is being said against you is not true, don't believe it." I have found it valuable to get down in writing who I am and want to be. I have put together a folder 'Defining Me'. More on this in a later post.

Take time to reflect on your criticism. Sometimes it is as easy as refusing to take on board the comments made. More often we need to process it further. Ask yourself is the criticism true? Did I behave in the right way? What would those who love me the most think of it? Is my conscience clear and are there any changes I need to make? {SWR p28-29} It is so valuable to weigh up the comments made with truth. Surround yourself with people whose opinion you trust and who encourage you.

Sometimes it is necessary in addressing the criticism to approach the person it came from especially if you are churning over it. This depends on who your critic is. Sometimes it can make the situation worse. It helps to allow the other person to clarify themselves. Ask them to help you understand what they meant by what they said. If you want to express your feelings use I statements. Avoid confronting them as it can make you critical.

Finally if despite all you have done the criticism still hurts, making a decision to forgive the other person allows you to be free from the hurt. Know you are not alone. 'being criticised places you with the company of the greats; Jesus - who has maintained his place in history as a good man and a Saviour for two thousand years - was, and is criticised, alongside every other person who has attempted to accomplish anything of any significance over the centuries.' {SWR p32} As I heard on Joyce Meyer - Enjoying Everyday Life on Radio Rhema this morning, if everyone who tried something was criticised and even failed, gave up, there wouldn't be any major accomplishments. It is often by our imperfections that we learn and grow. It is in picking ourselves up and moving on that we are made stronger.

I leave you with this quote that I was given during a scrapbooking workshop called Embracing Imperfection at Big Picture Scrapbooking. 'Revel in your imperfections, be entertained by your problems. And know that once you looked ahead, and wished you were where you are now, and once again you will look back and smile.'

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