Criticism

4 05 2015

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – Proverbs 27:6

A sweet friend came to me with a hard question. How do you handle a critic? We all know the sinking feeling that hits your heart when someone criticizes you, your work, or someone you love. It is challenging to listen to criticism with a calm heart because even the best-intentioned criticism hurts. No one likes to have their flaws, errors, or shortcomings brought into the light. Sometimes criticism flows from a misunderstanding or a need on the part of the critic. Whatever its source, criticism has the power to rattle your confidence and steal your joy.

Here are five steps to handling criticism when it comes your way –

  1. Listen as thoughtfully and calmly as possible. Often our first thought is to formulate an answer, begin to internally criticize our critic, or get very emotional. Staying calm and listening carefully allows you to process someone’s concern all the way through.
  2. Consider the source of the criticism. This is where the wisdom from the Proverbs writer comes into focus. If the concern comes from a trusted friend it needs to be heard differently than criticism from someone who doesn’t know you, doesn’t have all the information, or is a criticism-enthusiast.
  3. Ask yourself if there is a legitimate concern in what they are saying. This is hard because our first reaction is usually defensiveness or guilt, but it is important to stop and think about whether or not there is any validity in what is being said.
  4. Ask your critic what their solution would be. This does two things. First, it can change the tone of the conversation away from criticism to finding an answer. Second, many times this gives you the best insight into the source of their real concern. Ask them how they would be willing to help implement their solution.
  5. Say thank you. You want to be someone who is open to other’s praise and criticism. Showing gratitude in difficult moments keeps the doors of communication open.

My Jesus Resolution today is to set my heart on receiving criticism with grace. No one wants criticism, but honestly, there are times I need a friend to tell me a truth I don’t see or want to hear. I want to build relationships in which accountability is cultivated and valued. If I am going to look like Jesus, I need others to show me (and tell me) the way.


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2 responses

4 05 2015
Peggy

Great advice!

4 05 2015
Donna Jefferson

WOW – what wonderful information and encouragement!!! Thanks so much!

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