Criticism for the Wise

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"The wiser you are the more quickly you will learn from criticism." Jeanne Hensley
I've fought criticism in my day. Criticism is judging something or someone. We have all experienced it but what sets us apart is how we handle it. Because the only thing you need to do in order to receive criticism is to be born, I thought I’d share a few tips to handle it like a pro. In the past 8 years I have learned a different way of receiving and handling criticism. I used to refuse and rebuke it with all my strength (I was actually pretty good at it). Then, I allowed someone to get really close to me and ask me a very important question: “Why?” This person turned out to be more than one who are that close to my heart. They are mentors who really love and care for me. They also fit into the Proverbs 25:12 category: "A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold." Here is the key: my ears needed to be receptive. This special group of people also practice a truth found in Proverbs 25:11 “A word spoken at the right time is like fruit of gold set in silver.” There’s another version of this verse that says that “timely advice is lovely,” and I can’t agree more. After practicing this new way of receiving and handling criticism, I asked myself, why did I run from it for so long? I recently heard a professional counselor say that every criticism has some truth in it so that’s probably why it’s hard to handle it. The key for me was not to be as I was before: completely closed to it but receptive. If there’s wisdom in the criticism, use it - no matter how much it hurts my pride while promoting my growth. If the criticism comes from a hurt (toxic) person... well, I know just what to do with that: throw it away. Hurt people hurt people.
How do you handle criticism as you mature?