Saturday, 5 April 2008

How To Deal With Criticism

If you're alive you're familiar with our subject on this post... criticism.
While we may have had many an opportunity to have to 'deal' with criticism being leveled at us... it doesn't necessarily mean that we have handled it really well.

As you know I have been reading the book unChristian, and they gave me a few idea's for this post.

  1. Respond with the right perspective
Isn't it amazing how Jesus never seemed overly perplexed when He was faced with criticism.
In fact Jesus taught in the beatitudes that we should consider ourselves blessed when criticized for righteousness sake.
Paul counted it a privilege when criticized and persecuted to be connected with the name of Jesus.

2. Redefine

When Jesus' critics tried to set the agenda in their criticism Jesus redefined what the boundaries of the debate / criticism were really about.
'Shouldn't the sabbath be kept holy?'
"Of course they should be... but for what reason?"

3. Walk a mile in their shoes

Jesus always discerned what people's underlying motives where. Was the person just being hostile and self-righteous... or was this coming from a place of hurt? After all, hurt people... hurt people!

4. Focus on what you can control

While most people shake with anger when criticized... instead of being concerned with what has been done to you... one's focus must be upon what is happening in me!

I have always found it interesting that Jesus taught us to bless those who criticize and persecute us. But when we pray for our critics ... something happens on the inside of us. Our focus switches from ourselves and what has been done to us... and we begin to experience true love and compassion for our critics.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you have personally handled criticism in your life : )

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it really depends on who is doing the criticising. Most of the time criticism rolls off my back - but that comes from a process of having learned to let people own their own 'stuff'. Criticism can hurt more when it comes from those we hold in high esteem. That can take a bit more processing. One thing about being criticised is that it gives us a valuable reminder as to why we should try to be gentle when addressing issues with other people. Words can really hurt! Sometimes even more so when we realise that the person doing the criticising has a valid point. Then we have to take a hard look at ourselves. If the criticism has merit, learn from it and adjust. If it doesn't, let it go.

One aspect of criticism you didn't mention is self-criticism. Some of us are our own worst critics. I know I can be guilty of that though try to keep mistakes in perspective. A good self-examination of where our inner critic has been developed can help heal that as can letting go of the need to be perfect. For example, if there's a phrase we keep hearing ourselves thinking, who in our past said that? Just putting it in context can break that thing.

How we address criticism says a lot about who we are, especially in the context of leadership. When I'm criticised, I try to respond empathetically - how does this person see the situation? That goes a long way towards resolving a situation.

Prov 20.3; Rom 14:19;