Happy Friday Team!
I pray your week has gone well and your weekend is even better.
If you attended Monday morning devotion, I talked about Dr. Charles Stanley’s Sunday topic, “How to Handle Criticism and Praise. The message was supported by Proverbs 15:22 and Proverbs 27:2. I loved that message because many people, including me, sometimes need to be reminded of why we respond to criticism the way we do and, more importantly, how we should react to it.
We all enjoy praise, but when it comes to criticism, not so much. Sometimes our reactions can be defensive. We may stop talking, stop listening, and shut down. And when criticism comes in a very harsh manner or from someone we don’t necessarily trust, we are especially suspicious of what they have to say. We feel that person’s motives are designed to belittle or demean us.
Whether criticism comes from a friend or foe, there are some reasons we might consider as to why we react as we do. Dr. Stanley asked that we think about these four issues:
- We may have a poor self-image (we may lack confidence about who we are and what we can do. We may feel incompetent, unloved, or inadequate. People with low self-esteem are afraid of making mistakes or letting others down.)
- We cannot accept criticism because it is seen as rejection. (we may be afraid of not being liked, being abandoned, not fitting in, or being alone).
- We may be perfectionists in our attitudes toward life. (Perfectionism isn’t attainable. We can find ourselves setting unrealistic goals because we are setting perceived external standards when not met, leaving us secretly wounded and worried that others would reject us for falling short.)
- Finally, Pride gets in the way. (Pride comes before a fall, says the Word of God, thus, pride prevents growth and excessive pride prevents the growth of other virtues. Pride stops us from recognizing our shortcomings or mistakes.)
I had to do some self-reflection as I pondered his comments. The truth is, Dr. Stanley is right. Any of these can get in the way. When we feel attacked (criticized), we get defensive. When we are defensive, we either lash out or shut down.
Whatever you do, however you handle criticism, know this—we all fall short. It is easy to look at others and talk about how they handle things, but much more challenging to look at ourselves. We must be willing to do the work for any growth to occur. That work starts with one in the mirror, and I will be the first to sign on to do the job.
Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.