To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. Elbert Hubbard
One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself. Mark Twain
He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help. Abraham Lincoln
Constructive criticism is powerful tool for self-improvement. It provides unbiased and important feedback. To be effective it requires a level of maturity by both the person who critiques and the person being critiqued.
Criticism intended to diminish is not well-intentioned and not constructive. It will be poorly received. In addition to hurt feelings; it may do temporary or permanent damage to the relationship. If we criticize someone to hurt them or make them feel bad, then we are not really trying to help them. The precepts of the Golden Rule fit nicely. If the nature and intent of our criticism is not what we would like to receive ourselves, then we should not be giving it either. Teachers, superiors, friends and loved ones should be sources of constructive criticism. Pre-teens, teenagers, peer groups and family members are often openly critical and hurtful of their members.
Those who are unable or unwilling to receive criticism are often too fragile to benefit from well-intentioned observations and feedback. Instead of processing the information to improve their efforts, they will be too offended. They will be self-defensive and may likely find fault and be openly critical in return. If someone does not desire feedback, it is best to avoid providing it. A person must want help to be helped.
Some people can criticize but are unable to be criticized. Some can take criticism but are unable to criticize others constructively. If we are unwilling to be constructively criticized we are probably ill-equipped to criticize. Key points are what is in our heart, what are our reasons and how fragile is our self-esteem?
If we are not relatively mature and open-minded, we will not be receptive to criticism. If we want to be and do better, there is nothing like having another set of eyes helping us do better. An experienced mentor or teacher can help us greatly. None of us are exempt from criticism, it will happen. A good rule of thumb is always consider the source as well as the intent of criticism. Filter out what is useless and use what is worthwhile. We can never control the words and actions of others. If we are insecure we will always be vulnerable. We are always in control (or should be) of how we respond to actions and words of others. Being desirous of “constructive criticism” is an indication of our maturity and growth.
Challenge: How secure are you in desiring and wanting constructive criticism from those around you? Are you able to give constructive criticism to others? There is growth potential on both ends of this. Be able to give and be able to receive. It is a sign of maturity to be able to receive the criticism of others without being offended. Always consider the source. Use the good and flush the worthless. It is good to help others if they want help.
Wisdom: Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. Dale Carnegie
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, then new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 1 John 2:10
As long as we are insecure and have major problems with self-esteem, we do not want anyone to remind us of our problems. We are not in a proper mindset to get help. As we grow and mature, we become more capable and desirous of good feedback. As we grow and mature in our relationship with God, we become increasingly desirous of His feedback. We have a mentor and teacher, the Holy Spirit who becomes our guide and teacher.
Prayer: Help me to be mature enough to want to know the truth about myself. Help me to continue to grow.