Constructive Criticism

100_1598Giving good advice by reviewing shortcomings or faults in a helpful manner; an objective review, critiquing acts, tasks or behavior with careful intent

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 should be “giving good advice”. It is an opportunity for someone to give intentional and worthwhile feedback. It requires very careful attention to detail to give such advice to someone else.   

    Criticism intended to hurt is not well-intentioned and is not constructive. It does more harm than good and is poorly received. In addition to hurt feelings; it may do temporary or permanent damage to relationships. If we criticize someone to hurt them or to make them feel bad, then we are not truly trying to help them. Precepts of the Golden Rule fit nicely. If the nature and intent of our criticism is not what we would want to receive, then we should not be giving it. Teachers, parents and superiors should be our best examples of how to give good advice.  Many are not. Pre-teens and teenagers are good examples of those to whom it is so difficult to give good advice.  

    Those unable or unwilling to receive criticism may be too fragile to benefit from well-intentioned observations and feedback. Instead of processing the advice for purposes of improvement, they are too easily offended. They will be self-defensive and likely find fault and be openly critical. If someone does not desire feedback, it is often best to avoid providing it. A person must want help in order to be helped.

     Some criticize but are unable to be criticized. Some take criticism but cannot criticize others constructively. If we are unwilling to be criticized we are probably ill-equipped to criticize. The intent in our heart is critical. What are our reasons for advising and how fragile is their self-esteem?

    If we are not properly open-minded, we will not be receptive to criticism. If we are receptive, then there is nothing like having someone else give us good advice. An experienced mentor or teacher can help us greatly. None of us are exempt from being criticized, it will happen. A really good rule of thumb is to 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 too insecure, we will always be vulnerable. We are always in control, or should be, of how we respond to other’s actions and words. Being desirous of good “constructive criticism” is indication of our maturity and growth.

Challenge: Today is a good day for assessment. How secure are you in desiring and wanting good advice from those around you? Can you give good constructive criticism to others? There is growth potential on both sides of this. Be able to give and be able to receive. It is a sign of maturity to receive the criticism of others without offence. Always consider the source. Use the good, flush the worthless. Help others if they want help. 

Wisdom: A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him. Sydney Greenburg

Spiritual:

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, then new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isiah 28:26

Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 1 John 2:10

If we are insecure, we have problems with our self-esteem. We do not want anyone reminding us of our issues. We may not have the proper mindset for this kind of help. As we grow and mature, we become more capable and desirous of good constructive advice. As we grow and mature in our relationship with God, we will increasingly desire such feedback from Him. We have a mentor and teacher, the Holy Spirit, there to guide and teach us.

PrayerHelp me to be mature enough to want to know the truth about myself. Help me to continue to grow.

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