I had a day recently where I forgot to send my daughter’s recorder with her to school, was the victim of road rage thankfully within the confines of my car and his car, couldn’t provide the report my boss wanted at work, threw away most of the school lunches which the kids had refused to eat and had a visit from a friend who told me I was obsessing too much over something and it was getting boring.
So all in all it was a normal day, but a day full of criticism. If I wasn’t criticising myself, someone else was stepping in and doing it for me.
So what do I do with all this criticism, how much does the constant bombardment of “you are doing the wrong thing” become the “you are not good enough”. I mean really I could have paid more attention to the road while I was driving. Does this mean I am a bad mother, driver, employee, cook and friend?… am I likely to have a road accident before long, not be able to hold down a relationship, soon be looking on SEEK for my next career move?
Well constructively taken, yes I could definitely tweak some of those areas.
HOWEVER, how constructively we take that criticism depends on the value we attribute to our sense of self worth. Isn’t it strange how well we take criticism in some areas of our lives and how badly we take it in others. If we have the sense that “I am not worthy” then criticism is going to fuel the poor me or defensiveness and anger at the least and at the worst, lead to unrealistically high standards and the criticism of others to help us feel better about ourselves.
So herein lies the secret, where you are hypersensitive to criticism, whether it be aggressive or a passing comment from a friend (who is now an annoying friend!) or you find yourself criticising others, is where you need to focus.
Chances are you were criticised or humiliated some time in your life and therefore learned all on your own that you were not good enough at that thing that someone is picking on you or you are picking on someone, for now.
What you need here is: PERSPECTIVE! Do you in fact do a reasonable job at the subject in question, do you 90% of the time send the kids to school with the 101 things they need to complete a single day of learning (including a well thought out, healthy lunch), drive on the correct side of the road and generally follow the road rules, provide your boss with what they need most of the time to get the job done and listen to your friend tell you about the 101 issues in her life.
And if you don’t, then be honest with yourself and do something about it.
The crux of the matter here is:
Don’t decide you are not good enough because someone else made you feel that way. Don’t base decisions on passing emotions.
Get perspective, know your qualities, value yourself on who you are and what you have achieved.
Release the emotion and then make a mature judgement, take the criticism move it around in your head for a bit, do you need to tweak something here, improve something there. So learn/improve away… but do not define yourself or your self worth on someone else’s opinion (especially as that person is very likely to need to take their own criticism) think again – YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE.
And last but not least for those who know they do it
GUIDE – Don’t Criticise