"In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery."  Proverbs 28:23

Sometimes when we are faced with criticism we can take what someone else meant for negative and turn it around to a positive.

Have you ever considered how much you could actually learn from criticism?  Really, think about it.  If you can keep an open mind and not get defensive, then the more criticism you receive, the more you would learn about your relationships, your job or even your spiritual life.  And the more you learn, the wiser and possibly talented you would become.  It's a cycle.  With knowledge comes confidence and through knowledge and confidence, incredible things happen.  I know it sounds easy, but it’s not.

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 Some of us are very thin-skinned when it comes to criticism.  And, I’m not trying to be sexist, but it seems to me that men can let criticism go easier than women.  What do you think?

Of course, in this day-and-age, you are going to get criticism from not only friends and family, but from people who don't even have a clue.  I talked about how people love to give their opinions, even if they don't know anything about you or what you do.  But the beauty of criticism is, you can learn from all people.  As a matter of fact, you might learn more from strangers because your friends and family sometimes hold back on what you really need to hear.  I know I have done that before; and I have lived to regret it because later it came out at the wrong time, at a time when it was not needed and the results were painful for me and the person I said it to.  When you feel the urge to say something to someone, especially if it is a criticism, do it thoughtfully.  Otherwise you may drive a wedge between you that cannot be mended.

Most people can easily blow off negative comments from someone who has no experience in their situation; say someone who criticizes how you parent and they don’t even have kids. You might be able to still learn something from them if you don’t blow them off, however. You can take it or leave it. But it's with experts and with those with experience that people tend to have a hard time accepting negative observations.  For some reason, people have a very hard time seeing past it – those words keep playing over and over in your mind and you get angrier and angrier. Problem with this is that you usually end up taking your anger out on the innocent ones who had nothing to do it with and that makes you feel worse…a vicious cycle.

But, if you really stop and  think about it, by definition, a critic is an expert in a particular field, who uses his or her vast knowledge to evaluate the authenticity of someone else's work. Rather than viewing them negatively, you can think about what advice you can gain from them.

1396144Let's take a food critic for example. The only way they got that job is by proving, through years of hard work that they would be a superior judge of food quality and taste.  So if you're a chef in five-star restaurant and you receive a bad review from one of these critics, you have a choice to make.  You can get angry and write them off as an idiot, or you can find something positive in that review.  Now with the first option, you really don't learn anything, and honestly, you just look like a sore loser. But with the second option, by looking for the positive in a negative, you will be able to gain knowledge based on that critic's experiences; experiences that are different from your own.  You will also develop as a chef and as a person.  Not to say that everything the critic writes is 100% truth – it never is.  There could be several points that you do not agree with and rightly so, but if you can train yourself to take a deep breath and pull at least one or two positive aspects from their criticism, you will be amazed at how much you can learn.

So, let them bring on the criticism!  You’re a big girl/guy and you can take it!  And who knows, with enough criticism, maybe someday you will become the expert critic, and imagine how much knowledge you would be able to share then. And, you could do it in the way you think is best!

So, are you ready to say MORE CRITICISM, PLEASE?

You can take it - I believe in you!