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When I was in fourth grade, someone told me I had a “critical spirit.” I had no clue what she meant by that. I remember trying to process her meaning and coming up short. I was only about ten years old and though I’m no longer ten, I still have to wonder her point of telling me that at that age. I felt confused and thought she just didn’t like me. Ironically enough, that was my beginning to dealing with criticism, even though I had no clue what the word meant.
Maybe you know someone with a critical spirit. They point out not only your flaws, but the flaws of everyone around them. They notice every detail, pride themselves on the fact, and keep an eagle eye out for that one wrong thing to “pop up.”
Having a game plan for how to cope with criticism is half the battle of dealing with it. Though I’ve not perfected my plan to the “T” (or would that be “P?”) I’ve been forced to learn how to handle myself when criticized. Remember I said I’ve not perfected this, will you? So today, on this wonderful Whimsical Wednesday, let’s discuss how to cope with criticism.
1. Design a plan for coping with criticism.
Maybe your first step is deciding if the criticism is justified. The second is deciding if you want to discuss the justification or lack thereof. The third is reminding yourself of the tone you want to use.
I tend to think through my mom’s old saying: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
While she used this to help me think through my own thoughts and actions PRIOR to the behavior, these three questions can be advantageous in processing criticism directed towards you as well.
If the words are true, then do I truly believe the best case scenario is to explain the “why?” Or can I simply let it go because God knows why and that is enough?
If the words are kind, then the case is closed. Though the results of the words may sting, if this person loves me, they are extending themselves to be kind. I have to make myself willing to improve.
If the words are necessary, then can I grasp their meaning or do I need to discuss the issue further?
The above is simply a suggestion. I would encourage you to think through the times you’ve been criticized in the past and how you handled it. Then think how would you handle it differently now. Based on the comparisons, design a short plan for responding to criticism.
2. After a plan for handling criticism is in place, make it creative enough to memorize.
Acronyms, a catchy one phrase tune, whatever you need to do- but have that plan memorized! I have a little rhyme I use to sift through negativity aimed my way. I shared it on The Better Mom this week:
Mine is Think.Blink.Wink. I think about the issue, especially how it is simply a “blink” in time and I wink my eye, recognizing the brevity of the situation.
So many times the long term effects are non-existent if I can stretch myself to look that direction instead of focusing on the immediate present.
3. Demo the plan.
You can play through a scenario in your mind a thousand times over, but it may not play out the way it did in your mind. Try out your creative, coping plan and test the waters. Give it a few trials to determine how well it is working. Don’t gauge the success of the plan on one effort! The success of the plan should be gauged on how well it assists you in responding with your desired attitude and mindset.
4. Most of all, PRAY!
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matt. 5:44
If you can’t find the words, then take a look at this post from last week- a prayer for when you have been criticized. Remember that the Holy Spirit is always our present Helper!
How do you cope with criticism? Whether you are a blogger linking up or a reader who loves to think, I’d love it if you’d share your ideas!