I find it sad that as soon as someone criticises us, we feel we need to retaliate. As a child, I didn’t notice because I was too angry to care.
But criticism is nothing more than another person’s observation of us: if there is an issue there we must deal with it, but first we must recognise it. The problem we have with criticism, is that what others see is not normally how we think of ourselves. We see it as a slur on us, but that’s not what it is. It’s a slur on our behaviour, it’s our behaviour they’re struggling with.
In some cases, the people who see us in that way are probably right, but because we’re in denial we don’t see what they see. We hate giving others the satisfaction of them knowing us, but if it’s family or friends they are usually well versed, in the same way we are well versed with them.
People will often tell us things that are in our best interests because they care, but we won’t always see it that way. But if we are prepared to listen, another person’s viewpoint will always give us the opportunity to learn something about ourselves. When we’re too quick to defend ourselves, we will fail to learn.
It is usually only when we have calmed down and we use that time to reflect that we see they’re right, but we will never admit to it. Trying to see another person’s point of view, or agreeing will always defuse what could turn into a heated argument.
But ‘accepting criticism’ gives both parties the opportunity to remain calm and stay friends, particularly as what’s said is often given in good faith. We must see it that way.