I find it sad how as soon as someone criticises us, we feel the need to retaliate. As a child, I didn’t struggle with the concept because I was too angry to care. But criticism is nothing more than another person’s observation of us, how they see us act or react, or deal with other people.
The problem we have with criticism is that what others see is not normally what we see or 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 a different way to how we see ourselves are right, but because we’re in denial we don’t see what they see. We hate giving others the satisfaction that they might actually know us, but if it’s family or friends they are usually well versed, in the same way we are well versed on how we see them.
People will often tell us in our best interests because they care, but we won’t 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 about ourselves.
It’s only when we’ve calmed down and we’ve used that time to reflect that we know they’re right, but we’ll never admit to it. Agreeing or trying to see another person’s point of view will always diffuse what could turn into a heated argument.
But what ‘accepting criticism’ does is give both parties the opportunity to remain calm and stay friends, particularly as it’s often given in good faith.