Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Whom Will We Accept Criticism?

I think of pride as the inability to accept criticism as a chance for introspection. I think the truly humble hear criticism (no matter the content and context) and think, “Is that correct?” I think the truly proud hear criticism (no matter the content and context) and think, “Shove it, jerk!” I think most of us vacillate somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, often depending on how much we like and respect the person who is offering the criticism.

I think the truest test of humility is how we react to criticism from those we don’t like or respect - and I certainly need to work on that.


SilverRain said...

I've been thinking over this very question. I think the conclusion you came from might be true, but in light of my experiences, I've wondered if always blaming yourself is not in some ways another form of pride.

I think it is good to ask "is it true", but you have to be able to move beyond that and realize that not everything others say about you is true.

I think that for some of us who are prone to accepting criticism and blame, pride takes a strange form. It is as if by blaming ourselves, we are believing that we have control over the situation. Sort of a martyr complex.

And when taken too far, that outlook can deny the power of God in you.

SilverRain said...

Came TO, not from. Urgh, not enough sleep.

Richard Alger said...

It may be hard to accept criticism from someone you are very close to. There are two books that have really helped me with this.

The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell. He uses the the story of Abigail and David to describe our relationship between the sinner the sinned against and Jesus. It really opened my eyes.

Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves by C. Terry Warner. He describes the collusion or the dance we dance with our closest relationships and how to make them healthy.

Papa D said...

I agree totally, SilverRain. There is a fine line between learning from criticism, internalizing criticism as always correct, and taking pride in how we react to criticism. That line is even finer with certain personalities and situations, especially when low self-esteem and/or abuse is involved.

The last thing I want this post to imply is that others' criticism is always right - and that rejecting ANY criticism is a sign of pride. It's the initial response, NOT the final response, that is the key, imo.

Rich, I absolutely LOVE "The Peacegiver". Wonderful book.

SilverRain said...

That is a much better way of phrasing it. Thank you!

Patty said...

I think of relationships I've had with people who couldn't accept criticism and whose pride kept them from admitting weakness, and how much they lost out on because they couldn't let themselves be wrong.
It's especially humbling to be given criticism by someone you dislike or have very little respect for, but sometimes they're the most honest and blunt about it.

Anonymous said...

criticism is basically unproductive.the MORMONS have done wonderful things in the state of CALIFORNIA in regard to the sanctity of marriage. I realize all too often you get hammered because of open revelation. the inquiry of concept and precepts of truth must take a back seat to ones relationship with JESUS. arguing is inflammatory and unfruitful and no one ever changes sides in the struggle. salutations.