The Web Sage
Copyright © 2002 by Joe Freeman. All rights reserved.
Who is Your Critic?
I have often heard people say 'I am my own worst critic'. When we say this, we mean to say that we judge ourselves more harshly than others judge us. Why would we do that? Why do we judge ourselves so harshly? Isn't the world cruel enough without piling on more with our own harsh judgments?
This may come from some fear deep inside of us that believes that if we judge ourselves harshly, maybe those who are exposed to our performance or attitudes won't be so critical about us if they see that were are aware of these faults. The danger of critiquing yourself in this manner is that you may be missing some valuable feedback (popular corporate buzzword for constructive criticism) from others who see you in a different light. Using this process allows you to dismiss others with comments like - 'Yes, I know. I was awful. I need to work on ......'. We are all different and have different backgrounds and filters which we process all this information. What I see may be totally different from what you see, and that could be very valuable information for you.
If you really want to improve in this game called life, be open to valid, constructive criticism from people who know you and are willing to be honest and open about your performance or attitude, etc. Is this easy? Absolutely not? Can it be done? Absolutely yes!
The secret to any development need is communication, communication, communication. You must be willing to quietly listen to others as they give you honest, open feedback. This requires trust on your part that your critic is not being vindictive just to irritate you, and trust on your critics part that you are not going to retaliate in some manner. For example, your critic says that you should stop interrupting others and allow them to finish making their point. You don't believe that you behave in this manner so you immediately start to defend yourself. You accuse your critic of the same or even worst behavior. This is retaliation.
Find someone close to you that you can trust and ask them for feedback. Trust is the big word. You can also offer to provide this person with your feedback. Make it a team effort and both of you will grow from the experience.
Honest criticism is hard to take,
particularly from a relative, a friend,
an acquaintance, or a stranger.
Don't abuse your friends and
expect them to consider it criticism.
Edgar W. Howe
Consult your friend on all things,
especially on those which respect yourself.
His counsel may then be useful when your own self-love might impair your judgement.