It is a great time to share with you all today yet another blog. I am grateful to all those who visited my blog last week for new reads. I really appreciate your support. In the last two weeks, my focus has been more on blogs that share insight, values and teach some morals. I can only hope that you all are in good spirits and that we can have another successful week ahead.
Today I just want to share my thought process on a subject matter that has many sides; criticism. This is one topic that depending on whom you are speaking with, their life experiences, generation, mentality, etc, you are certain to get a myriad of opinions. It will be nice to state here and now before we get neck-deep in this conversation that there are two main types of criticism. There is constructive criticism and destructive criticism. As the names imply one type of criticism helps the person criticized to learn and improve. The other tends to lean towards making the person criticized feel bad and belittle them. The objective is NOT to help the individual involved to become a better person, the critic doesn’t give valuable information as to how to become better or improve on the situation being criticized.
Now that these two categories have been somewhat established let’s look at some grey areas. I use the word “grey areas” because we live in a century and with a Millenial generation that is expert in the art of finding grey areas. Thus I felt I try to point some of these out myself. The “trend” nowadays is for people to tag anyone who criticizes them as a “hater”. It doesn’t matter if the critic is constructive or destructive. As soon as someone expresses an opinion contrary to what most people have nowadays they “must be a hater”. The second gray area is that most people who tend to tag others as haters feel like no one is in a position to criticize what they do or how they do it. In all fairness to this category of “grey area thought” I feel they are somewhat in the correct.
It is very true that except someone is financing, feeding or sleeping with us, their opinion in our lives may not really matter. However, if we go strictly by this mentality, then we have a lot of people who do not fall into the 3F category (Feeding, Financing, and F*ing, I have replaced this with “sleeping with” to make it cleaner for a general audience). We have teachers, instructors, mentors, elders, family members, well-wishers, etc who do not fall in either of the 3F’s and yet may very well have genuine positive intentions. The problem is everyone is on the “hater hype train” because it either makes them feel important or draw sympathy or allows them to play the victim. This naturally brings us to the next part of the discussion; victim mentality. <<<— please read this.
We live in times where the status quo is “be a victim because you can get paid for it”. Most people are searching for an easy payday from some lawsuit and will go to any length to try to get one. When this is the underlying principle in the minds of a greater part of the populace, then how do you think such a person can handle criticism? Obviously NOT, to receive criticism is to to be accountable for what you have done that is not in order. Receiving criticism is almost gone because now you have to be extremely careful about what you say and to whom you say it. Everyone seems to be on a “triggered spree” and is waiting to be triggered. People want to be handed criticism as soft as feathers, on a platter of gold while you kiss their backsides. However, they want to act as they please with no regard for rule, structure, consequences or even order.
As the saying goes; you can’t eat your cake and have it. There are two sides to criticism; the critic and the criticized. Both of them should be responsible for their actions. The critic should be firm but not harsh, the intention should be to teach and train not to belittle. The criticized should be accountable for their action, apologize if need be, learn and then move on to do better. If this formula is applied we can have healthy criticism. Now whether we like it or not we will always get criticized, the choice lies in the hands of the criticized. You may not be able to control who criticizes you but you can control what you do with the criticism. The Vedas are known to the oldest scriptures known to Man and we can draw a lot of lessons from them. In the Vedas, it is mentioned that a Paramahamsa ( or exalted personality) is one who can separate milk poured into water like a Swan. This means they can take the essence of anything and use it to a benefit.
Even when the criticism is somewhat negative and destructive, the real question we can ask is what can I learn from this? How can I use this to my advantage? Is this critic just here to push me out of my comfort zone? In fact, for the most part of my teenage life up to my mid-twenties, I had a critic who literarily followed me everywhere I went to in the world. I know it sounds strange but you have no idea how far people can go to make you look bad. I resented him for a long time until I saw that his criticism was just nudging me to leave his circle of influence; which meant leaving my somewhat comfort zone. Till this day, it is one of my best decisions. So in other words, sometimes just take destructive criticism and use it to an advantage. There is a saying and I paraphrase; ” the stones they threw at us, we used as cornerstones for our foundation.”
You don’t want to be criticized, there is a simple technique to use; Do nothing, say nothing and be nothing. No one will criticize you then. However, if you aspire to be of some good in life then expect the criticism. Take it to the chin like a seasoned boxer, absorb it, learn from it, process it and then use it as a recoil to launch a better counter. Your counter should be progress and not an excuse to also get back at them with criticism. You want to really “get back at a critic” that you feel is a destructive one, then be better and do better.
I hope this helps us all, there are points I have shared here that I also need to imbibe. This is a learning process for us all. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.