Criticism. We all hear it. We all give it. Can we take as much as we give? Are you giving more than you are getting? When you criticize – what’s your goal – to help or to hurt? When you receive it – do you feel it’s to help or to hurt?
I seriously like to think that I receive it well. I know my strengths and I know my faults. And sometimes I don’t.
I have awesome people in my life. People who let me know where I need to improve – when I need to make changes.
Jared and I can be open and honest with each other – he takes it better than I do – sometimes. He usually knows WHEN to say something to me – just the right mood to catch me in! I tend to hand it out all the time – even in the most inappropriate times – which is why that sometimes is thrown in there.
For example – I know that I am not the best photographer out there and have LOTS to learn. When a photographer I admire and respect offers to help me out – give me a few pointers – I truly take it to heart. I appreciate the constructive criticism. When your complaint about my photography is that you don’t like me – forget it. If you don’t like my style – fine. That’s why there are several other AWESOME photographers in our area – that I refer to when I’m booked or a client is looking for something different. I think I happen to have a great “eye” when it comes to catching a moment – most of the time. On the technical end – I totally need some work! And I appreciate the advice I get – to help me improve!
Same thing in life. I am not sympathetic. I am working on it – but I think Jared would tell you that I’m not much better than before. Because I am in constant pain and have been since 2006 – I have a very low tolerance for whiny pain complaints – unless they are serious. Jared comes from a family with a very loving (not that I’m not) and sympathetic momma. And I am not. We joke that when Fitzy gets older he will have to go next door with scrapes and bruises. Oh – your leg bone is sticking out of your leg after you fell out of the tree? You’re fine. Suck it up. Seriously though – it’s something I am working on – and people call me on it.
I think you have to be VERY open for constructive criticism when you are in a position of leadership. I usually have Jared or my aunt L read my blogs before I post them – especially when they are feisty ones! I feel that God has opened a door for me to write and encourage others and let them know that their feelings have merit. So – in a way – that puts me in a position of leadership – of extra scrutiny. And I think you have to recognize and respect that.
There are people in life who only want to be surrounded by positive – encouraging people who build them up. That’s great.
But what happens when that person is wrong – misinformed – and in a position of great leadership. There was a tweet from a pastor that Jared follows that said something similar. His 2012 resolution was to associate exclusively with those who build up and eliminate the influence of those who tear down.
Now – I am all about that. I hide people on fbook that are just flat out negative all the time (cus we all have our bad days once in a while) – those people who want to tear me down. Always. No matter what I do. When I ask those people in my life who would truly tell me if I am doing wrong – and I get a firm and sure NO – but this person keeps insisting. I purge my life of that influence. BUT – when I get a criticism from someone and I ask those close people in my life what they think – and they say – well – that is an area you need to work on. OH CRAP. I want to hide that person – but I don’t. They are truly loving me and trying to help.
But when you pastor a church – for example – and you don’t want to hear ANYTHING about ANYTHING negative about your ministry. Watch out. This is NOT good. We all need a system of checks and balances in our lives. Especially when you are quick to call someone out on a weakness in their lives – which is fine. But when it comes your turn. Don’t be a jerk about it. You are just human. You also have faults. You also sin. Your congregation looks up to you – so you need those people that will CONSTRUCTIVELY point out those weak areas in your life even more! You are in leadership – and it’s not a position to be taken lightly!
Jared and I have just gone through a pretty rough patch – other than losing little JC – thanks to criticism – and like very other bump in our marriage – are growing closer and stronger because of it – because of the conversations we’ve had as a result (thank You Jesus)! There were some uncomfortable conversations. But if Jared and I can’t sit with each other and talk about the uncomfortable stuff – who can we (or should we) talk about it with. We aren’t just husband and wife – we are best friends.
Remember – those who LOVE you and are truly watching out for you OWE it to you to keep you in check. And you owe it to those you love and are encouraging to keep yourself in check.