Dealing with Criticism

How we respond to criticism reveals a lot about our character. Those of us who are sensitive may feel hurt by it. Those who are thick-skinned may ignore it, thinking they are right anyway. Those who are proud will probably insist they are right and argue to prove the critic wrong. Those who are less sure of themselves will usually examine themselves to ascertain whether the criticism is valid.

So how do we put criticism into perspective as to its validity?

Here are some ways to deal with it:

It is important to know the source of the criticism. Identify the source and you will be able to assess its validity. If the person concerned is a well- known for criticising, it is likely that the criticism can be disregarded as minor. If, however, the criticism comes from someone who is normally positive and supportive then listen carefully. They may be seeing something you have missed!

Secondly, what is the attitude of the critic? Does he/she have a humble, gentle disposition or are they judgemental? The former attitude deserves a hearing, the latter is quite likely to be invalid.

Another test is, has the criticism come in public or private? Legitimate and respectful criticism will invariably be given in private. If you are repeatedly criticised in public, the critic wants to hurt you. Even if criticism involves others, they don’t need to be present.

Is the critic trying to build you up or make you look small? Ask yourself the question: Is this person trying to help me or hurt me? If the answer is the latter, the critic may be projecting their hurt or anger onto you. People are inclined to be critical in areas where they have had problems themselves. If it’s the former, they probably intend to help you see a blind spot.

People tend to project their own problems onto others. If the critic is angry at him/herself, they are likely to be angry at you too. If they don’t love themselves, they won’t love you either. They will make it seem like you are the problem. Do not try to own other people’s problems or traumas. Recognise that your critic has his/her own difficulties.

These next tests are particularly pertinent for leaders. Sometimes “friends” walk away. They disown the relationship and leave. They usually have their reasons, but you may find it hard to understand them. Don’t engage in the blame game. Don’t be doing self-analysis. Breakups you did not see coming and did not want, never-the-less happen. Handling people can be difficult, and you have to reckon with broken relationships. People will be offended by something you have said or done. Even if they forgive you, they may still walk away. Be secure enough in yourself not to be devastated by this. Your friendship/ connection may not be as strong as you thought it was. Don’t fight to retain it. If they like things better elsewhere, let them go. You may even help them find other connections.

How broad is the complaint being made? In other words, are there other people who would agree? If there are a lot of others, clearly you need to take notice to what they are saying. The person complaining may claim that everybody thinks the same thing. So it’s important to be specific. Ask the question: Who in particular feels this way? It’s rare indeed if everyone does. Usually when people use broad-based criticism, it’s because they have their own agenda.

You should try to remain objective in the face of criticism. Do not be defensive. Keep any hurt felt in check. Maintaining a right attitude is very important. You can express your hurt, explain that you don’t understand and ask for perspective. But don’t make too much of this.

Finally, don’t lose your perspective. Remember who you are and where your security lies. The Americans didn’t include the phrase “in God we trust” in their constitution for no reason. Let him be your source of security.

 

Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't. Margaret Thatcher
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us. C S Lewis
Fear is misplaced faith. Kris Vallotton
God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you. Joel Osteen
God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you. Joyce Meyer
Pray, and let God worry Martin Luther
Those who never change their mind never change anything. Winston Churchill
What you do (for a living) is not who you are.  Celia Apeagyei-Collins 
 People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail. Lance Wallnau 
There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.  C S Lewis
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot
You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you. C S Lewis
If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you. David Forster
Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life. Unknown
Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him. David Forster
Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence. Lance Wallnau
Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you. Lance Wallnau
Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad. David Forster
no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good.. C S Lewis
If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine. Rick Joyner
For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter. Graham Cooke
Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster. David Forster
The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that. Louie Giglio
In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release. Bill Johnson
Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence. Desiringgod.org
Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us. Sam Storms
How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters. Kris Vallotton
There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today. Joel Osteen
The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives. Alison Brown
If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance. David Forster
If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. David Forster
A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..  Graham Cooke
Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.  Graham Cooke
Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you. Lance Wallnau
Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person. David Forster
Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life. David Forster
God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing. C S Lewis
Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us. David Forster
The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist. Anon
Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love. David Forster
You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer! Tim Keller
Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal. Lance Wallnau
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein
Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy Graham Cooke
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. G K Chesterton
When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people. David Forster
You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else. C S Lewis
A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind. C S Lewis
Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death. Graham Cooke
I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me. David Forster
Reaching the Heights