When I was a child a chastised for doing something I shouldn’t have been doing, or if I did something incorrectly and was told so by either my mother or some other person, I can remember taking it so bad. I felt embarrassed and humiliated that I would have to be told this. When younger and even when I got older I cried quite often when this would happen. Of course when I got older I tried to hide my tears as that in itself would bring more embarrassment to me. Then I would ruminate over it continually for days at a time. Of course sometimes this was necessary and a form of discipline but it’s not always understood when you are young.
When I got older I found that some people who criticized, did it in different ways. They don’t come right out and do it forthrightly, but in more subtle ways. Perhaps they just offer advice on how they would do something in another way than what we were thinking of doing. So they’re not criticizing your choice overtly but never-the-less it is criticism.
I remember when I decided to go on long-term disability and for the most part retire, when I found out that I had Multiple Sclerosis there were those who were close to me that felt I was ‘giving in’ too easily. It was felt that I should try and continue working and not quit. I actually didn’t know one of the people that said it, until much later and when I learned of it I thought that if you are not walking in another person’s shoes you should be careful what you assume that you know and coming to a conclusion that is not particularly fair. I had been fighting this disease for years, as when I was diagnosed is not when the M.S. began. I had gone through so much time of being so fatigued that I didn’t know how I would make it through the day, waking up feeling like I hadn’t slept all night…..dragging myself out of bed and off to work each and every day. Along with this came the depression which only aggravated the situation.
When I found out about this person’s feeling I was hurt badly, because this relationship had been having difficulties and then I knew one of the reasons.
Criticism should not always be considered bad, but my first instinct is always to ‘defend myself’ against it. When I think about it my first thought perhaps should be to determine if there is some truth or something to be learned by hearing the person out. Then perhaps talk about it with the individual making the comments or observations. Later on after digesting what has been said maybe I could then decide whether it is good and positive, or something that I don’t want to accept as being fact and to try and dismiss it from my thoughts instead of brooding about it. I’m trying to do better at reasoning this out.
Proverbs 15:32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
I believe that one should always think carefully before saying anything that could be construed as unwarranted or unwanted criticism if all that would be accomplished would serve no other purpose than to make the other person feel bad in some way. There are some good reasons for ‘criticism’ that indeed can be of help to another…something that points out perhaps that they have talked to someone else and demeaned them without maybe thinking. Or perhaps they have embarrassed and inadvertently humiliated another without realizing they have done so by their comments. In that case I think it would be appropriate to say something, that could be construed as criticism.
But whatever you say, do so with good intentions and not to get even or to make a person feel bad.