Yesterday Scott answered a question about how he deals with criticism with one word: therapy. That made me curious about how I deal with criticism, I came up with a big list.
- When I am criticized, I often criticize right back. I justify my behavior and besmirch the character of my accuser.
- When I am criticized, I inevitably go into a funk. I get grumpy. I ruin my day with needless rumination.
- When I am criticized, I use it as an excuse to get distracted from my responsibilities. I decide I’m too cranky to hit the gym, when a good workout would have been the BEST option for my blues.
- When I am criticized, I get so caught up in the other person’s opinions that I forget to slow down and take a pause. I don’t go back and do a thorough self-assessment. This is a big mistake.
- When I am criticized, if I do all the examples (and more) above, I miss the opportunity to learn something about myself.
15 I have seen everything in my pointless lifetime: the righteous person may die in spite of their righteousness; then again, the wicked may live long in spite of their wickedness.16 Don’t be too righteous or too wise, or you may be dumbfounded. 17 Don’t be too wicked and don’t be a fool, or you may die before your time. 18 It’s good that you take hold of one of these without letting go of the other because the one who fears God will go forth with both.
19 Wisdom makes a wise person stronger than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Remember: there’s no one on earth so righteous as to do good only and never make a mistake. 21 Don’t worry about all the things people say, so you don’t hear your servant cursing you. 22 After all, you know that you’ve often cursed others yourself! Ecclesiastes 7:15-22, CEB
Ecclesiastes provides us with some natural boundaries for self-evaluation. We learn that we all make mistakes. That no one has it all together. We are invited to consider that we are probably doing the best we can AND even our best is not perfect. I wish I could remember this the next time I am criticized.