How well do you take criticism? Do you become defensive right away? Do you shut down and become hurt? Do you become angry? Do you hurl it back on the person criticizing you? Do you pretend to graciously accept it but then retaliate, stew, give the silent treatment and have a pity party about why nobody loves you?
Why is criticism such a touchy issue? It touches our vulnerable core, doesn’t it? I remember, for instance, when my daughter and her boyfriend kept telling me that my driving was not smooth and that I constantly slammed on the brakes too hard and then took off too fast. They felt like they were in a bumper car ride with me. I was in total disbelief and I tried to argue them into “correcting” their opinion. An occasion came along when I was a passenger in his car. He kept slamming on the brakes and then hitting the gas. Then he would turn to me in the back seat and smile. It was his way of teasing me and pressing home the point.
I gave him my “okay, that’s very funny” look but on the inside I was seething. I had been driving for more years than he had been on planet earth; I had no accidents or tickets on my record. A bad driver? Moi? But after that I became very sensitive about the way I drove, especially when I had passengers in the car. You know how I finally figured out that they were right? When I saw how hard it was for me to change. I had to really work at easing into a stop instead of slamming it. Honestly, to this day I’ve never completely overcome that driving style.
A paraphrase of Proverbs 17:10 says; “A quiet rebuke to a person of good sense does more than a whack on the head of a fool.” Think about that the next time someone offers you some criticism. Do you want to be a person of good sense or do you want a whack on the head?
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