Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: The Difference Between Constructive and Destructive Criticism

Criticism. It can be hard to take sometimes, amirite? Especially when it pushes certain buttons. 

One of my biggest struggles in life have been with criticism. This is because I grew up with an extremely critical mother who pretty much made sure to obliterate my self-esteem at a very early age and put me on the defense. She criticized everything, and not in a constructive kind of way-- my mother could be out-and-out mean. I realize now it was not her intention to do this, but when you did something wrong she could make you feel like a complete loser and failure. Even if you didn't do something wrong, she could make you (well, me, as I was an only child) feel like a total freak. 

Yeah. It's been a long, hard road to overcome. But like everything, it was a learning experience, and I learned a lot about criticism.

It's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to criticism. It can be hurtful, unfair, hard to hear. It can be true, too-- even when we don't want to believe it. But on the other hand, we can learn a lot from the criticisms we get from others. If we're able to objectively look at ourselves, we might find someone's criticism a springboard for change.

My Tip for you Today: Learn the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. It's important to know the difference so you can learn to shake off that which is truly unfair, and you can take the positive criticism into consideration to affect positive changes in your life. 

Constructive criticism:
- is honest and fair
- is not said to be hurtful (even though it might hurt), but meant to help you
- offers you useful advice so that you can employ positive changes
- focuses on the behavior or issue without tying it to your value or self-worth

- Some times when I'm talking I feel like you're distracted by the TV. Can you mute the TV and look at me when I talk for just a minute?
- If you lower the heat when you're cooking, you won't burn the garlic
- Those tight spandex skirts aren't flattering to your figure; you look better in flowing A-line skirts, they show off your nice legs.

On the other hand, destructive criticism;
- is often unfair and exaggerated
- is said to hurt you and tear you down, not to help
- is unhelpful because it's something you can't change, or don't really need to change
- implies you have serious character flaws

- I feel like I'm talking to a moron, can't you pay attention?
- You burned the garlic again. Your cooking sucks.
- You're too fat for those skin-tight skirts and they make you look like a slut. 

Do you struggle with accepting criticism?

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