It was one of those voicemails that left me rubbing the sides of my head wondering, “Why me? Why today?” I was blindsided by this criticism. I felt this would be the perfect time to find a hole and crawl in it.
Instead I wrote this blog post.
Criticism hurts. It just does. No matter who you are, how many people are encouraging you, and how happy you felt before you got “that call,” one drop of critical yuck spreads fast and furious.
Oh how I wish I had a little “criticism antidote” to make it all better. I don’t. But I do have a little sermonette I preach to myself when criticized.
When someone criticizes we must quickly discern if they are trying to help us or hurt us.
If it’s hurtful, realize their criticism says a lot more about their insecurities than our inadequacies.
We can’t fix whatever hurt caused them to lash out. But we can decide to stay calm and not compound the hurt. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” (Proverbs 15:1-2)
I didn’t want to give a gentle answer when I returned that phone call. I didn’t feel like being calm at all. But I’m learning staying calm is as much of a gift to myself as it is to my offender.