The people in our lives, at home or at school are our mirrors.
They reflect back the impact of our words and actions. Criticism, though harsh or spiteful, can awaken us to an aspect of a behavior we have refused to own up to.
Although criticism can be hard to take, you can benefit from it by looking for the bit of truth rooted in a painful situation.
How do you react when someone criticizes you? If you are like most young people, you will deny the criticism, feel hurt and probably respond harshly.
Here is a way that will help you remain calm the next time someone criticizes you, first, take notice only of the words people use in their criticism. If they say, something like, “You look terrible. Your hair is uncombed up, your clothes are wrinkled,” agree with something in their statement.
So instead of being defensive, check yourself out and see if there’s a grain of truth in their statement. Don’t raise your voice; don’t look like you’ve got your feelings hurt.
For example, your teacher says you are the stupidest person he has ever taught. Don’t take it personal, maybe, they are having a bad day, so don’t let it weight you down or make you hate them, just check where you went wrong and try to right the wrong.
“My mother seems like a police detective, always looking for areas where I have failed, always looking for mistakes, she always lectures me about something,” said 16-year-old Lolita Uwamariya.
Does it seem as though nothing you do is ever good enough for your parents? Do you feel like everything you do is observed under a microscope? That you are always being watched and always critiqued?
It’s true, criticism may get to your nerves but consider the alternative, if you never receive council or discipline, wouldn’t you wonder if your parents cared about you?
Discipline is evidence of your parents love for you. You must be grateful that your parents care enough about you to set you straight! After all you are younger and relatively inexperienced. Without guidance, you could easily be overpowered by the desires incidental to youth.
Of course no discipline is fun. Remember that all humans make mistakes, and making a mistake is part of the learning process.
Instead of overreacting to criticism and going on the defensive, summon the courage to ask yourself: Does this criticism include the tiniest crumb of truth about me? Then ask yourself how you can do better. That piece of criticism may be the key to your next emotional growth.