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Receiving and Questioning Criticism

I’ve always had a pretty thick skin in regards to receiving criticism, but I have noticed a pattern over the years. If I know that the person giving the criticism cares about me and my growth and has shown that in words and actions over time, I almost immediately take to heart what they are saying as potential truth and then begin to shift my awareness of myself to include and incorporate this new information and view of myself.

Sometimes the person giving the criticism is someone we have had arguments with in the past or someone who has power or authority over us in some way. Frequently,criticism from those people feels more like an attack than help.

Can you take a second (or quite a few seconds!) to disengage from the critiques that create a negative feeling or emotion? A great question to ask yourself is,” Is what this person saying even true?”

I’ve found that people who speak unkindly or harshly aren’t always lying necessarily. They may not know the best way to communicate with you. They may also just be angry at that moment. I’ve been in so many situations at work or in rehearsal that the correction was true but not kind. Can you separate what is true and needs to change from how you emotionally received the message?

It’s one of the hardest things to do. I’m finally discovering a place where I’m thankful for all corrections, even when given unkindly. We don’t have to harbor ill will against anyone, even if they are rude toward us. The true professionals hear the truth and leave the rest.

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