Six Steps to Dealing with Criticism

(c) 2015 John Thurman  Shepherd, Old Nazareth

The fear of criticism robs a person of their initiative, destroys imagination, limits initiative, destroys dreams, steals self-reliance, and does, Lord only knows how much more damage.
-Napoleon Hill
Have you ever given a speech, lead a breakout, or shared your art and had it evaluated?

If you are like me, you are very gracious when the results of the evaluations are given to you. And I bet you are like me, you want to show how cool you are and not even take a peek at them until absolutely no one is around. For me, I will get to the bathroom or some other private space as soon as I can to see how I did. Don’t just love going through them and reading all of those affirming words. You’re giving your self a high five and tell yourself, “I killed it today!” That is until your alert eyes open wide when you read those, shall we say less than stellar comments. Immediately you begin to doubt yourself and if you are not careful you will spin into the death spiral of self-pity.

On a personal note, for years friends and family members suggested that I enter some of my photos in the largest juried show for New Mexican artists at the New Mexico State Fair. I had avoided doing this for years, basically being fearful of what the judges might say. Isn’t that crazy? I had never entered anything in an art show because of fear.

The image at the top of the post was the first piece of my art that I’d ever shown and it won Honorable Mention and a ribbon.
The truth is, anytime you put your head above the crowd there is the potential that you will become a target of criticism. I hope that as you continue to lean into life, you will take the risk to live the life you were intended to live.
I sincerely hope that typeset ties will help you embrace the next step.

Six Tips to help you deal with criticism.

Tip #1—People are going to criticize you no matter what you do. So why not give them something to talk about? As you grow, become more visible, and share your gifts, vision, and expertise, others will criticize.

As you step into this adventure of pushing back the fear of criticism you will only have two options:

Option #1— Gripe, complain, moan and groan. Complain about how unfair things are and how we should all just love and respect each other. FYI: this will do nothing but make you more miserable.

Option #2— Accept the fact that people will be critical which doesn’t mean you have to like it or let people walk all over you. Once you have done that, then take what you need and dismiss the rest.

Tip #2—Learn to look inside and discover the beautiful person God created you to be.

Recently, I attended the Fellowship Church in Gonzales, Louisiana and heard an excellent sermon about the Woman at the Well in John 4:4-42. Read it today; I promise you will be blessed.

This story is only in John’s gospel, and it is about a nameless Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus, the longest one-on-one conversation of Jesus recorded in Bible. This interaction gives us a brilliant insight into how the Lord sees us, warts and all.

She was a Samaritan, a group of folks who were hated by the Jews of Jesus’s time. In addition, she was an outcast from her own culture, marked as an immoral woman, ve times divorced, living with a man who wasn’t her husband.

I just love how Jesus read her mail and identified her and her actions yet did not condemn, belittle, gossip about, or disrespect her. Instead, this immoral woman, who would probably be labeled a sex addict today, was one of the early people to whom he disclosed his true identity.

As a result, Jesus’s encounter with the Woman at the Well teaches us that God loves us in spite of our corrupt lives. God values us enough to actively seek us, to welcome us to intimacy, and to rejoice in worship. And God uses our brokenness to bring others into relationship with Himself. As a result of this conversation and the woman’s testimony, scores of Samaritans came into a relationship with Christ.

People believe two lies. The first is that our sense of self-esteem should be based on our performance. The second is that our self-esteem is based on what others think about us.

Now, while it is important to be the best employee you can be in the workplace, that has nothing to do with healthy self-esteem.
A healthy sense of self-worth is based on God’s love for me; he knows how bad I can mess things up and yet He chooses to love me and be a dynamic part of my life if I allow Him to be. He gives me a purpose for living.

Tip #3—Listen to your inner critic and disagree. Learn to challenge your thoughts. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) we read:
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Paul uses a military term to describe this warfare with sin and Satan. God must be the leader, even in our thought lives. The idea of walking circumspectly is being situationally aware of your thoughts, your “at risk” areas of life, where you can be tempted. When these thoughts—even self-defeating thoughts—come to mind, capture it and give it to Jesus. When we are exposed to toxic thinking or toxic behaviors, we always have a choice. My challenge to you is to recognize the danger, the self-defeating thoughts, and actions, and refuse to let them take hold of you. Instead, ask God to give you discernment and find a trusted friend who can encourage you.

Tip #4—Remember, you’re an adult, and you get to choose. Choose wisely.

Tip #5—Don’t be intimidated by criticism. Look for wisdom in criticism. When people who love you are critical, trust that they love you and have your best interest in mind. Cut them some slack and meet them with an open heart and mind.

Tip #6—Move from being emotionally fragile to emotional resilient.

You can do this, I know you can. If you are a person of faith remember these words, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Action Plan:
1. Sign up for my mailing list-I will producing a number of short, free video lessons to help you deal with this common fear.
2. Buy my book, The No Fear Entrepreneur, and read chapter 2.
3. Click this link to take my free 20 Minutes the Could Change Your Life online course.
Be Blessed,
John

 

 

Thoughts About Robin William’s Life.

My first recollection of the zany comedy of Robin Williams goes all the way back to his guest appearance as Mork on “Happy Days.” Over the years, I followed him mainly through television and then through his movies. I have to admit, I rarely missed his late night appearances on Jay Leno because I knew it was going to be a roller coaster ride. 

He did touch millions of lives through his art, his kindness, and the multitude of characters he played throughout his career. There are thousands of tributes to him on the internet. As a result, many bloggers are talking about things individuals can do if they are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.

This is where I want to jump in.
As a therapist with over 35 years of experience, I was thrown off guard when I heard the news of Robin Williams death. I began thinking about this three part series as a result of this incident and have thought long about what to say.

In following several blogs and conversations, I have only heard one commentary about some other possible issues that may have been going on William’s life. In addition to the impact of drug and alcohol abuse, which he’d been successfully treated for, and based on reports, he had maintained his sobriety, Williams had also had open heart surgery.

Dr. Drew Penski, in responding to the news of Williams death, reminded listeners that Williams had struggled with depression as well as the addiction issues. Penski reminded viewers that Williams had also undergone major heart surgery a few years ago. Dr. Drew spent several minutes talking about the psychological risks of having your chest opened up. He stated that for many people, this procedure, though life-saving can increase the chances of major depression. If someone is already “at risk” this surgery can make them even more prone to depression.
Williams had also been diagnosed with the Parkinson’s. This could have been another another factor that could have pushed him over the edge.

The loss of any life to suicide is tragic. Understanding depression, developing tools to help hurting people, and being present with friends in their tough times can go along way in helping people have hope and a future

My purpose in this three-part series is to look at what you and I can do for ourselves and for others who might be depressed or even suicidal.
I will close with a couple of important thoughts from two writer’s
Andrea Lennon has some thoughtful reflections that I wanted to share:

  1. Everyone has a struggle. 
  2. Our words matter. As wise man once said, when you go into a situation that is full of grief and pain, pray twice and speak once.  

Cliff Williams, author of a thoughtful article, “When Christians Contemplate Suicide”,  closes with a powerful reminder.

Philo of Alexandra wrote that we should always “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Everyone we meet is, indeed, fighting battles, many of the same battles, in fact, that suicidal people fight—difficult circumstances, mood swings, a sense of unworthiness, dejection. Some of the people we meet, including some of the people we know well, are fighting such big battles that they want to give up entirely. Our kindness can help them fight these battles. It can encourage them and strengthen them. It can save their lives.

My next blogs will focus on identifying depression, as well as practical tips you can use to push back depression.

Depression can be treated and symptoms managed. The National Suicide Hotline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

John is Licensed Counselor, Speaker, and Author. His book,  Get a Grip on Depression, is a faith-friendly guide to understanding depression. You may purchase this resource on Amazon/Kindle. To purchase an autographed copy directly from John, click here