Criticism: Friend or Foe?

When I hear the word criticize, I associate it with a cringe of discomfort. That word has such a negative connotation. No one likes to be “criticized” for something they’ve done.

What if we changed our approach to the concept?

Instead of running away when our thoughts or actions are up for criticism, what would happen if we ran toward the criticism and discomfort? Imagine the possibilities of growth and learning one person could have.

Thinking of this in terms of my own life… I could list countless times I felt anger, resentment, sadness, and many other emotions whenever I received harsh criticism about something I’d said or done. I’m the first person to give in to the “what if” and allow the fear associated with it to creep into my mind. As I sit here now, I realize I’ve started to embrace the discomfort and fear in my role as a social worker.

This role is something I can never turn off–it’s practically ingrained in my soul by now. Compassion and empathy are driving forces in both my work and personal lives and I’m working so hard not to lose them.

With eight months under my belt, I’ve learned so much in my first job out of college as a social worker. I’ve learned many different skills in the field while using others that I’ve learned in school. One thing they don’t teach you in school, though, is to embrace discomfort.

I’m believing more and more each day that someone can learn the best lessons from an uncomfortable situation. A good example of this is receiving feedback about a project you’ve been working on for awhile. I like to think of feedback as a nicer worder for criticism. Whether it’s positive or negative it’s still feedback, right? What if you had the same response to either scenario? Get positive feedback–embrace it and make your project better than before or get negative feedback–embrace it and make your project better than before.

Again, I cringe at the thought of someone giving me feedback on my work. I get nervous. I want to impress. I want to show him or her that I’ve put in a lot of effort. Instead of feeling fear I’ve started to tell myself to feel ready. Ready to accept the feedback. Ready to take the words of someone else and roll them around in my head. Ready to grab onto someone else’s thoughts and put my own spin on them. Ready to feel uncomfortable.

To me that’s the beauty of working together with another person or a whole group of people. Receiving feedback is the only way we can create change, no matter what that means for you. Will you run from it or embrace it? Your choice.

via Daily Prompt: Criticize

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