How do you handle criticism?

Image by Gerd Altmann from pixabay

My family members have known me all my life. And if they were to describe me to you, they would most likely mention that I dislike criticism. Is this untrue? No. I absolutely do not like it. However, I have come to realise that one needs it to grow. So I have over time, been training my mind and soul to swallow the unpleasant pills of criticism. Through no fault of theirs, they find it hard to believe this (I’ll explain further).

It is so much harder to give people you’ve known the longest, room to evolve. You’re less merciful in their transformation and this is a natural reaction that familiarity and see-finish cause. I am not only a victim. I am also a perpetrator. I find it so hard to believe that a certain someone, will suddenly start remembering the things I mentioned only once after they’ve laid a track record of not recalling the ones I reiterate and label important.

It is hard to believe that people can change. I know. But the truth is, people, do. We are all changing daily. For better or for worse, but definitely changing.

One other thing we have in common is the incompetence to deal with the changes that happen in people we love and those around us. We’re inadequate and ill-equipped to handle the slightest notion that perhaps, my image of this person might need a new stroke or paint colour.

Back to criticism. The bane and boon of creatives. What most of humankind is resistant to. The thought of falling short. But even worse, your shortcomings dare be noticed by another human. One whose opinion may or may not be held in the highest regard. Yet, no one gets better without it.

Here’s what I have been learning, criticism is not always a sign of incapability. In fact, if anything, it is proof that there’s room for more growth. I am still learning to dissociate my person from my work, so it doesn’t injure me so much when people criticize my work, whether kindly or unkindly.

Lastly, give everyone room to do better. Take the time to accept your incompetence in relation to the change in people around you. We must learn to extend grace and be merciful to our loved ones. Especially the ones we have deemed incapable of change. We all need a little faith. I believe we are all works in progress, all capable of making the right choices to become better humans.

This weekend, remind yourself to be kind. To be accepting of criticism and to remember that we’re all quite incompetent at accepting change in our loved ones so we need to work on that.

All my love, Ballie💖



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