Search This Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Criticism: Easier to accept from ourselves than others

I don't remember precisely how it came to me today.  However, I believe I was Spirit-led to a very concrete understanding and analogy of why we often find it easier to openly level criticism at ourselves than to accept the roughly same criticism from another.

This analogy involves a little incident I had years ago.  One day, years ago I got into an accident in stop and go traffic accident traffic.  I didn't realize how bad my brakes were until I tried to stop and wasn't able to.  But, I digress, we got a police report and they left.  My hood wouldn't shut and I had my niece in the car, so I had to find a way to get her home.  I found a cable and tied it down so I could get her home.  So, not a great 'fix' and not maybe the most stable, but still...  Anyway, I thought, I will stop at a store and get something less bulky and stronger to hold the hood down.  So, I tried that and tied the hood down again so it wouldn't slam the windshield.  As it turns out, that was a bad idea.  It held worse than the cable and slammed into the windshield shattering it.  But, I found out something I never really thought about--there is a protective film within it helping to keep it from imploding inwards into the car.

So, how does this relate to my understanding of how we deal with internal/external criticism?


  • When we criticize ourselves, I think we generally keep a protective layer between the criticism and ourselves to lessen the impact or 'damage' of it. The protective layer is how we shield ourselves against the impact of our own criticism  Anyway, similarly the windshield of our car has a thin protective film in the middle to help prevent the impact of a shattered windshield from sending shards of glass into the car risking our safety.
  • When another criticizes us, it can feel like the protective layer isn't there and therefore we feel the full impact of it.  It is similar to being behind glass without a protective layer.  The impact upon which like glass hurtling at us can cause us pain and injury.
  • When we criticize ourselves, sometimes we are serious and sometimes we know we just have to own up to a flaw/issue, but really don't want to face the impact of it.  Point is we understand and control the impact of our self-criticism and can adjust accordingly.  Criticism from another, even sometimes from a loved one, can feel like something large hitting our windshield.  It can really catch us off-guard and give little time to prepare for the effects of it.

Ultimately, in this life, we know are flawed.  We have to brave enough to own our flaws and make changes where necessary to 'fix' them.  We also have to not allow ownership of our flaws or hearing legitimate, properly sourced and timed criticism destroy us.  Alternatively, we also have to have the wisdom to reject criticism where it is illegitimate.  In other words, not to let any sense of personal failings allow of to take ownership of what ISN'T ours.  For example righteous anger is not a flaw.

I don't claim to be the source or guide to these points or questions.  In my life, my Higher Power, God is the ultimate authority on what my failings and positives are.  It is through Him and His word that I have the wisdom to appreciate and understand these matters.

Anyway, just a little nugget that occurred to me one day when I was driving, pondering and remembered an accident/incident I had.

Cheers.