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August 9, 2009

“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.” Proverbs 15:31

alrighty then…

so tell me, honestly, how easy is it for you to hear constructive criticism?

we all say we want feed back and honesty…but how do you really receive it?

and…how do you give it? and when do you give it?

this has always been a tricky thing for me. im a pretty honest person. im a buck up and get on with it type of gal – so i have little trouble shootin straight with others. but…its not always the best thing either. sometimes i wanta run my mouth cuz i have an opinion or different perspective and before i know it…my trap is off running. i am learning to restrain it more – but, i am a work inProgress đŸ˜€

now, receiving it. i think im ok with it. i think. i mean, at may sting the pride. and id be lying if i said there was no pride living in me. but i usually run it by brent and go from there. im very fortunate to have him as a sounding board.

but all of this to simply ask, cuz im madly curious, how do you handle criticism?

35 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 10:39 pm

    so… i receive criticism just as well as I can swallow a bitter pill the shape of mt vesuvius after a nice spring rain. I just got to take it a bite by bite…takes a little time for me to digest, pick out what i find “constructive” and do the applying.
    So, what are you saying, eh?!?!

  2. August 10, 2009 4:43 am

    I’m usually OK with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Especially on things I’m still learning or I’m not very good at. Photography and graphic design stuff, for example. I’m new to both and I DEFINITELY have a lot to learn and welcome anyone that can give tips or alternative ideas. I think I have an ok eye for both, but getting to that final product (especially quickly and efficiently) is still a problem.

    Music is another story. I’ve been playing drums since I was 4, sax since middle school, and picked up guitar and bass in high school. I’ve been playing guitar for 13 years so I pretty much know everything about the subject. I’m still OK with constructive criticism but a little pickier about where it comes from.

    Criticism in general is another story. Telling me I suck at something or saying something like, “Ugh, why are you doing it like that?!” is not a great way to get on my good side.

    Giving criticism I’m kind of the same. I try and think of how I would want to recieve the same criticism and take into account what I know vs. what they know before saying anything. I’m not always successful, but I try. I like to be honest and open with people but try to take their feelings into account first.

  3. August 10, 2009 5:18 am

    How do I handle criticism? Depends on what time of the month it is…

    Honestly – if I know it’s coming, I can prepare myself. And I often put my songs out on my blog for that sole purpose – to receive constructive criticism about what I’m writing. Now, if I don’t know criticism is coming, it’s much harder to take.

    It works kinda like the story I heard about Houdini. He maintained that he could take any punch to the stomach that was dealt him. A strong man would volunteer to punch. Houdini would brace himself. And he’d take the punch without harm. Every time.

    The last time a guy volunteered to punch, he did so before Houdini properly braced himself. That punch killed him.

    If I know the criticism is coming, I can be ready and receive it well. I can use it to grow and improve as an individual. But if I don’t know it’s coming, it will blindside me and knock the life out of my creative abilities. How I receive criticism is all about timing…

  4. August 10, 2009 6:06 am

    Criticism….I don’t need to receive it because I am perfect đŸ™‚ hahahaha

    It depends who it is coming from…I receive it well when it comes from someone I truly respect or love. When it comes from someone who’s values I do not respect, I don’t tend to take it well.

    I am a firm believer that good constructive criticism is the biggest part of growth.

  5. Heidi permalink
    August 10, 2009 8:13 am

    Oooo.. You don’t want my long version of my feelings on this.

    But here’s an adaptive.

    There’s a BIG difference between constructive and destructive criticism.

    Lately God has softly spoken in my spirit about this very same subject, It is a BIG part of my own personal journey with verbal abuse in my life.

    I remember journaling a week ago ” Allow those who really love you speak in your life” I have several people who I have in my life that say that they love me BUT use destructive criticism to give themselves worth. Making me less than God called me to be.

    Not to sound all religious here. But the struggle is true and sometimes brutal. I had LEARN that criticsm can destroy or it can beautify, what project do I want to be a part of.

    So before I open my mouth and heart I ask these questions:

    Heidi..Is giving your opinion going to give that person worth??
    or is going to give you worth??

    Heidi will your opinion (criticism) give God glory today…

  6. August 10, 2009 8:21 am

    Constructive Criticism…like Mandy said it is about timing…if i am having a rough day or things in life are a little tough i wont take it well at first…

    but for me the biggest thing is who it is coming from. even if it is positive and uses the “criticism oreo” one good about what you are doing – criticism – and then another good…but if it is someone that i dont think loves me then i have a hard time taking it. But if i have given a person access to me, my life and everything i do and am i will receive it well, because i know they are in the game and on my team. but from a random person i usually dont receive it well…i always listen, even if i dont look like it, and then think about it and usually take it and apologize for not taking it well the first time.

    I usually tell people in my life that i am like a bank account…you have to invest and put money in to take it out with criticism or other things…i have trust issues and will very quickly shut people out if i dont feel like they are in my life good or bad times. i know, crazy!

    so…to answer the direct question after a wordy explanation…yes and no…mostly depending on who it comes from.

    • Heidi permalink
      August 10, 2009 9:16 am

      I love the bank analogy… WOW!!

      • August 12, 2009 3:00 pm

        i learned that at a leadership training school i went to. they taught us that when leading….and it works and makes sense.

  7. August 10, 2009 8:34 am

    As someone who does not deal well, or sometimes, at all, with conflict, I also am not a huge fan of criticism- unless it’s me giving it my husband. I seem to be a little too good at that one. It’s something that I try to welcome(in a constrctive way, not in meanness), but I really lack the coping skills to deal with it.

  8. August 10, 2009 9:21 am

    i handle criticism EXTREMELY well.

    as long as i’m the one giving it.


  9. August 10, 2009 9:26 am

    okay, take two.

    if i’m on the receiving end, i generally will puff up proudly and literally fight back the urge NOT to make excuse after excuse and become accusatory. it is natural for me. i’m not a generally docile girl.

    it takes me a little while to come around, to remember that verse you mentioned, and to allow it to set in and change me.

  10. August 10, 2009 10:39 am

    I have developed the confidence to not let criticism brother me very much. I evaluate it, and if it is constructive, I listen and learn from it. If I feel is just somebody complaining, then I tune it out.

    As I young man I did not take criticism very well at all. I had an rather large ego, and a confrontational personality. Rather than listening and learning something useful, I was more likley to just get into a argument.

    It only took me 60 years to learn this lesson.

  11. August 10, 2009 10:55 am

    it depends who it’s coming from. when hard feedback comes from someone who has earned the right to speak into my life, i may feel the initial sting but i can more easily accept what they are saying. i know their heart is for me; they have proven themselves faithful and loving; so i know they aren’t criticizing to hurt me or to elevate themselves.

    i think that is what proverbs 27:6 means when it says “wounds from a friend can be trusted.”

    however, the same feedback from someone who hasn’t earned that right, that place, in my life… it sounds totally different. it feels totally different. and i would be more apt to disregard it (most likely needing to deal with anger and offense at the same time).

    when a genuine friend speaks a harsh truth to me, i still need time to process through it. usually that “ugh” i’m feeling upon hearing painful truth about myself is really conviction. i need to sit in it long enough to get past the hurt and let the truth soak into my heart. and then figure out what it means to me — how do i apply it? what do i need to change? usually a conversation with God is in order…

  12. August 10, 2009 11:12 am

    I do not take criticism well at all. I am overly sensitive. When faced with criticism – even the constructive kind – I get upset, often angry, and always sad and insecure.

    I wish I could give you a better answer than that. The logical side of me knows better. But the emotional side of me is always there, always stung, always insecure, always.

    Criticism sucks. Even when it’s necessary and true.

  13. August 10, 2009 12:11 pm

    In truth, I suck at this…but I really don’t want to. I want people (anybody actually) to say whatever it is they see or don’t see. I totally struggle for relationships out here so when teams come or when we go back for the 2-4 weeks and we have the amazing opportunity to have face time with our peeps (even if they are new ones) I hope they (anybody) will have the courage to speak into my life…whatever it may be. I hope that if it is hard or horrible and it needs to be said, I want them to just say it…because so many times nobody does and then we go back or they leave and then Daniel says it and then I am like “Crap”. Not that I expect total strangers to whatever…or that it is their job, but seriously, if something needs to be dealt with -then lets deal with it.

    Then again, I have alienated some people along the way, and that kind of sucks.

    • August 11, 2009 7:20 pm

      having met you and spend 4+ days together…you are very good at being honest with others and doing it very lovingly. you ask hard questions. and you dont delay. i like that! i respect that. thank you!

  14. August 10, 2009 12:32 pm

    hmmm…it depends on soooooo many factors. i can tell you for starters solicited criticism is much more palatable. Also, it depends on the person and their expertise. That is, if my five year old criticizes my choice political opinions I’ll blow it off…but if he gives me advice on my mac and cheese cooking skill, i’ll listen.

    Overall, I am ok, but know I am strong willed/stubborn on many levels.

    • August 11, 2009 5:03 am

      True, solicitation makes a big difference as well, although, people feel obligated and often think you are just trying to boost your ego and will say whatever they think you want to hear. I hate when I ask for someone to critiqe a pic or a song and they just brush it off with, “yeah, I think it’s great!” when you can tell they’re just blowing smoke.

      • August 11, 2009 8:02 am

        i agree jonathan. ive had fellow vocalists tell me a song i led was perfect. i look at them and say, youre lying. because i knew for a fact it wasnt perfect. i felt there was more than enough room for improvement, so where can that be? but i usually call them on it and then they come around đŸ˜‰

        i think the “it was great!” answer, when it wasnt, is more damaging than a temporary moment of discomfort (that we’ll get over) from much needed truth in love.

  15. August 10, 2009 4:06 pm

    I cry. Like totally do – because I feel like I’ve failed.

    Then after a while I talk to God or some trusted friends about it, and then I’m able to accept it and move forward.

    Once I’ve had me some chocolate brownie cheesecake.

    • August 10, 2009 5:58 pm

      i usually process it as failure as well. it’s as though i hear it through my “i am not enough” filter. ugh.

  16. August 10, 2009 6:38 pm

    The difference in me taking constructive criticism well or not is whether I ask for it.

    When I ask for it, I am prepared to handle it. My shields are up, and I have an excuse prepared for why I was doing it my way. When it’s unsolicited, my initial reaction is to usually take offense, even if I recognize the value in it later.

    Oh, pride – we know each other too well.

  17. August 10, 2009 7:57 pm

    i have been the recipient of many critiques. as well as the deliverer. and in both cases there have been unnecessary ones. for sure. but the one thing i have learned is my response is key. they dont have to be right or even tactful, but i have to act properly. even if i DO want to punch their jugular. thats not saying people have never wanted to punch mine either đŸ˜¯

    more than anything…it embarrasses me. i hate being told im doing something wrong. look wrong. said something mean. i have pride. that is the root of all my discomfort.


    • August 11, 2009 6:55 am

      So – do you WANT people – anyone family, friends, complete strangers – to suck up to your personal pride and not embarrass you in any way?

      Or do you actually want people to give you all the opportunities you need to see how your pride acts and makes you feel? Until you’re so sick of that lil sucker’s face in the mirror you just wanna smash it’s ugly little persona in and kill it permanently so that the next time people look at you they don’t see a trace of that pride ready to face them back from you – but just see Him clearly shining out of you?

      i’m prepared to bet big money that a large part of that ‘pride’ in you that comes out whenever you are feeling like you are being told you are wrong somehow stems from way back and how badly you wanted people to see you as good, and desperately wanted to be loved and liked, and not hurt, by others.


      • August 11, 2009 7:57 am

        i never said i didnt want it (criticism). i also never said, nor have i believe ive shown, that i am so full of pride that it/i would ever go to the extreme that you just described đŸ˜•

        i know it is good for me. and i also know that even in knowing that, and when receiving criticism, it still stings. and THAT is because of pride. and….like i said earlier, i would be lying if i said i didnt have pride living in me. i didnt say there was a ton of it. but its there, no doubt.

        and i dont view too much of who i am on this day (the negatives) a a fault of my past. i dont go there. ive reconciled myself with much of that. i am a grown woman responsible for me and my own actions now. i cant blame the past or the people in it for my hangups today. not anymore.

  18. August 11, 2009 4:34 am

    I’m my own worst destructive critic. So when I smell the hint that someone else may be trying to constructively criticize me I will often blow up what they will say in my head to something much much worse than what will actually be said.
    I can take constructive criticism on certain topics but on others I fall apart. My dad started a conversation about his concern for my weight and subsequent health because of family history the other day and I started crying before the conversation even got off the ground. I just knew that he was about to tell me that I was ugly, stupid and worthless. When really what he wanted to say was that he loved me and wanted me around so how could he help me to get into shape.

    So for me it doesn’t depend as much on the person as on the topic of criticism.

  19. August 11, 2009 7:05 am

    How i handle criticism mostly depends upon what i feel is being criticised – and on what i perceive as the criticiser’s ability to know what they are talking about.

    many times i can take criticism too personally and feel like what i Am is being criticised and in most cases it will be from people who frankly have no right to talk as there is frequently something that they do that has some of the characteristics of what they are criticising in ‘me’.

    but when i can see that a criticism is coming from someone who actually knows a little about what they are finding fault in me and that they are doing so with the intention of helping me become better at what i did the next time, i think (Hope) i can take on board what is being said.

    That pride issue is one of the toughest any of us can ever face and deal with in ourselves i believe.

    One of the things i hate most is ‘unjust’ criticism – when someone thinks i said something or believe something a certain way when in fact i was trying to say something other than what they believed… it happens more often than i care to think about.


    • August 11, 2009 7:59 am

      “One of the things i hate most is ‘unjust’ criticism – when someone thinks i said something or believe something a certain way when in fact i was trying to say something other than what they believed… it happens more often than i care to think about.”

      observation to follow…

      maybe its in your delivery?

      • August 11, 2009 7:17 pm

        i guess Jesus used parables to say what He knew and understood in a way the masses could more easily ‘swallow’ rather than say it in the way He understood and meant?

        i suppose i should know ‘better’ and follow Him if i want to ‘criticise’ anyone into doing His Father’s Will over their own huh? ;-).

        Then again, after 2000 years i’m not sure too many today are actually getting what He said any more than they do what i say.

        i need to think a little more on that observation.


  20. August 12, 2009 1:36 pm

    i don’t think constructive criticism bothers me…criticism bothers me when it appears self seeking of the party dumping on me…i do think there is a correct way to give constructive criticism , and definitely a wrong way..the latter doesn’t go far with me.. *not listening…lalalalala*

    • August 12, 2009 1:45 pm

      “*not listening…lalalalala*”

      i can literally see you responding this way. AND, it being effective!

      you rock, woman!

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