Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Criticism. Man Does It Suck Sometimes.

Chris and I recently went to a marriage conference (which was awesome), and from that we took these simple little personality tests. Among other things, the results of these tests give you five words that describes what motivates you. The idea is that if you know what matters most- what you feel a strong emotional connection to, then you know when you will do your best (when these things are encouraged in you) and when you will feel the worst (when these things are discouraged or criticized.)

These words are meant to help you relate to your spouse in a deeper, more understanding way. For instance, one of my words is Organization. Each word has a few tagline words. For Organization they are "Order. Systems. Structure" Yep. That pretty mush describes me to a tee. My life is a neat compilation of lists. (Side note- another one of my words is Neat.) I can talk for hours about meal planning with anyone who will listen, I keep a cleaning list on the side of my fridge so I don't forget anything in the weekly/monthly chores, and our budget is also kept with a series of boxes waiting to be checked off. I love my lists. They keep me organized and on track with all the tasks having to do with keeping a home. Because I love this part of my personality so much, when I receive criticism on it, it really gets to me. If Chris makes a comment about how I don't need to be cleaning out the fridge right now (let's say it's ten minutes before we have to leave the house) he may be very right, but because organization is so near and dear to my heart, I don't usually respond well.

Another one of my words is Inspirational. Tagline words are "Make a Difference. Impact Lives. Worthwhile." In a nut shell that is why I write this blog, and why I aspire to write a book. My life has been forever changed by the grace of God, and I stumble and fall into new lessons everyday. It's my desire that the things I am being taught can be helpful to more than just me. Sometimes people disagree with what I say, and sometimes people think I say too much, but every single time that I receive criticism, the Lord provides me with a word of encouragement from another. Whether it be a comment on here or on on Facebook, a private message, or a friend coming up to me in person; the message is always the same. I am not alone in my struggles. What God is speaking through me is worthwhile and meant to be shared. It takes a heck of a lot for me to write some days- especially on days that I talk about intimate details of my life. Make no mistake though- I don't write it through my own strength, but instead by the prompting and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Please don't hear me pleading with you to never criticize me. Sometimes I will unintentionally offend people with my views, and sometimes I will speak untruths (I am only human, after all) and in those cases I sincerely hope that my readers will have the boldness to step forward to correct me.

Where I am trying to go with this, is pointing out that we all have things that we will become more upset or discouraged about when criticized - even if the criticism is completely unintentional. We live in an age of social media where we can declare to the world what we think is best. The best food choices (Clean Eating, Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan- there are arguments for them all!) The best choices for purchasing products (Eco friendly, Fair Trade, Local, Sustainable) The best parenting methods... the list goes on!



I have been guilty of this myself - Chris and I eat in a certain way, and because we think it is so awesome, I will often make comments on Facebook about what we eat and how great it makes us feel. It wasn't until one day when we were preparing to go share a meal with friends and I offered to bring something when I realized my friend thought I was offering because I didn't think what she would be serving would be sufficient.. By being vocal about the choices that I make, I was unintentionally saying to the people around me that the choices they make are not good enough. 

Sometimes this makes me feel like crap. Sometimes this feels frustrating. Sometimes I want to tell people to worry about what they are doing, and not what I am doing. And truthfully? Sometimes I want to ask people to be more sensitive to what obviously matters a lot to me. But then I remember that we haven't all taken personality tests and shared our results with each other. That, and I remember that God created us to live in community. He created us to all be different so we would have to actually work at loving one another- because if it were effortless, really, where would the fun in that be? Spiritual formation happens with each choice we make, every single day. Today I learned not to find my worth in what other people think of my choices. Well, at least I learned a tiny bit about it.

What about you? What have you learned about criticism?



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Thanks for stopping by :)

~M


4 comments:

  1. I think a great piece of advice I tell myself is "don't be easily offended, and don't easily offend". We are taught to stand up for our rights, to defend our mark. But, we are not taught to listen to others, empathize and ask why.

    Super sensitive is the new thing ("Merry Christmas" among others) as it's "our right". (I know I said that already).

    Just because you do something different does not make it better or worse.
    Just because you do it right, does not make the way someone else does it wrong.

    But, we (society) feel the need to always be better, to always be on top, to fit in yet be unique. We aren't taught to accept ourselves the way we are OR accept others the way they are. I think if we learn to do that, we are less offended and offend less.

    Great blog:)

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    1. Awesome points Trisha- we do feel the need to be better, don't we? So frustrating because we weren't created that way and it's so backwards to Kingdom thinking. That is also great advice on telling yourself not to be offended- I'll try to remind myself of that when I need to!

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  2. You brought up some really great points! I can relate so much this - "by being vocal about the choices that I make, I was unintentionally saying to the people around me that the choices they make are not good enough." I am trying to be more sensitive, gracious, and loving in the way I blog, write, and live, as I have recently realized that I have done this very thing. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Tiffany! This is also something I have become more aware of in blogging as well. Tricky stuff sometimes!

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