3 Positive Ways to Respond to Criticism

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Critics aren’t hard to find. Almost anywhere–at anytime–you’ll find someone willing to give their two cents about how something should’ve been done. Sometimes, criticism can be good. Other times, it can be both unnecessary and damaging to one’s reputation. In the end, it’s what you do with criticism that really matters. So whether you take criticism well or you cringe at the very thought of it, the best thing you can do in response is to be armored up and ready to take the hit.

Here are three positive ways to respond when the critical canons start firing.

1. TURN THE OTHER CHEEK

Not only is it biblical (see Matthew 5:38), but it shows humility (not to be confused with weakness). In a culture where fighting back and getting revenge is elevated, sometimes it’s just appropriate to turn the other cheek. The worst you can do is hurt your pride a little.

2. SPONGE IT

While our human instincts often tell us to let criticism flow in one ear and out the other, a wiser strategy might be to let the criticism soak in. Often when we take some time to process a critic’s comments, motives, and intentions, we’ll learn some valuable lessons about ourselves and the critic’s point of view. Taking some time to sponge criticism might also save you some embarrassment from flying off the handle in defense or saying something hurtful that you didn’t really mean.

3. MEET AND GREET

Criticism can be easily misread, misconstrued, mismanaged behind the barrier of a letter, an email, or phone call. To really understand a critic’s point of view, get together to talk about it in person. You’ll be able to better interpret the person’s feelings and point of concern when you can discuss the criticism face to face. When a critic sees your willingness to discuss the issue at hand, sometimes his or her viewpoint will better align with your own.

Whatever you do, avoid responding impulsively to criticism. Push pause, take it in, and respond with humility, sincerity, and wisdom. As you respond positively to critics, you’ll be set for success to make the best of any situation.

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

What lessons have you learned from responding to criticism? Comment below.

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Change–Face It and Embrace It

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A lot can happen in a year.

For me, 2012 was a year that brought a lot of change–change I wasn’t quite prepared for. But in the midst of the many unexpected changes along the way, I’ve experienced some of my life’s greatest blessings. And God has made me better–for Him and others.

Facing Change
I’ve always been the type of person who thrives on change. I like trying new things, new ways, at new times, and at new places. New experiences always make me appreciate old ones. New environments always give birth to a fresh creative spirit. New relationships always prove to better define past ones.

But as good as change can be, it’s never comfortable. Change requires surrender, and surrender demands a shift in pride. All in all, these are small sacrifices when it comes to the fruits of change.

My 2012 was uncomfortable. I surrendered several comforts along the way. My pride was then shifted. And now in 2013, I’m able to look back and see the fruits.

Embracing Change
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from facing change, it’s that you must also embrace it. It’s in the moments when you open your heart and mind to the changes that lie ahead that you begin to see God do a work inside you that’s beyond your realm of understanding. And the rewards are plentiful.

In 2012, I decided to embrace the changes before me. I surrendered my small realm of thinking and allowed God to do what only He can–make me better. I decided to trust His plan instead of the ones I had crafted on my own. And I discovered a life so much more abundant than I’ve ever known.

I survived several changes within my job and work structure. The fruit was found in embracing a new position in which I truly love and am able to creatively and passionately use my skills and talents for His glory. I allowed myself to invest in the pursuit of new relationships. The fruit was revealed when God opened my eyes to the most beautiful relationship in my life for the past twelve years–and in less than three months, I’m marrying my best friend. God has the most unique and beautiful way of orchestrating His plans. Let’s not hold Him back!

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we learn that “for everything, there’s a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (ESV). So often, we coast through seasons of life without acknowledging God’s perfect plans. We attempt to craft our own plans–and we fail. So we try again. And again. And eventually, we finally open our eyes to God’s perfect plan and begin to experience the abundance of His love. Don’t postpone joy.

In work, relationships, or life experiences, how do you deal with change?

Are there situations of change that God may be asking you to face…and embrace?

No matter the change that lies ahead, remember to look for God in the midst of it. Allow Him to change your heart and transform your life. And then–a year later–bask in the fruits of His plan and provision. A change can do you good.