It’s easy to get offended when someone gets critical. Either they are speaking truth that you don’t want to hear, or you feel like they are so far out in left field that their criticism is invalid. Maybe you know deep down that they are correct, but you just don’t want to hear it from them right then and there.
The easy path to take here is to get mad and ignore what you don’t want to hear, or you can attack them back and spiral downwards in a swirl of negativity. How do you feel after you interact with a critical person? Do you feel uplifted and upbeat? Or do you feel dragged down in the mud? I know when I criticize other people that I find it easier to criticize the next person who comes along. It’s easier to slip into negativity than it is to remain positive. It’s easier to tear someone down than it is to build them up. I always feel guilty and icky after I criticize someone who didn’t really deserve it, especially when I could have chosen more gentle words. What is worse is spewing criticism right back without even thinking about what I am doing. That makes me kick myself in the bum for falling back into bad habits that I’m trying to get rid of.
The next time someone criticizes you don’t respond negatively. Just pause and think about what is causing that other person so much pain that they feel the need to spew so much negativity. Just pause and try to think about something positive that you can say. I’m totally still working on doing this. I’m hoping that practice makes perfect and that I get better over time. It’s easy to feel defensive when someone goes on the attack. Fight or flight kicks in, and I just want to fight back. Still working on this one.
Be the person who compliments your friends and family instead of tearing people down. A gentle course correction is one thing, but criticizing people needs to be done as gently as possible. We all matter. We’re all worthy. We’re all priceless. Leave the people that you touch with a happy, positive feeling. Speak life to your friends. It’s amazing how people live up to compliments but live down to criticism.