Processing – Criticism

Last year, I commented on a post originally put up by WordPress as a subject for discussion.  I completely forgot that I had done this until a few days ago when I was notified by WP of a reply.

I went to the post and read my comment and reply together to see how they were linked, because after such a long time, you forget.  On reading the reply, I felt as if I had been violated.

There was several dozen comments, and mine was the only one that had ‘achieved’ a reply.  My comment contained thoughts and opinions which had been voiced by other commentators, so I wasn’t alone in my thinking.

I was angered by the reply itself.  There did not appear to be anything positive in it.  My mind ran riot with thoughts and feelings.

  • The reply was full of criticism and I felt as if my voice, my opinion, was not valid.
  • Was it because I was a female?
  • Had the author checked my blogs and found I had some sort of faith and had ‘gone after me’ because of that?
  • Did I not have a right to an opinion?
  • What right had he got to criticise only me when others had said the same thing?
  • I wanted to respond immediately.  What could I say?

I did hit the reply button under his comment and I got a warning from WordPress and I decided not to go on with my action.  Probably a very good thing.  Responding in the heat of the moment is not right.   Emotions and feelings are very raw, and as you have heard me say before, feelings don’t always indicate the reality of the situation.

I slept on it.  Well I hoped to sleep on it but I didn’t do too well.  My mind raced in the night and I was formulating what I was going to say in this post.  There was a point where I considered naming and shaming but what good would that do anybody?  I might feel good, but what then?  So, in the end, this is how I decided to react; by expressing in this post what was going on in me, and how I am processing it.

In every situation, there is an opportunity to learn something new; about yourself; about how to deal with things; about how to behave.  And there is always choice.  Some say it’s learning about life.  True.  It’s also character building.

How do you process criticism?

I found writing about my reactions was cathartic?  Would you have considered doing something similar?

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About katehobbs

Mother to two who are now independant and living away from home. Wife to Steve, for the last 26yrs and looking forward to many more years. I have enjoyed 18 months in the Okanagan, something that I have longed to have the opportunity to do for a while. Living a dream, you could say. Now, I am interning with Living Waters Canada based in Vancouver until end of April 2013. I love to grow my own food - it tastes so much better. I also build up, train and encourage others to achieve more than they thought possible.
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21 Responses to Processing – Criticism

  1. Robyn says:

    I’m not very good with criticism if I find it to be negative, and especially if it doesn’t seem constructive. I tend to automatically get angry and react, and sometimes that gets me into trouble, but at the same time I’m not the kind of person who can sit there and let others bully me. Everyone needs to speak their mind and has the right to, but some people go too far and are very cruel about it. I really don’t like dealing with those kind of people so I stop interacting with them.

    • katehobbs says:

      I can understand your reactions if the criticism is cruel. You’ve been hurt. Hurt people react, and your way is to withdraw from them. Everybody, at some point, will give criticism, but there are some who are good at giving it in a way that is empowering to the receiver. I want to be one of those people. I hope I learn how to be.

      • Robyn says:

        I’m sure you can learn to give good criticism, and the fact that you’ve put thought into it makes me think you are probably good at it now. I know I’ve given criticism many times, but I always try my best to make it constructive so that I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings like mine have been hurt. Hopefully more people will put more thought into it like you are!

  2. Sonel says:

    If it is constructive critcism, then I would think it over and see if the person has a valid point. If it’s negative, I would also look at it but from a distance, to see if it has any merits. Most of the times negative criticism do not have any merit at all because it is only that person’s opinion and well, everyone can have an opinion but it doesn’t mean they are right, does it? I would just ignore it and let it go. Let that person think whatever he wants to think. After all, it’s what you think that matters, right? 🙂

    • katehobbs says:

      Hi Sonel, thank you for your comments. This could generate a great conversation.
      In today’s world, yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, there is a time to express it and a way to express it. I think we are so used to being told that WE have rights that we forget that other people have rights too, and can walk right over another person’s rights.
      I didn’t resort to responding to the criticism on this occasion, although I have been tempted to. I don’t know this person. They are only ‘words on a page’ and the chances of me meeting them are very, very slim. Therefore, I don’t think I will waste energy on being angry and hurt. I can think of much better things to expend my energy on: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. I can spend my life on learning about and operating in these.
      Thanks again for your contribution. Looking forward to more. Kate

      • Sonel says:

        Oh believe me sweetie, I know exactly how you feel. You know, some people think just because they’re sitting behind a screen they can lash out to others just like they want because “they have the right to say what they want”. It’s funny that they think like that, because just like them we have “the right too” but we’re polite. So yes, I think the difference between us and people like that is that we have manners, we are compassionate and caring and we prefer to surround ourselves with lovely people. You are so right … let’s spend on energy on positive things in our love and let’s forget about these nasty people. Some people are just not worth it hon. Have a lovely day! *hugs*

      • katehobbs says:

        Thank you Sonel. In all of this, I know that to get caught up in the negative will only lead to a dead end. I have a choice, and I choose to honour others and be involved with those that are of a like mind. I appreciate your comments and love your interaction here. I trust we will have more conversations…
        Kate

  3. It is amazing how we can receive a lot of positive feedback, but one criticism is worth tons! I play it over in my head, and I write amazing comebacks in my head to the beligerent who dared oppress me! BUT–then they have won then.

    It is easier said than done, but some folks aren’t even worth responding to. There is a certain safety, as well, in the anonymity of giving a piece of your mind when you don’t have the person right there. Granted, there are some who would not let that stop them. But lots of others who hide behind the distance. Words hurt, but you need to put them in a box marked for disposal!

    I think of Meg Ryan in that romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail: when she finally says what she wanted to say to put the guy in his place, she feels shamed and knows it has soiled her. The comebacks in my head, I think, would do that to me and besides, would only inflame a belligerent. So, breathe deep and let it pass. Whoever it is, if they were rude in disagreeing, they were small!!

    • katehobbs says:

      Hi Lilly
      They do say that is delivering some negative news ‘wrap’ it up with positive comments before and after. I am also aware that it takes about 10 positive actions to negate a negative one. That shows you how much influence a negative action can have on another.
      I love your attitude “put them in a box marked for disposal”. That is so true. I have to hand over the box though, ‘cos holding on to it won’t help either. Oh if only this was easier!!!!
      I appreciate your comments Lilly.

  4. i had to stop and think what i would do for a moment…that was good to consider my reaction. i think i would have jumped in and said something. when i think of situations similar, everything in me wants to fight injustice. if my Hubby is here he knows me and will warn me not to “go there” when it is that kind of situation, i will listen because i think something inside me knows he’s right, i just want to fight. one thought that did come to my mind is, i wonder what that other person was going through when they responded to you…maybe they were reacting in the heat of the moment,..maybe they happened to be in pain…who knows…i do know, i will now think twice before i react because of you post. thank you 🙂

  5. fiztrainer says:

    Yeesh … criticism is always a tough one. I suppose our responses depend upon how personal the thing is to us that’s being criticized. I pretty much agree with all the responses here. One thing I did think of as I was reading this though, is this. I think that sometimes it’s not really about what we’re being criticized about that bothers us (or me, at least). It’s more about where my confidence is at. If I’m confident enough in myself and in the thing being criticized, I find I can pretty much brush off the negativity and be open to hearing something constructive. A lot of times, whether right or wrong, criticism is a good gauge as to where we are as confident and secure individuals. I know that I am much more defensive when I feel insecure or unsure about something OR if I feel misunderstood. O man … I really hate being misunderstood. That is HUGE for me. I hate when someone misunderstands where I was coming from. But, even that reveals an insecurity on some level. Of course, we all want to be accepted and understood. That’s part of our humanity, but I guess the real question would be, why did that REALLY bother me? What button did that push? Why do I care so much? To be perfectly honest, I’m not very good with criticism (LOL) … I have this innate need to be right and I know that is definitely an insecurity on my part. I don’t know. What do you think?

    • katehobbs says:

      So many things trigger our insecurities, or ‘push our buttons’ as you describe it. Some of this can go back to childhood. If we have not been fathered well, then we may be insecure. If we were not nurtured by our mothers properly, then we may be insecure. Knowing the root cause of our insecurity can give us the opportunity to be free of it. I don’t believe that going that deep can be done alone and it certainly involves others being with us and helping us bring things into the light. Insecurity and unworthiness can be so destructive and many people walk around with that cloak on their shoulders today.
      You are getting me onto one of my hobby horses, so I had better get off now. Lol. Maybe that’s another post to be written.

      I really appreciate your comments and your honesty as you write. Thank you for being prepared to be real here. That is a strength, not a weakness, as I have said on a previous occasion.
      Bless you in that place.

  6. Madhu says:

    FAae to face I would respond, maybe even hastily and angrily (I know I should not) But online gives me time to ponder and I agree some of them do not deserve a response!

  7. Madhu says:

    That was supposed to be “Face to face” 🙂

  8. Jude says:

    I’d react like you did Kate. I think it’s a perfectly natural way to feel. When under attack I always want to fight back. I know very few people who can just stand back and let a serious criticism slide off their shoulders. I’ve recently started following a wonderful blog – http://mindmindful.wordpress.com/ and a while ago there was this wonderful post: ‘Before you talk – Listen, Before you react – Think, Before you spend – Earn, Before you quit – Try. There are many wonderful, thought-provoking posts, which I’ve found to be a great help in my own personal growth. You may like them too.

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