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All the World’s a Critic

By Michelle Lehnardt

img_8876-copyHave you heard the three rules of human relationships?

First, don’t criticize.

Second, don’t criticize.

Hmm, and what’s the third one again?

Oh yeah. Don’t criticize.

As a child, I was reprimanded almost constantly and rather than developing an impervious skin to harsh words I became a raw, sunburned soul stung by every ray of disapproval. Still, as an adult, I now see the need and benefits of honest, constructive criticism.

Although I am a master of self-doubt, I lack the ability to see my abilities and foibles clearly. I depend on a few people to lend me clarity. My friends at ilovephotography.com offer specific critique and advice for improvement on my photos. Occasionally I’ll talk someone into editing one of my essays. And there’s no end of self-help books for my housecleaning woes. But the soul wrenching, life altering words come from God, my family and a few friends.

The Lord tells us he will both, “show unto them their weakness” and “make weak things become strong unto them.” Have you ever asked God to tell you how to improve? It’s a frightening question and one of the quickest to receive an answer. I have to be especially wary of turning around and criticizing God– “Well if only Thou did this a bit differently, it would be so much easier for me to obey.”

Does that sound childlike? It is. But I will always be His child(and someday a slightly better one) and most of my questions to God revolve around parenting. Discipline is a divine responsibility of all parents, but it’s far too easy for teaching to lead to preaching and finally screeching. My 10 year old cleaned the bathroom on Saturday– he did a lousy job. But rather than scolding him, my husband took him back to the bathroom and gave a refresher course on the art of scouring tubs, mopping floors and swishing toilets to shiny perfection. Our parenting isn’t always so neat and tidy, but criticizing the action and not the child is the model we seek.

Just as my son wouldn’t benefit from parents who say– “Oh you don’t need cleaning skills(my future daughter-in-law would hate me!).”– I gain no advantage from a spouse who says, “You are lovely and perfect in every way.” My poor husband has gained plenty of practice in constructive criticism teaching me(with limited success) to stick to a budget, bridle my temper and decrease my vanity. In return he is willing to make changes of his own.

Intimacy transforms censure to love. So it is usually only in close relationships that criticism is effective. Few accept condemnation from friends and it’s nearly universal to bristle at strangers offering disparagement. Yet, I’ve had a few occasions where the words of a stranger swiveled my heart into just the right place. I’ll never forget the bent lady who interrupted my mindless conversation with a friend to whisper, “You need to listen to your son, he’s trying to talk to you.” He was.

And I’m grateful to a commenter on my personal blog who said, “Frankly, I don’t find this very funny.” It wasn’t.

How do you feel about criticism? Are you good at giving it; are you good at accepting it? How can we pick our battles without nitpicking? Who do you accept censure from? Have you received excellent advice from unusual places? Where is criticism necessary and where is it completely inappropriate? And finally, have you been hurt by scornful words? How can we teach without avoid damaging souls?

About Michelle Lehnardt

(Blog Team) I'm the kind of mom who drives through mud puddles, throws pumpkins off the roof and lets the kids move the ping-pong table into the kitchen for the summer. Despite (or probably, because of) my immaturity, my five sons and one daughter are happy, thriving, funny people. I'll climb a mountain with you, jump into a freezing lake hand-in-hand or just sit with you while you cry. I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ will heal the earth. Founder of buildyourteenager.com, scenesfromthewild.net and rubygirl.org.

42 thoughts on “All the World’s a Critic”

  1. Being an artist has toughened me up to criticm – or rather we like to call it critique- I hated it in my early art days, now I know how much I need it! I have learned though there is power and growth to be found in truth. Being teachable is an art.

    Lately I am getting little critiques from God, those little shape up moments of harsh introspection but i'd rather listen, hurt, and change than ignore and never improve and look back regrettably.

    Michelle I have a piece I need you read…

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  2. Lots of questions to respond to!
    I'll just admit here that I'm pretty good at taking censure from my husband…and that's about it.
    I was raised by a very laid back (hippie) single father who didn't really criticize or censure. Even when my sister and I would fight (really, fight) he would just say, "work it out yourselves."
    So, I like to blame my inability to process criticism on my childhood. It's convenient.

    But I'm not really sure why I take it as a personal vendetta against everything I am if someone says anything negative to me. It's like an innate defensive reflex or something.

    Someone once wrote me a letter (long letter) outlining a lot of my faults and telling me they wrote it because they didn't want me to loose anymore friends or turn people off in the future. It crushed me! I went through a couple years of a "who am I?" phase. Now I can see that this person was spot on in his assessment and my life would have been a lot easier if I could have put his advice into action sooner. I'm not sure if it was the right time for me to hear it all though. It may have been a little more destructive than constructive simply because of the timing. That relationship is still weird.

    I think you shouldn't be concerned about constructively criticizing people that you have no stewardship over (i.e. ward members, neighbors, strangers). immediate family and intimate friends are a different story. But follow the Spirit. You don't actually know what's going on inside their head or all of their motives.

    One of my favorite quotes is from The Secret. One of the female presenters said something like, "If you truly understood (your emotions, the secret…), then you would ask no one to change so that you can be happy." I always think of that when I want to change something about someone.

    I hope this rambling made sense. I'm excited for everyone else's wisdom.

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  3. I always think about this when I get the urge to "change" someone else:

    The only person you can truly change is yourself.

    (And often, it's the best place to start…)

    Because I grew up in an extremely critical home, it is very hard for me not to take criticism very personally. Sometimes the "correction" someone may suggest is small and minor, but I tend to read much more into it; internalize it; start down the dismal and lonely road of "I'm just not enough"…

    It's hard to pick your battles with the ones you love and have stewardship over. You want them to be the best they can be; your standards and expectations are high. It's so much easier to overlook and make allowances for someone you are not so emotionally invested in.

    Sometimes I am terrible at giving critisism–that familial cycle is a hard one to break. But sometimes, I feel like I am better at it, more in tune with the spirit, knowing when and how to deliver it. It's so tricky, isn't it?

    These are very good questions.
    I'll have to think more about them.

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  4. I looked up how to develop a tougher skin a few months ago, and I'll never forget what I found on one site. It said something to the effect of "the first step to developing thicker skin is to realize that everything is not about you." It was a definite paradigm shift for me. I had never thought about sensitivity and inability to accept criticism as pride, or ego-driven, but it is.

    When someone criticizes you, sometimes it is more about them than it is about you. And, if the criticism is justified, it is still only about that aspect of your behavior or your artwork or whatever, not about YOU.

    Only when you develop humility, and begin to understand both your divine worth and your worthlessness before God together, can you bear the chastisement from others, as well as from the Lord. To me, it doesn't matter how much the person criticizing loves you, it matters how much I know myself and my place before God, as both a loved child, and as a person with a great deal of room to improve.

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  5. Criticism has come to mean running people down. It is very negative. It is not the same as evaluating and giving feedback.

    I can handle feedback.

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  6. I appreciate feedback.
    I may not always be grown up about it, but I really appreciate and respect somebody who calls me for not living up to what is expected of me. Most of the time, I know they are right.

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  7. Ooh, I love the idea that being teachable is an art(from our resident artist of course).

    Alanna– that letter! What a heart wrenching experience! You are a strong woman to have taken it constructively.

    You're right Jenny– the spirit teaches us a better way of giving feedback(you're right Claudia!)

    and SilverRain this is profound– "Only when you develop humility, and begin to understand both your divine worth and your worthlessness before God together, can you bear the chastisement from others, as well as from the Lord."

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  8. I am not good at receiving criticism. Honestly, just reading about it here makes my heart start to race and my hands get shaky. I'm bad at receiving it and I hate conflict, so yeah. Unfortunately I'm very good at dishing it out to my kids. My husband and I have both fallen into a very critical parenting style and we have to constantly work to find our way back to teaching and uplifting with love. It's hard for us, and one of my motivations in trying a new style is that I want my children to grow up and be better at interacting with others than we are.

    As far as criticism in other contexts, I like what other people here have said. Often when people are harsh and judgemental with us, it has a lot to do with their own particular issues (and I've noticed that my reaction to my kids can vary depending on what's going on in my life). I think some constructive crticisim or critique can be good. I'm learning things like using "I statements" to keep the conversation focused on the behavior and my feelings about it. I recently got called to be a counselor in a presidency and was bothered by some of the things that were happening. I was worried to be too critical, but found a way to appropriately express my concerns and we were able to find a way to fix things together and actually ended up becoming closer in the process. That was a testimony to me that we can use some criticism (or critique) in appropriate ways–in private, with love, within our stewardship.

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  9. I'm struggling right now with one of my kids. I'm often harder on him than the others–it seems like he just has more energy and is consequently in trouble more. I think he feels this discrepancy, and I'm worried that it is affecting his view of himself. I'm really trying to turn this around, but it's hard. As Jenny said, "It’s so much easier to overlook and make allowances for someone you are not so emotionally invested in."

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  10. That is a hard one to tackle. I feel like one of the reasons I have been able to grow and develop is to see myself clearly. Often that view has been provided by the people closest to me.

    At the same time kills me to have someone point out my faults. I am very self critical and so when someone outside of my immediate family says something to me about the dumb stuff I do… it, well lets just say it is not good.

    There is enough trust within my marriage I can take it in that venue, most of the time. I think this also comes from the fact that I know my husband well enough and am aware of the things he needs to work on as well. There is a little give and take, all said in love. Once in a while it is in frustration, but still with a good measure of compassion and love.

    Someone very close to me that I think had some of the same challenges starting out that I also enjoy, has I believe, never been in a marriage they felt safe enough to take a honest look at their strengths and weaknesses. Not that there has been abuse per se but definitely a level of criticism not informed by love. The result being they are very defensive and even a peek under the curtain can really feel to them as a assault on their self worth. This makes me very sad. Marriage is not the only relationship that this kind of careful correction can happen in but it is the one that I have the most experience with.

    I think about the Scripture D&C 121:43(I know this is priesthood directed but I think that the principles hold true in lots of situations) "Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;"

    -"betimes" = early
    -"with sharpness" = specific (my infected finger needs a lancet not a sledge hammer)
    "when moved upon by he Holy Ghost"
    and most important "afterwards… an increase in love"

    Even when correct principles are practiced, and you know they still love you it can still be very "owie" to hear it and see it like it is.

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  11. The best practice I ever had at taking criticism was when I wrote my Master's thesis. I was SO determined to do it all right the first time, and I was annoyed when I got feedback that was not all sunshine and roses. Rinse and repeat a couple more times, and between the criticism and the newborn baby crying in the background, I was a broken woman.

    That was when I learned to embrace the criticism. I needed it. I expected it. I wanted it, because I knew that I was going to stay on this road until it ended, and the more criticism I got, the more I could course-correct and run more quickly toward the end of the race. When I finally got the news that my thesis was ready to be presented, I was surprised. I was still ready for more criticism. It was a good experience, and it helped me handle criticism in general much more positively, IF it comes from an appropriate source.

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  12. I can relate to that feeling. My oldest son has a delicate, tender heart, but some of his social skills are just half-a beat out of step with others. I don't want that beautiful heart of his to be smashed by the cruelty that kids show to kids who are socially awkward, so I'm really trying to teach him to modify a few specific behaviors (his voice volume, not playing the growling game, no blowing raspberries, etc.). It's always a struggle to find the balance between being firm enough to effect a change, but not so hard that I damage his spirit myself.

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  13. I'm ok with criticism (or as Claudia said, feedback), if it is giving in love and temperance. Wild emotional rants do me no good. Having my writing edited has certainly toughened me up.

    And I stopped giving advice or criticism after I had my first kid and people were always telling me what to do and what not to do or what I was doing wrong. It drove me so crazy that I made a huge and conscious point to remind myself that I never wanted to do that to another woman.

    We each have a right and responsibility to have those experiences. Just because someone else may have mastered that part of their life doesn't diminish my experience. I had to go through being a first time mom just like my mother did. So while someone might want to somehow "save" me from the same mistakes they made, I am having my own set of experiences, none of which will be made better by someone sheltering me from them.

    So now when I see women who are younger of earlier on in their parenting lives, I smile a remembering smile of how it felt, empathize with the reality of their struggle, which is real, and hope that women who are farther along the path the me will do me the same kindness.

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  14. I didn't get a lot of criticism from my parents, who basically thought I could do no wrong, so it took me some time and experience to realize that I actually could do some wrong…and occasionally, quite a bit of wrong! The truth is, I was surprised when I realized this (lol), yet I was generally okay with the criticism that finally came to me as I moved more outside my family group. Here is the kicker. I think the reason I could accept criticism without being wounded to the core is because my mother in particular had been so unconditional in her love and approval that I was comfortable with myself by the time outside criticism came my way. I was able to hear it because, basically, I felt good about me.

    As I married, had children, and "life happened"…I noticed that my ability to accept and use criticism constructively had everything to do with where I was emotionally and spiritually. When I was adjusting to a chronic illness (the first real assault on my self esteem that I had ever experienced…and it was a whopper), I became overly sensitive for a time. I took every criticism to heart because I was inwardly criticizing myself and my new limitations. Once I adjusted, I was able to take correction more readily again.

    It has been true, in all the years since, that when something new rocks my world, I am generally not able to take criticism well. When I get back to feeling comfortable in my own skin, I do fine with it.

    One last note, as a writer I had to learn to take criticism and lots of it. For some reason, this has never bothered me. I always took it as an opportunity to view my work from another's paradigm and a challenge to improve. To this day, I like having my work critiqued. I don't always agree with the comments made, but I do always give them the consideration they deserve.

    I have to conclude that criticism apparently takes two forms. The first is a genuine effort to help, and that goes down pretty easily for me. The second arises out of the criticizer's own issues, and when that is leveled at me, I just shoot it back at 'em (mentally), where it belongs. In other words, I don't take it on.

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  15. Heidi- amen to the masters thesis- those lesson in humility- you kind of dread openign up the reviewed copies… I have a friend just finishing her dissertation and living the vicarious revision pain.

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  16. Sue- I find your comment interesting in so many ways. First, you've proven one of my many parenting theories, that a good self-esteem empowers a child to take criticism constructively. Next, I agree that those life changes make us hyper-sensitive. And last, it's important to remember that criticism often comes from someone's own issues.

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  17. I really like what the last person said, that criticism is either genuine, and thus we can humble ourselves a bit. OR it's just coming at you because the issue of the criticizer — in that case you can ignore it. But with some retrospect . . . there could be truth there too, and if you're really serious about improving yourself examine the situation.

    two things come to mind:
    – Bednar taught me we should ONLY criticize/correct when prompted by the Spirit – and this may be gentle and it may be with harshness.
    – sometimes, the wicked take the truth to be hard. When I worked in Bednar's office our area president gave a devotional about being SAHMoms. Alot of the response from the working moms were, "He doesn't know what he's talking about, BYUI would shrivel up and die without working mothers, etc." I think anytime response to a GA is "he doesn't know what he's talking about" is dangerous.

    The last point is to read Bednar's talk about being easily offended. I think we should all have the talk printed out and on hand, esp me. My husband and I have inadvertently offended quite a few people in our ward (being in some of our callings) and some of the times it means I need to be more careful what I say, other times it means they were too easily offended.

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  18. As Justine mentioned, I think our parenting is one of the last places where we are willing to take criticism. And really, very little critique applies because our children and circumstances are so different.

    When my friends ask for advice they are usually just asking me to validate a decision they've already made.

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  19. I am rubbish with criticism. I was brought up in a home where there was no love. Every day brought criticism, hate, pain and fear. As a child I remember being terrified of my mother. I left home at 17 and only visited when I felt I had to. I grew up with very little self esteem and that really affected my adult life. I didn't marry until I was 31, partly I think due to being a rather unsociable type of person who doesn't trust or get into relationships easily. In my marriage I know my husband loves me, but I still take everything very personally. If he comments about the dinner even I will become very defensive, and he's just saying don't take it like this, I'm not critising you. With my children I know I really am so much more relaxed than my mother, but every time something goes wrong I think it must be my fault, as if I am responsible for each word and action of my children. It's a tough thing. We don't know how people will react, or their past, or how they are feeling that day. One of my main things this year is just to try to be nicer to everone I meet, to be a little bit kinder, and not so critical of anyone or anything. If only it were that easy. Love is the answer to a lot of things. We can only change ourselves not others. Maybe loving ourselves more is where we, actually I, should start.

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  20. I am better at receiving than giving criticism, but I don't think I excel at either. One memory of an "unusual place" I received feedback was on a date with a guy I met over the internet. I had quite a potty mouth at the time, and though I didn't swear in front of him, it somehow came up that I did swear. I don't remember what he said or how he did it. It seems it was just a matter-of-fact comment about not liking when women swore. It wasn't critical or self-righteous or anything that would get my dander up, and I listened. And I began working on it. Not that I never swear anymore, but I'm no longer proud of it if I do.

    Great post, Michelle. I wish I had the mental faculty to answer more of your questions! I need a nap!

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  21. Kay you have such a good, good soul– I always look forward to your comments. And once again you've proven my theory that childhood criticism only makes us raw– not perfect.

    Wendy– I love your internet swearing story! That's a perfect example. And thanks for being humble enough to share it.

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  22. I have a seven-year-old who is so sensitive to criticism that I can hardly look at her sideways without having her burst into tears and run up to her room to slam the door. I think I was a lot the same way as a kid (minus the door slamming, my mom assures me). When I was a teacher, it was hard to give feedback rather than just say "good job" because I wanted to nurture, but eventually it became evident that nurturing wasn't enough. Sometimes I needed to tell people what was wrong too. I hate unsolicited criticism, but I'm learning to learn from it. I've found that blogging has toughened me up quite a bit, but it's only in my mid-30s that I've started to feel a little bit better at hearing that I'm not perfect at everything.

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  23. I see that the situation makes a difference.

    As a young art student I enjoyed critiques while many of my fellow students did not. That level of emotional turmoil I didn't understand (even crying for some sensitive souls). To me, it was all about improvement and I was oh, so eager to improve. I feel that way about critiques of my writing as well, I welcome the opportunity to improve.

    BUT, as an overwhelmed stay at home mom, I feel rubbed raw and cannot abide criticism. Gentle feedback from someone with tender love, yes. Criticism I have no room for in my life now. I turn a deaf ear to it. Just trying to breathe- trying to let in the light and joy. That goes for giving criticism too, I'm letting that go. Not giving place for it in my heart.

    I come from a childhood somewhat like Kay. I think it does effect us for life and we have to build a scaffolding to support the part of ourselves that did not get the foundation we needed in childhood.

    Too often in the gospel, we focus on doing everything "right". For now I want to "glory in my Jesus" and enjoy the multitude of blessings he has given me. Without looking at my life with backhanded criticism of Him or myself. Which by the way, I count as one of the many blessings he has given me – myself, foibles and all.

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  24. Michelle,
    Thank you for your words today. As always, you know your audience well and speak with such authenticity.

    Lately I am grateful for the ten-minute space in my week when I can take the sacrament and reflect on all of the pieces of my days where I could have lived with more grace. My daily patterns need so much more of God, especially when I ask so much of Him in my behalf.

    And every week I know the Lord finds new ways to forgive me and encourage me to continue, but I wish my patterns for coming to the sacrament were not always with this plea to help me raise children with resiliency,as it is the most humbling gift refining and delighting me in the same moment.

    I am so grateful that I feel the gentle touch of the Savior's love rather than a finger pointing in my face telling me to swim harder, get better grades, go to bed when I am asked, take better care of my room, and be nice to my siblings—which are the words I so often repeat to my children.

    Heavenly Father parents me in ways I know I should parent the ones He blessed me with. Without criticism, with love, grace, patience, and like I am a blessing to Him every day.

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  25. Criticism can always be taken as a painful jagged pill, because just by existing it shows that we are not (considered) perfect.

    As some people have already written some people criticise because of their own issues – it's like they are throwing leeches that suck out your joy, peace, satisfaction and confidence.

    On the other hand, those that OFFER suggestions or comments that address an issue (usual term is constructive criticism) are more like a nurse holding out a spoon of smooth, tart medicinal syrup. It may not leave a wonderful taste in your mouth, but if you take it (because you trust the source) you know it will do some good.

    I learnt during my youth and early adult years to stop comments as they arrived to my ears and examine them. Did I trust the person saying them? Was the comment out of anger or negative feeling? Was it aimed to injure or build? Depending on the answer I diverted the comment straight to my mental rubbish chute, or filed it for future contemplation.

    Obviously sometimes the missile struck my heart before I could put my shield up, but such attacks have been (eventually) seen as attacks, and not for my overall benefit.

    As for teaching without damaging souls, I think you have to realise and remember that you are teaching. I'm frustrated that it seems nigh on impossible for my 7 year old to tidy up his room quickly i.e. under an hour, but I need to continue to teach him how to do it until it becomes habit, not criticise that he hasn't done it properly/fast enough/without me.

    The tongue is the sharpest weapon, a truly two-edged sword. Can cut to the heart or strengthen someone. Takes practise to use either side well!

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  26. Wow, I can always count on the Segullah community for breathtaking comments.

    Shelah– I love your point that sometimes nurturing isn't enough. A good honest critique has it's place. But jendoop I find it so fascinating that you relish criticism in some part of your life and not in others. I'm the same way. Perhaps we're most sensitive to the things closest to our heart.

    And Leslie every word of your comment is worth quoting but I especially love this– "Heavenly Father parents me in ways I know I should parent the ones He blessed me with. Without criticism, with love, grace, patience, and like I am a blessing to Him every day."

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  27. Ooo-eee. I'm not so good at taking it and too good at dishing it. I am acutely aware of this and do try to work on it. I first want to criticize less. In my mind, I am not being critical and I know that's just self-rationalization. And as for taking it, I often feel simply picked on (I too have very, very thin skin and although I don't want it toughened up, I know it should be even if just a bit) but know that at least *some* of it has to be true, especially when it comes from a person I love and trust.

    What you said about always being the Lord's child was very comforting to me, a reminder that I too am a child of my Heavenly Father and am forgiven and given much patience for my shortcomings. I didn't have parents for most of my childhood so I learned very quickly to be very good so people would be pleased with me and want to keep me around, so I think this is where the hyper-sensitivity to criticism comes from with me.

    Thank you for sharing and for your honesty.

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  28. Such a worthwhile discussion.

    I think criticism is not the same thing as teaching. What your husband did, imo, was to teach, to nurture, to stand by the side of your son and help him improve. That's how I believe God is. That doesn't mean He won't help me see where I can improve. But His way, imo, is much different than just throwing some feedback in my face, over the fence as it were, and expecting me to just get it.

    Sister Beck's description of nurturing really helped me think about that more. She says: "Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate." It's the "working beside" part that really grabbed my attention. So often, I think we as mortals give criticism for OUR sakes, to minimize OUR stress or concern. That doesn't really work. When I really take the time to stand beside my children, or a friend, or my husband, or whoever, I think that's a whole different ball game.

    I think sometimes we think of nurturing as being all warm fuzzies, but it's not. And when done with the Spirit, and with love, it can be an amazing process for all involved. When I take the time to really nurture my kids in this way, it changes ME, builds our relationship, brings the Spirit, and helps them learn, too.

    I think if we are sensitive to the Spirit, our spirits can know when someone is in the mode of really caring (by our sides, really concerned about our welfare), or selfishly giving feedback. I think the Spirit can also help us discern what we need to take and what we need to let roll off our backs.

    I'm reminded again of the whole look upwards vs. look sideways thing. If I am confident before God, then lateral feedback that I need can enter my heart w/o tearing it apart.

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  29. Been thinking about this… I think it would be nice…in a safe environment – for people to give us feedback – anonymous or otherwise – about how we appear to them. Kind of like the evaluations I used to fill out during the yearly reviews when I worked (those that manage you, those you manage and then your own self eval)…

    I think it would help us clarify things in our personalities that are misunderstood, improve things that we didn't realize bothered people…and find out the great things we do that we didn't realize.

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  30. Kay, Thanks for sharing that. I grew up in a home where there was emotional abuse, but I wasn't really aware of it until I was older. But, I definitely suffered in terms of how I felt about myself and in turn, how I accepted criticism. Finally after 18 years of marriage I am able to accept criticism without going bolistic.

    As others have mentioned, it is pride that keeps us from being able to accept constructive criticism, feedback and correction. Sadly, pride seems more common among those of us who didn't feel loved or accepted as children.

    I'm so grateful the gospel teaches us the importance of humility or I might still be as prideful as I was in my youth.

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  31. Thanks Jendoop. I think lately I have come to appreciate the atonement of my Savior as the way that I can be human and still be happy.

    I understand our emphasis on perfection, but find that when it isn't focused on the kind of perfection that Christ taught, we get caught up in unimportant things…like having a life that looks perfect.

    Right now my desires are focused on learning humility (I'm finally ready!) and it makes it so much easier to hear criticism. I love that you recognized that criticism of your artwork was all about improving. That's a great attitude. I remember being pulled aside by a dance teacher after having been criticized/corrected and being told not to take it personally (I was near tears). Still, not having a stong base of self-worth—but plenty of pride–it was hard to hear.

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  32. Leslie, I love the way you describe what kind of parent God is. It is so hard to be a good parent sometimes! I will try to implement that idea of loving my kids the way God and Christ love me. That's a good topic for prayer!

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  33. Wow. Great teaching material here. Thanks for sharing Sis. Beck's talk. I don't remember that one. What a blessing to have these words to instruct me as I try to become a better mother and wife. My husband often tries to teach me in love, and I typically turn it around and blame him or some other immature behavior. And I wonder why my kids don't listen to me very well! I hope I can learn to stand beside them in love as I try to teach what I do know.

    Thanks!

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  34. I have often wanted to ask people why I offend or don't seem to fit in, but am always afraid to hear: that people just don't like me.

    But, I am learning to step back a bit and just listen to others and try to see what I do that might come across as proud or critical. My family traits are strongly toward prideful behavior, but I want to be the kind of person who lifts others…it is a hard process to change.

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  35. Interesting post. I don't take criticism well or accept it from anyone except myself. Right now, it isn't anyone else's job to criticize me, so if they do I don't think it is their place.
    My daughter told me she didn't like my hair color, and said "no offense." It took me a while but I shook that off. It is not her place to like my hair color.
    I have had the nosy lady at the store criticize my parenting (love those two year olds) and I felt it was out of line. I rejected her opinion.
    I guess my husband has a place in helping me, but I guess it is all in how he does it. If he does criticize, it is never helpful. When he is helpful…..then he simply helps me the next time around, he doesn't tell me to change.
    My husband tells me that I set a high standard for myself. I think it is my place to criticize myself, and know my own weaknesses and mistakes.
    I talk to family and friends. In talking about my life I come to know it better. I assume that any helpful advice they have would just come through so casually I wouldn't even notice, we'd just be talking about life.
    I gave a RS lesson on Sunday as a sub. I left thinking it went well in parts, and anxious over a couple parts where I wish I had done better. I would not take it well if someone came to me and told me my mistakes. I do not believe it would be ok.
    Perhaps I do take criticism if it is helpful, because I don't feel like I"m overly sensitive. I don't know.
    I think the only person I might be overly critical about is my husband. I try to not put myself in the position of making a judgement on what he is doing, so that I don't feel like I need to make a judgement. It is difficult though. In some ways, though, I feel like it is necessary in order to communicate at all. Also, I feel that as a wife I need to be very open and clear about my marriage and that is why we are still together and he treats me (mostly) the way I want to be treated.

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