Finals are approaching, and that is why you won’t be able to read one of my own posts. But luckily, Sebastian came to our/my rescue and wrote something for HOMI. Enjoy! 🙂
Without further ado, what is wrong with you?
A lot, I’m sure.
You’re one flawed S.O.B., my friend. But that’s alright. I mean, it’s not alright alright, but it’s fine for now. The truth is that we all are very flawed individuals, from the moment we’re born till the moment we perish. The good thing is that we can change that, at least to a certain degree. We can treat others respectfully and fairly, act in accordance to our goals and aspirations, be ‘good people’. An essential part to achieve this, to better ourselves, is knowing how to take criticism. So, let’s talk about it.
For starters, what don’t we like about criticism? The obvious one is that it’s quite uncomfortable. It can feel as if someone is attacking us, our lifestyle, our beliefs or other essential parts of our identity. Perhaps rightly so, but that doesn’t change the fact that you don’t like it.
That’s the next part, what if they are right? That could mean that you, for lack of better words, may be a shitty person. Maybe a little bit, maybe a lot. Maybe just sometimes, maybe most of the time.
Nobody wants to think that they are shitty. And realizing that you are shitty, could also mean that you have to change your ways, (or conform to being shitty).
So when someone goes through the trouble of pointing out something they think you’re doing wrong, think of it as them helping you improve on your shittier sides. After all, criticism (especially good criticism) is basically the same as a debate. The main difference being that it has someone (or someone’s actions) as its subject of discussion. So essentially, good criticism is the same as a good debate. Both parties stick to their core values, but decide to engage in discussion to hear each other out, in hopes to learn something and to come out a wiser person. That may be a helpful way to think about someone criticizing you. They are not attacking you, or trying to prove you wrong. Maybe they know something you don’t; they almost certainly do, actually. Maybe you end up still disagreeing, but you now know about a new perspective, another interpretation of the world.
Another helpful thing is to consider the BIG picture. Maybe you’re not ‘wrong’, but maybe you’re not completely ‘right’ either. Maybe you are on the right track, but need to work out some small details. Maybe you have a superficial understanding of something, and talking about it can help you understand it even better.
The important thing that I would suggest you remember is that taking criticism is all about mentality. People (at least most of them) are not out to get you. Some people may be rude or aggressive, but there are others that just want you to express their opinion. Maybe their opinion is stupid, but maybe it’s not. You can find out if you listen to them. Not just hear them and immediately discard what they are saying or think of a counter argument, but actually try to understand what they mean by paying close attention. If you can understand what they mean, you can truly try and compare those ideas with your own. Finally, you can come to a conclusion. You may change your mind about something, now that you can see a bigger picture. Maybe you agree to disagree, but then you still learn the way others think, which is always handy. You also come to understand what your true beliefs are, why you stand by them, why they are worth defending, and how they shape your view of the world.
It may seem like I went a bit off topic, but I wanted to describe the core of why criticism is important. It’s important because, despite it being off-putting, it’s the way we learn. By learning we know what we should change, and by knowing we can act to change.
We become ‘better’, so that maybe one day, we won’t be so shitty.