Listening?

“Don’t take criticism from people you wouldn’t go to for advice”  – Lisa Bilyeu

This one hit me hard when I read it.  When I was younger any sort of criticism was met with a mixture of hurt and pain and embarrassment.  I’d then overreact to correct the behavior that had caused the comment.

As I matured I realized that some criticism doesn’t reflect a deficit of yours, but of the their’s.  Jealousy and spite can often fuel nasty and unfair comments.  Learning to discern the motive of the giver is a valuable lesson; one that has kept me from many sleepless nights agonizing over my “offensive” behavior.

As I got older, I learned that there is value in all criticism, especially the ones that sting.  Learning not to emotionalize the moment, to step back and take a good look at myself, my motives and my actions. Only then deciding if the criticism was warranted.  Sometimes it was, often it wasn’t.

Finally I learned if you truly wish to strengthen your character and increase your self awareness you need to seek out feedback.  Find those people in your life who you trust.  Often family, sometimes not.  These people have your best interests at heart.  They are firmly in your corner even when what you need is a good “come to Jesus” talk.  Especially when you need a good “come to Jesus” talk.

Once I started doing that an unintended benefit surfaced.  When you are actively working on your weaknesses and hearing feedback from people you trust the uninvited criticism from those not of your inner circle becomes just white noise.  Their motives are often transparent and usually are egocentrically motivated.

While listening is imperative for personal growth, discernment of who you’re listening to is essential.  Choose wisely.

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