Processing Criticism Beneficially



“Many people find it hard to except the reality that they control their future. They just do not think that there’s any kind of machine that will do anything that is really significant for them. They say they have no control over their environment, rather, they argue their environment controls them! Exemplified by statements like ‘There’s no possible escape from this job!’ or ‘I have to tolerate this professional personal situation’ or ‘I have to compromise this,’ or ‘I have to do that.’

Perhaps the stress and negative perceptions of past experiences makes a person feel as though, they are stuck in their present job or imprisoned in a relationship that they know is not satisfying. Perhaps they inadvertently compound their misperceptions with a processing of their past misfortunes as a reflection on their decision making abilities. Perhaps they believe they’re a victim of circumstance. Maybe they’ve manufactured the perception they can’t do better. This creationism renders them with a feeling of powerlessness to change their position in a way that enhances their lives and brings them more happiness. In some, many see the obstacles and NOT the opportunities.

Often, this feeling of being stuck in a position or in thinking of the worst from a situation comes from culture, your background, or your present environment. The environment in which you grew up, the attitudes of families and friends…imprints you with certain belief systems. For most, these environments, even if they’re very loving were not always positive—as people seem to always focus on telling you what you did NOT do. For example, criticisms about how you dress or look. Or attacks focusing on reminding you of what you DID or DID NOT do or over-criticisms of how you performed. Perhaps you faced environments that were militant or made condescending judgments about how you feel. Or you were unfairly judged. Or you were unproductively criticized for your decisions.

Perhaps people were telling you what you should have done, with negative commentary that wasn’t given with any positive encouragement or any explanation for why you’ve made the mistake. There are also over-controlling environments that make you feel as though your opinion does not matter such as requirements that you only date or marry one kind of person. Or that you have only one kind of job. Or criticism of your feelings without ANY explanation. Or refusal to talk about things or admit when they may be wrong. Using negative reinforcement, not serving as a role model for you, making your identity based on money or materialism. It goes on and on. But I’m sure some of you have seen those environments.

There’s also environments that lack proper structure or encouragement about how to achieve great goals. They could be riddled with negative behavior such as yelling at you, condescending behavior toward you, failing to take time to know and understand you. Acting impatient or displaying conduct that shows you they are being selfish or self-absorbed. Or that they are showing indifference or being emotionally unavailable. Perhaps there’s disrespect shown toward you or other negative reinforcement. It is virtually impossible to come through these environments with the most self-confidence and an always positive attitude. I’m not here to criticize the person or persons who may have created those environments. I’m simply illustrating the reasonableness of how and why you feel the way you do now. It is a reality that much more time was spent on what you did NOT do; much less time was spent on what you DID do.

In recognizing your accomplishments, recognizing your awards, and reinforcing how good you are. Indeed, you may have found that some achievements were inadvertently not even recognized and at times, when you did achieve, it seemed like it was expected instead of acknowledged. So no words of reward or encouragement were brought forth. Likely, if you were to be recognized for an achievement it was only when you did something they considered EXTRAORDINARY.”