Good morning, everyone ~
Constructive Criticism” … that’s the word of the day. No one likes it; everyone gets it, and it can be most hurtful when coming from those who most love/care about us. It’s a double-edged sword that both helps-n-hurts. It only helps, however, when we use it to improve something about ourselves. Even when not delivered in a loving/caring tone, it’s up to us to wield it a “tool” for construction, rather than feeling its destructive force.
Which brings us to the term: “Destructive Criticism”. There will always be someone in this lovely old world whose aim is to destroy us, sometimes for no apparent reason than for their own warped pleasure in destroying someone else. There’s a long list of reasons why, which we’ll not get into here. Most of us are old enough to have encountered folks with their own destructive agenda. As the old saying goes: “Don’t let them live rent-free in your head.”
In order to achieve that sort of mood-n-‘tude, one must know one’s own inner self. YOU — the longest relationship you’ll ever have — can be empowered to not be undone by someone else’s deliberate Destructive Criticism. Like anything else of value in Life, that empowerment requires exercises/willingness to do the work. Where to start? With all those brain-files, of course.
Inside the recorded history of your Life, other people’s voices/words come to life when a brain-file of memory gets popped open. The “destructive” brain-files seemingly outweigh the “constructive” ones. That’s because the feelings of being verbally destroyed are more intense (maybe more frequent) than the feelings of being built up/supported/loved/cared for. The good brain-files (to paraphrase Shakespear) are often buried; the bad ones live way too long after the death of the actual event.
Our “exercise program” starts with courage! We think of courage as bravery, stamina, fortitude. In the original Latin, the word “courage” means “heart”. We all have one of those, and thus we are well equipped to begin the program. In another sense of the word, “courage” and “heart” carry the connotation of “care; caring”. If you have a heart (and you do!), you are already equipped with the ability to “care” and to provide yourself with enough “caring” to conquer those files of Destructive Criticism”.
I don’t mean to make this sound as easy as shutting a door. The bad brain-file “door” has no latch, rusty hinges that scream in hurtful tones, and no handle. At least, not until we ourselves learn how to repair that “door” with the proper “tools” for emotional pain management. It’s a process, not a singular event. Just as we begin to learn the art of “door repair”, we discover that we have other “doors” to take care of.
In that process of taking care of things, we discover/rediscover True Self and self-compassion. We learn how to care for others by caring for self with the same degree of “heart” that we offer others.
And it does indeed take “courage” to carry our heart on the proverbial sleeve where others’ “stings-n-arrows” have an easy target. It takes even more “courage” to self-care, to nurture self-compassion, to unbury brain-files of Destructive Criticism, to keep repairing “doors” so that we can lovingly, gently, softly close them.
All things being connected, our emotional pain is directly tied to our physical/mental/spiritual pain. Likewise, repair work in one of those four areas will assist in the repair work in the other three. Knowing your own self in all four areas is key to better management.
On the spiritual level: Are your beliefs, religious traditions your own; or, have they been adopted from someone else? Rote memorization and mindless repetition is only that: repetition of someone else’s spiritual path. We are not meant to be clones. Discover, uncover, recover your true-self’s spiritual Life.
On the mental level: Are your thoughts your own, or is someone else’s voice living rent-free in that part of yourself? Get better acquainted with yourself. That’s the longest relationship you will ever have. It ought to be the best, the healthiest, the happiest.
On the emotional level: Your feelings are not the same as your emotions. Feelings are superficial. They lie on the surface of your skin, where Destructive Criticism has a large target and easy access. You feel hot, cold, comfortable, uneasy, on alert for danger, etc. Emotion is something much deeper than skin-deep. Emotion is like a coin turned on its edge, spinning fast enough that both sides are viewed at once. Emotion is the “coin” of Love/Fear, inseparable. The art of keeping our “coin” balanced — each side in equal view/proportion — is an exercise no one has taught us how to do. When we Love, we also discover our Fear of losing Love. When we Fear what the future might hold in store, we discover our Love for Life and others and this lovely old world we call “Home”.
On the physical level: Well, we all know that realm all too well, eh? What we are in the process of learning, though, is that invisible connection between this and the other three levels. What we are in the process of learning is how to be better pain managers by being better brain-file detectives, and how to stop our feelings from taking charge of our “coin” of emotion.
After all, we cannot do a “good job” of caring for others if we have yet to learn how to do a “good job” of self-care/pain management.
Wouldn’t you rather receive Constructive versus Destructive feedback? Want to learn how to be more Constructive? Start with yourself. Treat yourself like you are someone you care about, like someone you Love and Fear losing. BE more Constructive with yourself in all your thoughts-n-ways, and watch the magic of “door repair” and “brain-file resolution” unfold.
As of 1 January 2022, it has been estimated that there are 7,868,873,451 people on the face of the Earth. That’s a lot of “doors” in need of repair! If half of us start the work of self-repair, think how quickly we can do a “good job” of constructive repair! No one person can do it all, all alone. Each person can, however, start with the ONE (self) where the most Constructive repair/pain management will make the most difference.
Stay caring. Stay willing. Stay attuned to the longest relationship you will ever have. After all, it’s potential to be the best one you’ll ever have is where you’ll find your point-of-balance. With all the unbalanced energies/attitudes/behaviors unfolding in our world today, an inner point-of-balance is far more valuable than any mediocre commodity out there. Stay true-self strong!
Gentle hugs/much love,