Criticize if You Love Me.

On the receiving end of criticism.  Different from playing football or tag, no one wants to be chased, i.e. criticized.  If given the choice, which would you choose?  Chase vs. flee?  Humans can be a bit predatory when it comes to offering up feedback.

However, what I’m talking about has nothing to do with abuse.  Verbal emotional abuse is about unequal power.  Abuse of any kind, including spoken abuse, is scary, painful and shameful.

What I’m talking about is simply criticism.  You mismanage something at work and your boss, corrects you.  After coming home from that, tired and feeling beaten up, your children are picking on each other.  Then you get them in bed and find that you forgot to write-up a report and it has to be done.  Your spouse tells you that he misses his time with you.  

It takes a lot of love to deal with something.  Turns out, it’s much easier to let it go.  Walk away.  Examples of trying to promote criticism are the advertisements targeting parents to tell their kids not to use drugs.  It takes love to say no.  Loving yourself as well as love for someone else.  Kids who don’t get this feel neglected and confused.  Adults can also feel lost in so much impersonal space and act out just to get noticed.  Some people might call this “gamey.”  I just call it normal.  It’s a normal instinct to want the boundaries of someone who cares pressing around you.  It’s normal to feel adrift without knowing that you are worth somebody’s bother.

I say,

spare the rod and spoil the child

…at all levels.  At any age or station.  And further more, with your self-to-self included.  If you love yourself, you end up wanting to do and be better.  Coming from any direction, we can take it when we know we are loved.

The best part of Proverbs 12:24 is the second half,

but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

So now, if given the choice, which would you choose?

Self Care Tip #56 – Bring it!  Take it!  Give it!  You are loved.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Have you been criticized and known you were loved?  What’s your story?

9 thoughts on “Criticize if You Love Me.

  1. Criticism is a tricky business. It’s easy to slip into personal disapproval. Having a growth mindset is crucial to happiness but often you focus on the growth others need or on the missed potential of someone else, to the exclusion of your own. Tricky not to fall into wishing others would do better, rather than taking time to find the best way to boost or inspire. Christ saw this and so told the parable of the guy with the log in his eye.


  2. Criticism is indeed a tricky affair. On a most elementary level it denotes involvement at least. I agree with the context regarding the “playground”. being left behind is far worse than getting involved and eventually being criticized.

    Good post as per usual!


  3. Chiming in late here, but yes – when ‘criticized’ with unconditional positive regard, yes – I have known I was loved. I felt the comments came out of care and concern, and I was being encouraged to do better. There are other times when I have been criticized by a loved one and I have NOT felt loved. The difference was that I felt brutalized by their truthfulness and there was a distinct lack of kindness.

    Just my two cents – tone is very important and it cannot be done in anger.


  4. Pingback: Listen To The Intention In What People Say « A Friend to Yourself

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