Monday, 13 May 2013

We must learn to discern praise and criticism

Praise and criticism are integral to our life. In order to grow and succeed in our life, we all need both appreciation and criticism in equal amounts. While appreciation is something that we eagerly look forward to, yearn for time and again and bask in its glory; criticism is something which we don't like let alone welcome it. In general, we see two different reactions and responses to praise and critique. Appreciation is welcomed, encouraged and propagated to the point of narcissism. Criticism is loathed, often discouraged and if at all accepted, it is done grudgingly.

Will such an attitude towards criticism help us in the long run? Obviously not. A person used to receiving appreciation alone and who expects to be showered with praises all the time is inviting defeat, failure and stagnation into his life. On the contrary, someone open to his/her own criticism by others is attracting positive changes, transformation, growth, strength and courage. If a person accepts criticism in the right spirit, he will end up becoming a person with a positive and bold attitude. Without a doubt, the latter succeeds and wins in life. The former is reduced to a life of weakness, ignorance, boredom and failure.

As people say, healthy criticism helps in the holistic development of a human being. However, in these days of cut-throat competition, envy, one-upmanship, criticism is seen as the best way to dent a persons's confidence and stall her progress. Be it in schools, colleges, offices, our interactions with people, we are constantly showered with scathing criticism. During such situations, the solution lies in understanding the different shades of criticism. A healthy critique of your work is something that pinpoints the faults, weaknesses and errors that you have unwittingly made without any damage to your self-image. Unhealthy criticism is the one that destroys your self-confidence, implants self-doubts and scuttles your development through literary forms of exaggerated level of satire, comedy and cynicism. The formula for success lies in accepting constructive criticism and ignoring destructive criticism.

For our own evolution, it is absolutely essential to praise and self-criticize ourselves, in reasonable amounts though. If we brag about ourselves overly, we end up becoming a boring narcissist and if we criticize ourselves unduly, we succeed in destroying our self-worth that can lead to disastrous consequences. Depression and suicide are a result of self-criticizing ourselves unreasonably.

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