Sunday, 27 July 2014

Don't Take Critcism Too Personally Part 2

In my first blog, I wrote about how criticism effected me growing up and as an adult. I must have inadvertently given my son the same treatment, the critical, negative comments, because now he is doing it back to me! It has made me more aware of my own habit of criticizing without much thought about how it effects the other person.

In the latest chapter of my life, I am looking after my elderly parents. When I lived in Germany, I got to know my maternal grandmother better. That relationship made me realize where my mother got the critical personality from. Just recently, I asked my mother about it when she delivered another one of her zingers to me. I forget what it was about because it is an ongoing thing. My mother is 90, I love her, and I never would want to disrespect her. She answered that she meant no harm by the comment, that it was just an observation and that in her home growing up, everyone did it. I mentioned to her that she had complained to me about some of the hurtful things that her mother had said to her as a child. Because my mother has dementia, she remembers some things better than ever, others not at all. Now she speaks of her mother as if she had been a saint.

The main point I was trying to make is that you can't change other people. They sometimes even get worse with age. You have no control what comes out of their mouths. I am speaking about adults here. It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children to treat others with respect. What we can do is to consider the source, recognize that people are just having a bad day and that they are going to be negative with everyone. Don't let someone that is not happy with their life bring you down. When students attempted to do that to me as a teacher, once I got to the point of not taking it personally, I would smile and ask them if they were having a bad day. 99% of the time that was the case.

There are people out there that purposely try to hurt you. That was the evident in my first marriage. My advice, get out! Don't put up with abuse from anyone.

Ultimately, you are only responsible for your own actions and behavior. You can't rescue someone who has had an abusive childhood. You can't make someone else happy and you shouldn't stay in a relationship because you feel sorry for that person. The choice of taking criticism personally, is yours!