Real Stuff My Dad Says 48: Receiving Criticism

Dad and I are horrible golfers.  I mean terrible.  The words “stupendously dreadful” don’t come close to describing the damage we do to a golf course and a scorecard any given weekend.  Therefore, we’re taking lessons.  Each week, we place ourselves under the tutelage of our respected local golf pro.

Now, you’d think that with as high of a scorecard that we tally up each time we hit the links, it would be easy for us to adhere to the instructor’s advice.  However, often the tips he gives us that will definitely improve our game seem counter-intuitive to the way we previously have always swung our clubs.

But, as our golf instructor says, “Getting better is not always comfortable.”

Which brings us to the point of this week’s podcast:  When someone who genuinely cares for us offers constructive criticism on specific aspects of our life (golf, bowling, work, parenting, marriage, etc.), how do we receive criticism and instruction?

For instance, if someone dear to you told you that relationally you were “all thumbs” – meaning that you should slow down and think through what you’re about to say to people and how you’re about to say it because you’re a bit rough around the edges and are unintentionally hurting people – how would you react?

Some of us take criticism as insults and feel the ping of these biting words for days, months, even years beyond the conversation.  They feel picked on and are automatically defensive.

Another response is to justify your behavior.  We have the propensity to talk ourselves into anything.  The bottom line to this approach is we simply end up blowing off these potential pearls of wisdom due to our own pride.

A more appropriate response – assuming the person offering advice is actually offering helpful tips out of love – would be to recognize that these words are meant to help you and those around you (co-workers, family members, etc.)

Now this isn’t a fun “teachable moment” to endure – not for anyone.  It requires a tough, honest look in the mirror and recognize who you truly are – warts and all.

But, as Romans 3:23 says:

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Wait… what’s that?  ALL fall short?  ALL??  Even me? (yes… all of us… even you.)

So, then we need to ask ourselves, “What is it that I am doing that I don’t naturally see?’  Then we need to find a trustworthy person to come alongside us to honestly speak truth into our lives and help us become better people.

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About Jefferson Drexler

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