Thursday, October 20, 2016

How To Process Criticism...

I knew when God called me to start a blog and sharing my writings that I would be faced with critics. I did not let that stop me. What was most important to me was to obey. I prayed that God would always guide my thoughts and give me the ability to express and share things that would only help and never hurt. I also pray continually that my writings always showcases Him and that He is always in the middle of all I write.

I am so proud to be able to share that to-date my blogs have never once received a bad review, criticism, etc.... (knock on wood). 

I started my blog in 2010. Fast forward four (4) years to the date when I started exposing myself more openly and sharing on 'social media.'  I expected that to change but prayed it wouldn't. However, I was a realist and knew that when I started openly sharing on social media that I would encounter critics and criticism. Especially considering my religious beliefs and the fact that I'm not ashamed of who I am; actually, I've grown to really love the person I've become. 

I am usually pretty reserved in my posts, for the most part, and only stick to sharing the truths. I rarely post or share my political opinions, because honestly I believe that a higher power has the ultimate say in what will happen anyway (there again -- my opinion), so I stick to sharing with my closest family and friends my political beliefs and do most of my venting to the good Lord. It's just cleaner that way! (big smile) 

For those that really know me, and follow my blog, know that 99% of my posts are a direct reflection of my own life experiences, which is what makes my audience and followers love reading my writings. I am real! I am transparent! I believe that pretty words aren't always true...and true words aren't always pretty, but when the truth is spoken, it is always beautiful! 

There will always be that 1% that will test and criticize your opinions. It's reality! And that's okay (at least in my opinion it is). 

I had one of my first "encounters" on Facebook this week and guess what... it was over a political post of something I thought was creative and funny, but it did receive some negative feedback. Which is okay! 

However, because of the volume of interest it received, I thought what better opportunity than to use it for good and turn it into a positive, educational, and learning opportunity and lessons learned post.  

So with that, I thought I would share a few tips with you: 

1.) Learn the difference between destructive and constructive criticism. This is the first step to being able to deal with criticism. 

2.) If you are not confident in who you are, fix that first, before you go spouting your opinions. This will also help you not be so sensitive when faced with criticism. It will also allow you the confidence to debate (if you chose) your opinion.

3.) You must be willing to self-reflect and openly accept criticism, regardless of whether it is personal or professional. If the criticism is constructive, then it's intended to guide you and help you improve as a person, not bring you down and feel inadequate. (Refer back to #1, learn the difference and don't waste your precious energy on destructive criticism.)

4.) If you post it, share it, like it, comment on it, on social media - don't be offended when someone comments their opinions - even if it can be hurtful. After-all, your sharing your opinions first, or second, extend courtesy to others as you want extended to yourself. Unless you're backing something with factual data then it's an opinion. Don't be surprised when some will even argue the facts. 

5.) Remember, not everyone will get your sense of humor! It's okay! Laugh at your own jokes and get over it! Don't take it personally. 

6.) Read every comment (criticism) with an open mind and truly be willing to have a learning attitude towards it. Who knows, you just may learn something! And, God-forbid, but you just could be wrong. (Surprise! I know that will be a big hurdle for some of you to admit and overcome.)

7.) Respect everyone's opinions. We all have them. We all want our voices to be heard or we wouldn't share. Period. When we lose respect for others it feeds into the craziness of the world we live in today. Which, in my opinion, that is a lot of what's wrong with society nowadays.  

8.) When you're reading someone else's comments/post, don't be judgmental. Keep an open mind. If you are offended, you have a choice. You scroll past it, or not. You either post your comment/opinion, or not.  And, if you're really that offended then you probably should not be connected with that individual anyway. There is an "unfriend" or "delete" button. But, I caution you, use it wisely. 

9.) Remember, you never know what others are battling. Some people use social media as an outlet to vent, some use it to hide behind, while others use it to share inspiration and good-will. Regardless, it's all open for public criticism. 

10.) Lastly, thank the person who gave you the honest and constructive criticism. This is also a sign of maturity. Even if it's hurtful, suck it up and say "thank you," even if you have to do it through gritted teeth. 

So, the next time you receive criticism I hope you will refer back to these tips and embrace them. It's kind of like what Kelly Clarkson said: "Whatever (criticism) doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Some of you are probably wondering what in the world did I share to generate backlash, so I've included a snippet below. What I found to be so ironic is that I shared, what I considered to be a much more controversial post (with a video) that received very minimal conversation (Ties into #5 and #9 above.)

Remember, as I've written before, if you take nothing else away from my blog - I pray you will never forget that you are "wonderfully and fearfully made" (Psalms 139:14). Never forget you are the son or daughter of the almighty King of Kings and that you do not have to "BE" what the world expects you to be, but you do have to be what makes you happy! Do something kind today. Be nice to others and respect those you interact with. Strive to make a difference in others lives, but more importantly make a difference in your own life. Life is messy...thank God for Bounty Paper Towels, Grace and Mercy!

Today is a new beginning, a second chance! The world is waiting for the AWESOME side of you to show up and be Amazing! Go! Enjoy this beautiful day the Lord has graced you with!


"...the battle is the Lord's" (I Samuel 17:47)