Something that I have been struggling with lately is how to balance between surrounding myself with “yes” people and surrounding myself with negs people.
One line of thought is- “strong people are able to take negative feedback and criticism about themselves and their ideas. Weak people collapse under criticism and never grow.”
Another line of thought is- “don’t waste your time with people who tear you down. You will be stronger if you surround yourself with people who are for you– who support and encourage you.”
There’s a ring of truth to both of those lines of thought, is there not? Which of these contradictory truths should we follow?
Well buckle up and steel yourself for this mind-poofing revelation: these two ideas aren’t contradictory, they are paradoxical.
Yep, they’re both true… At the same time! Oh snapz!
The key distinction that finally made it all fall into place for me is to recognize the difference between people who are criticizing you because they’re jealous, spiteful, or petty, versus people who are criticizing you BECAUSE they want the best for you.
So how to tell the difference? I’m still trying to hammer this down myself, but one thing that I have found helpful is to determine if your critics also take the time to praise you for what is praiseworthy. I have come to be fairly dismissive of people’s criticism when any and all feedback I get from them is negative. In contrast, I put a lot of stock into the criticism of people who actively go out of their way to be kind and encouraging when it is merited.
To the critiqued: I encourage you to think very carefully about your critics. If there’s evidence that they seem to be criticizing you in a way that is going to build you up over the long run, hold them close and never let them go. If they seem to gloat over your failures and there’s an edge of disdain to their criticisms, kick ’em to the curb!
To the critiquer: If you are someone who often sighs and shakes their head when people don’t follow your brilliant advice, you may want to think about how you are delivering that advice. Perhaps people are ignoring you because you have not taken the time to put any relational context to your wisdom. I’m not suggesting you say insincere niceties, but I genuinely encourage you to find and praise any and all positive attributes of your friends and family… especially if you are prone to lectures. Even if you know that you are critiquing out of a loving concern for their betterment, they are not likely to receive your identification of their weaknesses if you never take the time to praise their strengths.
Okay! I want you all to know that I think you’re all really great for reading my blog, and this advice is truly for your flourishing 😉