Child abuse had left me unable to deal correctly with criticism and distorted my vision of who I was. I was constantly being hurt because I took everything to heart. I was the blame for everything, I was not good enough, so it must be right. That was just not true. Also, Child abuse is not the only cause for misunderstanding criticism.
One of the reasons that the effects of child abuse are so devastating is because it is all about us. Everything that is said we take personally. I discovered that it was not their words but my own thought about their words that made them offensive.
I used to get my feelings hurt and find myself feeling offended a lot when it was not necessary. Even our children misunderstand our intent as parents, and then get offended, annoyed or get their feelings hurt unnecessarily. It seems to be a vicious cycle. But it can be stopped, or at least be significantly decreased. It is one thing to feel hurt by our own faults: but we should not feel offended by the faults of others.
Many times, in the past I took offense at another’s criticism because I didn’t understand then that it was my own self-will that made it hurt. Here is a quote, from Miscellaneous Writings 1882-1896 by Mary Baker Eddy, page 224:11.
“We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, — determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is, unless the offense be against God.”
That quote made me take a long hard look at why I reacted to others criticism the way I did. Other people’s comments are based on their past, and we react based on our past, and never the twain shall meet. That is why it is so important to think before you respond to criticism. They have never walked in our shoes nor we in theirs, so let the criticism go, it is more about them than it is about you.
You can tell the difference between criticism based on opinion and useful/constructive criticism. Constructive criticism does not hurt, it makes you think, it is helpful. I get constructive criticism on all my blogs before I post them, and I am grateful for it. My friend who edits my blogs tells me where I have not been clear enough or left you hanging somewhere. These are important issues. I then go home and rewrite those areas to make them clear and make things flow.
I don’t watch the news on TV or read the papers much because it is full of hurtful criticism. I read the Christian Science Monitor because it doesn’t criticize or voice opinions, it simply states the facts. We need to know what is going on in the world, but I don’t want someone else’s opinions, I will form my own, thank you. 😊
The reverse of all this is also true. Think twice before you criticize someone else. Make sure it is not your opinion but constructive. Everyone has an opinion, but what we need are the facts. Making good choices or decisions based on opinions can be difficult and disastrous.
I hope something I have said here will help you avoid the hurt caused by the comments of others. Life is too short, I wasted almost 30 years of my adult life fighting the effects of child abuse. I hope one of my blogs will set you on the road to recovery long before you wasted all those years. If you have already struggled with it for all those years, it’s not too late to change your life. I made it and so can you, no matter how old you are.
Always remember that any criticism directed at you is about the person sending it, it is not about you. Go out in this world and be happy. You deserve it.