Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I was recently talking to the Husband about the topic of criticism; particularly criticism of our parenting and our daughter. Lucky him, he doesn’t hear too much and far less often, does someone openly criticize our nearly-two-year-old daughter in front of him. I, however, am corrected on my parenting on, what feels like, a near daily basis. Frequently, the criticism that I receive from one individual will contradict criticism that they gave me in the past but I can’t bring light to this point because then the conversation degenerates into some bizarre, pointless argument.
It is exhausting.
I am a strong person; someone who is not easily embarrassed, very comfortable in my own skin and generally, very happy but being criticized on my parenting skills or anyone making critical comments about my daughter (almost always are these comments more about me than her), it burns me out and it hurts. It always feels like a personal attack.
Then I grew up.
I had an epiphany: when I had an office job, I received criticism. Both constructive and destructive. On more than one occasion, I had a superior lose their temper and bellow at me in front of coworkers. IT NEVER BOTHERED ME. It never hurt. What was the difference? I could easily filter out the destructive, dismiss it and then absorb the constructive remarks. Basically, take advantage from a third party view of where I can grow.
And this is when the epiphany was implemented. I wasn’t able to see past the critical comments. In light of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, I was making the mistake that whenever someone contradicted what I said or did in regards to my parenting, I felt that I was being persecuted. Simply put, I was being immature and overly sensitive and I needed to accept that I am not a perfect parent and that I can take advantage from these corrections.
I have come to the conclusion that how a person criticizes is on them. When criticism is delivered with a sharp tongue or unnecessary harsh words, I don’t need to absorb that; I have the freedom to ignore. If it is tactfully said, I can appreciate it. Most importantly, its the message behind the criticism that I need to focus on.
Ignore the invalid attacks and remember that well-meaning criticism can make me a better person.