I’ve been pondering again ! Maybe I should have named this blog “Pondering Moments” . 🙂
Part of me avoids criticism like the plague. I mean, who really wants it, right !? No one gets up in the morning and says, “I hope somebody stops by and gives me a bucket load of criticism today!”
I’ll be honest, when I first started this whole blog-writing-thing, I watched in eager anticipation for that first “comment” or “Like” or “share” but when the thought crossed my mind that someone might actually post a critical remark, I nearly went into a panic attack and considered disabling the “comment” / “like” / “share” option and removing all personal information that might in any way link ME to this post ! It’s safer that way, you know. Without any personal attachment I could freely write about all sorts of controversial issues like wine and dancing and, heaven forbid …card playing (you’d have to know my background to appreciate those last remarks) — and never worry what you thought about me because you wouldn’t actually know it was me in the first place. That removes some of the personal hurts that can be attached to knowing you’ve either offended or ticked someone off . But I’m a big girl now — and big girls don’t cry, right?? (that was a joke, for those of you who don’t know me well !)
But then there’s the flip side of this whole pondering moment. While I would hate getting blasted for something I said or did (no one really likes that do they??), I feel equally as uncomfortable with compliments or praise these days. I mean, haven’t you ever wanted to just crawl under the chair during that awkward moment of recognition!! What do you do with yourself? Do you nod knowingly? No — that might look prideful. Do you bow your head in deep and humble acceptance? Weird too ! Do you laugh it off and act like it was nothing? Inappropriate laughter. While it’s so nice to be valued and appreciated, it also is incredibly uncomfortable to feel like you’re in the spotlight.
And here’s the other side of this coin (wait ! coins only have two sides and I’m now turning these thoughts into a whole roll of coins !) In the short time I’ve lived on planet earth , it’s a bloomin’ mystery to me how you can be given a huge compliment one day only to receive a sharp criticism the next day … from the same person. So when I hear that compliment rolling out of someone’s mouth, I’m anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop next!
And that’s when I was reminded of a quote I had read a few years back — maybe from Beth Moore, a very well-known speaker and writer — saying, in essence, to treat criticism and compliments equally. I can’t get too bent out of shape about critical things spoken to me and I can’t get too amped up about compliments. Getting too caught up in either can paralyze me from actually stepping out and doing anything in life. “Stay even!” , as my brother, John, so often said to me during my many mood swings in college.
If I dwell on criticism too much, I can get that “woe-is-me” martyr complex or fill all my conversations with me and my problems. Side note here: it’s hard for people to be friends with you when you’re the only one in the relationship!
However, if I dwell on compliments too much, I’ll be tempted to pride and self-promoting and, ironically, filling all my conversations with me again . It’s interesting how either swing can come full circle right back around to “me-ism” if I’m not careful.
Compliments can sometimes make you swell like a giant balloon– full of yourself and a lot of hot air — while criticism can come in like daggers and pop your balloon, sending you spiraling out of control all over the place until you crash to the floor …a flattened mess!
Therefore (don’t you love that firm- resolve- of- a- word !), it seems to me that if you treat them both equally, somehow you’ll find the real truth in the mix of it all.
The truth is, I need criticism to keep me alert to things I may need to change or sharpen. (I can’t believe I just typed that last sentence.) Criticism can open up a new perspective that I never even thought of before but really need to.
Thankfully, I’ve had some very constructive criticism along the way and I’m sure I’m better for it ( but maybe you could send that to my e-mail address, eh ??) And just so you know, if you have a criticism creeping up , I don’t really respond well to ranting and raving so speak it in love …please!
However, I also need compliments in my life. Who doesn’t want to hear that “well done” every now and then. We all want to know that we’re making a difference in this wide world — or at least our little corner of it. There’s nothing wrong with healthy, sincere praise — just keep it real and try to be specific here and there.
I know this is going to sound “oh-so-spiritual” but I’m going to say it anyway…
I really want to make a big deal of Jesus Christ.
When it’s all said and done, I want people to know Him much more than they know or remember me. Without Jesus, there would be no “me” and there’s nothing good I’ve done that hasn’t been gifted down to me in the first place. Any good in me is grace — trust me!
I pray that the words I write on this page and live out in my life will be fueled by the Holy Spirit and pleasing to God …bringing the joy of Jesus into your life as well …and everything in between …grace !