‘Criticism’ is a very loaded word. When we hear it will be directed at us, most people freeze and fear the worst; but criticism can be called commentary, which it is, and that sounds a whole lot better. It can be helpful and we should not shirk from it, because it may offer an improvement for us and our circumstances. However, we should not allow criticism to overrule our journey. Our own intuition is the best guide for that. If there is the slightest element of malice, RUN! It means that person does not deserve you.
I saw on Facebook recently that someone was advocating retaliation to insults. As humans, this would be most people’s first instinct, because we’ve been raised to respond like with like. Most of us will feel that initial sting – no one likes to be insulted or to have their character besmirched. However, if we can get used to processing our responses – and as we get older, this is a lot easier! – before we dish them out, we will more often be able to pick a truth from the words, if there is one or just be able to walk on, without showing any reaction. Of course, no reaction to some would-be opponent is like a red rag to a bull. Some people need the fire of arguments as much as they need oxygen; they need to dominate to feel powerful; remember the issue is theirs, not ours!
Yet, many millions around the globe will be lowering their ‘vibes’ in responses to deliver a matching body blow – either with words or punches. That’s tragic. It’s not a case of turning the other cheek either; it’s just knowing that we always have choices. We can select the reflex action (re-action) and kick back or we can say no, my mind controls my responses, not the other way round then choose to be neutral. We keep the adrenalin and cortisol out of our blood and probably add a few hours to our heart’s existence.