THE FIRE THAT BRINGS OUT FINE STEEL
I love the guy who praises me, my work. I love him for the obvious reason: he praises me!
I feel good when he praises me, my work. So, he is my friend… I love him!
But, what about the guy, who criticizes me, my work?
No, I don’t feel good when he does that… So, he is not my friend… I don’t love him!
This does sound like a juvenile rationale… “Kids do such things!”… It is easy to castigate it like that.
But, freeze for a moment! We do behave like kids…
Because, it is easy to love a person when he compliments you… and, tough when he chides!
Well, once again, I said ‘we’. Yes, I have generalized. Therefore, let me correct by saying this: I, a 54-year-old teacher/parent/husband/son etc., do behave like a small kid when it comes to ‘bouquets’ and ‘brickbats’ in life!
To accept someone’s compliments does not demand my character-strength. But, to accept gracefully, and in right learning-spirit, his criticism, demands loads of my character-strength. It is pure wisdom when I learn to separate me – the person – from my work. If the criticism is about my work, it doesn’t reflect me as an unworthy human being. And, yet, that is exactly what is not happening: Every time some one says something bitter or nasty about my work, I tend to ‘take it to my heart’… internalize it and, thereby, cloud my image about that person.
His remarks are not sweet… Hence, he is not a sweet person. A simple conclusion!
Yes, there is truth packed in it. Tons and tons of it!
To me, accepting criticism
is still an unfinished lesson in life.
In spite of all my so-called
reading and learning,
writing and teaching…
I am still limping in this area.
Believe me, I feel incredibly relieved when I make this confession. It makes me feel I am a genuine human… and, I am growing-up in this area as each day passes by.
Yes, all this – the wayside wisdom as I have aptly described my daily writings – dawns upon me only when I slow down… distance myself and see. To see criticism as an opportunity to grow, and to see the guy who gives it as my real well-wisher – a partner in my growth - I need the inner trust and confidence.
It is fire that brings out fine steel… from the otherwise ugly iron!
Pics.: Lionel Saldanha