Welcoming and choosing to learn and grow from criticism is the pinnacle of freedom.
Her words of criticism cut through my armor as easily as a knife cuts through butter. Her critical words hurled me into a shrinking machine making me feel small triggering shame. I gave those words more power than they deserved owning and wearing them like a comfortable suit.
Welcoming and choosing to learn and grow from criticism is the pinnacle of freedom. (Read that sentence again).
Criticism knocks us off balance undermining our sense of self. Habitually, we protect and shut down. Imagine, instead, saying silently to yourself “Feel Free.” Criticism quickly disempowers. Adding the mantra “Feel Free” to your spiritual toolkit can restore your balance and give back your power.
Reality is a person is free to criticize whether you welcome it or not. Chances are their criticism is more a reflection of themselves. The person you are setting free is yourself. You are freeing yourself from giving criticism power they don’t deserve. You can ask, “Is there something I can learn?” Choosing to learn and grow is powerful and a far cry from letting someone’s critical words disempower you.
A young monk was returning to the monastery after a silent retreat. Waiting for him was an older monk who always criticized and belittled him. “Out going to retreats and shirking your duties again,” the young monk was cuttingly greeted, “and in spite of all your costly retreats you look no different to me.” The younger monk paused, smiled and said, “Ah, maybe dear child of God, but you look different to me.”
Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s criticism or inability to see and affirm your worth.
To the degree we embrace the truth our identity is rooted in God’s infinite love and not in our successes, struggles or someone else’s opinion of us, to that degree we can release judgment of others and the need to judge ourselves. In this freedom we find peace.