something happened this morning that got me thinking about how we deal with criticism.
if i was that kind of person, i'd post the whole private conversation that was had for clarity, but i'm not. so i won't. suffice it to say that i called someone out for being childish and they did not respond like an adult.
i like to think of myself as a grown up. and i try to act like one as much as possible - unless it's raining outside in which case i want to go out barefoot and dance in it. i take criticism very well. a few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me that he was upset about something i'd said. i could have very easily twisted the whole thing to the point of making my behavior his fault. but that would have been childish, so instead, i owned the mistake and apologized. i said "i didn't realize you thought of it that way. i should have thought it through before i said anything. i'm sorry." and tried to move on.
today i called someone out for being petty and childish. they were being both of those things. the whole thing reminded me of a rebellious child that will go out of their way to do something specifically because it annoys another person. their response was to say that i am a mean person who only sees the worst in people and made them feel like shit. and in a longer private conversation, it was pointed out that they used to look up to me but sure as hell don't now. ( side note: i do not like to think that anyone looks up to me. i put on a lovely face to the general public, but i am aware of the severity of my many flaws and feel some serious shame at the thought that anyone thinks i'm at all fantastic enough to warrant any kind of real admiration. ) that response to the minor criticism i had made felt like an attack made on me in an attempt to save some face. "you pointed out something about me that i don't want to admit, so now i'll just tell everyone you're an awful person. that'll teach you!" fine. whatever. i'm not at all concerned about this particular person. my concern is much bigger.
i am concerned about our behaviors as humans being stuck in a constant whirlpool of the finger pointing blame-game. "i fucked up but it's not my fault because what i did was just a reaction to what you did. you made me do it!" or "i am perfect. i do no wrong. and you trying to say that i am not what i think i am just means that you're a mean person and trying to make me feel bad for no reason." neither of these attitudes allow for any kind of personal growth.
my dear friend dylan brody has a wonderful story he tells in which his martial arts teacher, Master Lim, says to him "If it never hurts, you never learn a different way." it's the same with criticism. if we refuse to see our own flaws, we never learn a different way. and we never grow as humans. we never get any better than we are right now. this is the true sadness of this kind of mind set.
November, 06 2010 under self