Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Unjust Criticism

After all the moralisms and platitudes have been said, it still hurts when you have been unjustly criticized or insulted by someone else. There is just no pleasing some people when they are determined to make your world miserable.

Maybe it's your neighbor, or a co-worker or even a former friend who now holds a grudge.

Depending on your level of self-esteem and your skill at dealing with adversity you may be able to stiffen your spine and walk away. Or not.

If you take the bait and fall for it then you are no longer in control. You have given control to your critic - And they are now driving your response. If you respond negatively to the behavior or comments of peers then your mood is being influenced by them - often long after they have moved on and forgotten about you.

Perhaps you even think about it late into the night! Lying there imagining all the things you could have said or all the ways in which you could have responded and, in the process, emotionally working yourself up - which further ensures you lose more sleep. Meanwhile they have forgotten about you and are sound asleep.

So how do you deal with unjust criticism?

First, If someone unfairly criticizes you and you do not rise to the bait they don't get a reward for their behavior. They need your response in order for them to get a feeling of power or satisfaction. By not responding in any way you deny them their satisfaction.

If you respond in kind, insult for insult, then you only come out on the bottom every time. You end up confirming everything the other person thought about you and you don't end up feeling too good either.

Second, remind yourself that life is not always fair. And that people have different views of what is right or wrong, what is appropriate or inappropriate. Their idea of fairness may differ considerably from your own and so it shouldn't be such a shock when unjust criticism happens.

Finally, you have to decide whose opinion really matters to you and why does it matter?

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