It dawned on me how difficult it can be to hear “constructive criticism”, whether it is in the work place, from a friend or a partner. How well do you respond to someone saying “well that’s not right” or “you could do it this way” or simply “start over “? even if it is embellished in the ABA sandwich approach (positive, criticism, positive).
This got me reflecting how much our defences gets in the way of actually hearing what the other person is trying to say to us. At first I thought it was the cliché of “it’s not what is said but how it is said” however I am beginning to realise this may not be true. How often do we consider ourselves to be open-minded, willing to improve, and often seek advice, yet the first person who states “well actually…” we become hot and immediately begin to defend our stand point. So often we are told be confident in our decision-making, and to stay strong in our conviction however the true challenge is to process what the individual is saying whilst not loosing your inner self. WHAT A CHALLENGE THAT IS!
We are asking our minds to conduct two processes at once. There is a danger when we are so strong with our convictions we lose the notion of personal growth and insight, however we listen to constructive criticisms and take them as gospel truths we also lose our inner self, autonomy and core beliefs in that particular situation.
So the question is does defences have a place in listening to constructive criticism? This is my personal opinion but I would say YES. The trick is to TAKE TIME. This is something that some individuals of today often find difficult to possess. How often do we react without thinking based on our defences? How often do we stop to analyse the feeling of what/why our feelings are as such? How often are we able to say “let me think about that” and then give us sometime to reflect. So I say next time you feel that hot sensation, or that feeling of not feeling good enough when being criticised try stopping, thinking, analysing before reacting and see what the outcome may be.