In the cookbook that I bought yesterday by Joanna she has comments at the beginning that I found very interesting. She describes that when she first married Chip, she decided to cook one of her favorite meals that her mother had made which was ground beef cooked with spaghetti sauce and then poured over spaghetti. I personally also like this dish. She set the table with wineglasses with water to make it a special dining experience.
Chip took 2 bites and did not say anything. When she asked what he thought about the spaghetti he answered with "Well, it doesn't taste like my mom's spaghetti".
Joanna understandably was upset and she and Chip learned a lesson on how personal food is as related to our past experiences. I can relate to this story on a lot of levels Chip did not appreciate the food and Joanna took his comment as criticism.
Criticisms are difficult to deal with. We all have been criticized and been hurt by criticisms. I remember one time when I lived in Ft. Smith, Arkansas and dropped something underneath my desk. I went under the desk and 2 congregants came into the office and began talking totally unaware that I was under the desk. I thought about getting up and saying hello but then realized that they were talking about me. I honestly don't remember much about the conversation so it must not have been too bad but I do remember that I stayed under that desk for about 15 minutes until they left. I was embarrassed to come out and have them know that I had heard their conversation.
At different times surveys have been done at the church where I am a minister on how to improve the church. Invariably I have to steel myself because I know there will be criticisms about me and I have to not let myself take things personally which is very very difficult because they are directly about me.
We can look at criticisms and see if there is any merit to what people are saying. If there is, then we need to be honest enough to see if we can improve. If there is no merit, then we can let go of the criticism and continue to do the best we can.
It does not help to go into deep depression or anger. None of these actions do any good for you or anyone else. After I get over the hurtful part, I look at myself to see what the next step is for me. Most often I allow time for me to heal from the criticism and then see if I can improve or just let the criticism go. It is not easy as most of you know. I like to go into deep reflection, prayer and meditation which opens up insights for me.
I love the verse in the Bible where Jesus says about the people who hung him on the cross, "Forgive them for they know not what they do".