One of the worst problems in modern American society is our unwillingness to accept the opinion of others, if it makes us feel bad. While this does denote weakness of character is pervasive, another problem is hiding underneath the easy blame. Americans simply don’t understand that criticism is positive. We see criticism, competition, and idea conflicts as abuse, leaving us worse off as a species, country, culture, and family.
Conflict is not abuse
Conflict is not abuse because conflict refers to a disagreement or a clash of ideas or perspectives, while abuse refers to behavior that is intended to harm or control another person. Conflict is a normal and often healthy part of human interactions, and it can even lead to growth and positive changes. It's important to learn how to manage conflicts effectively and respectfully, by listening to others, expressing oneself clearly, and working towards a mutually beneficial solution. Abuse, on the other hand, is never acceptable, and it should always be addressed and stopped.
Competition is good for us
Competition can be beneficial because it can push individuals to work harder, be more innovative, and achieve their goals. Competition can create a sense of urgency and motivation, which can lead to better performance and results. It can also help to identify strengths and weaknesses, which can be useful in personal and professional development. However, it's important to remember that interpersonal competition should be healthy and follow the rules of nature, which is not always fair or just. This lesson alone will make everyone better adept at overcoming life’s endless hurdles.
Criticism is your Duty
Critique by people you love can be a duty and a benefit because it can provide valuable feedback and help individuals to grow and improve. When someone loves and cares for us, they want us to be the best version of ourselves, and they are often in a good position to identify areas where we could use some improvement. Constructive criticism can help individuals to gain new perspectives, learn from their mistakes, and make positive changes. However, it's important to remember that criticism should be given with love and respect, and it should never be used to tear someone down or make them feel bad about themselves. Still, it can and it’s the receiver’s responsibility to handle those feelings and not lash out.
Why & how people avoid
People avoid receiving and internalizing criticism for various reasons. Criticism can be uncomfortable and challenging to hear, especially when it is directed towards something that is important to us or something that we are proud of. Not mention when it focuses on problems we already know and haven’t put any effort into fixing. It can trigger feelings of shame, guilt, or inadequacy, which can be difficult to manage. Additionally, some people may have had negative experiences with criticism in the past, such as receiving harsh or unfair feedback, which can make them more defensive and resistant to criticism in the future.
People use different strategies to avoid receiving and internalizing criticism. One common strategy is denial, where they refuse to acknowledge the criticism or its validity. They may dismiss the criticism as unfounded, or they may blame external factors or other people for their mistakes. Another strategy is defensiveness, where they become reactive and argumentative, and they may try to justify their behavior or attack the person giving the criticism. Some people may also use avoidance, where they simply avoid situations or people that could potentially criticize them.
While these strategies may provide temporary relief from the discomfort of criticism, they can also limit growth and prevent individuals from addressing their weaknesses and making positive changes. It's important to learn how to receive and internalize criticism in a healthy and constructive way, by staying open-minded, asking for clarification or examples, and using the feedback to inform future actions.
While criticism can be valuable and necessary for personal and professional growth, it can also become toxic when it is used as a tool for control or manipulation. This is particularly true in the age of social media, where individuals can use the anonymity of the internet to engage in dogpiling, or the act of overwhelming someone with criticism or negative comments. Dogpiling can be particularly harmful because it creates a sense of groupthink and can always escalates into harassment or abuse that does not match the offense.
Similarly, some individuals may use criticism to guilt or shame others into compliance or obedience. This type of behavior is often rooted in a desire for power or control, and it can be particularly damaging when it occurs in personal relationships or in situations where the power dynamic is unequal. It's important to be mindful of these dynamics and to be cautious of individuals who use criticism as a means of elevating themselves or exerting control over others. Constructive criticism should always be given with respect and empathy, and it should be focused on helping individuals to learn and grow, rather than tearing them down.
If your care ends at calling someone trash or destroying their life’s work, maybe don’t say anything at all. You’re not helping anyone but yourself and letting your friends know you’d do the same to them given the chance.