An Example –
Earlier this week I was part of a conversation where someone began being critical of another person. These conversations usually go down hill quickly but instead, the one who was being critical stopped in mid-sentence and said; “I’m going to stop talking. I have a blind spot when it comes to this person. Too often all I see is the negative and that’s not fair to them.”
I admired this person’s self-awareness and self-restraint. Most people would blame the other for their bad mouthing, continue with their complaining until they couldn’t think of anything else deleterious to be said about the other.
Self-awareness is key to personal and community growth. Being cognizant of our own foibles helps us grow in our knowledge of self and gives others an example to follow.
I was talking with someone the other day and we were trying to come to grips with a few issues which needed to be addressed so this person could move forward in life. We wanted to learn from his past but not be chained to it. One of the questions I asked was; “Who, if anyone, can criticize you?” The question hung in the air. I continued; “If we aren’t capable of receiving information about areas of our lives in which we need to improve we will never grow beyond our perception of ourselves.”
Being critical of ourselves, allowing others to shed light on dark, perhaps unexplored places, of who we are isn’t easy. I’m not sure anyone enjoys receiving an insight from someone else that isn’t flattering or realizing for ourselves we have a long way to go and grow, in multiple areas of life.
Wisdom teaches us that perfection isn’t ours for the taking but progression is a possibility. To progress, however, we must be vulnerable to the perception of weakness, habit, hurt or hang-up in ourselves and possess the willingness to accept it and begin to change.
Helping Those Who Hurt –
I have a friend who did something nice for someone last week and instead of being thanked was criticized for not doing it the way the person who needed assistance wanted it done.
We live in a world that is more divided every day. People are scared and worried about the political climate, climate change, terrorism, being harmed by one of more of the countless painful and hurtful things which exist in our world.
The only way to combat the darkness of our world is with the light of kindness, grace, presence and giving. Humility, gracefully receiving another’s selfless gift, is key to our life’s candle being lit so we can, in turn, light another.
We cannot do this if we are critical of the way our needs are met. This is like blowing out a candle being offered in the darkness.