Recently, an artistic colleague of mine did something quite remarkable and courageous. He had an idea, developed a plan, executed it faithfully and invited the critics. I call this remarkable because rarely do our ideas get past the idea stage, and courageous, because he invited the critics.
I salute him for that. Unfortunately the critics did not.
No, the critics were not kind. The pen was mightier than the sword that day. A sword would have been swifter and less messy.
While it is a shame the critics were so ruthless, there is a powerful lesson to be learned here. That lesson is that there is a gift within each and every insult or critique. That gift is the gift of attention upon you.
When someone critiques you or insults you, from your performance to your hair style, they have just made, in that moment, their entire world about you. You have become their focus. You have become the center of their universe.
To better understand this, I have created “The Time-line of an Insult or Critique.”
1. Somehow you got their attention. (Often unknowingly and unsolicited)
2. You then held their attention.
3. They then decide to formulate a response in their mind about you.
4. They think and rethink about you, refining their response.
5. They often share their thoughts about you with others, further refining their response.
6. They see you and determine whether to actually respond or not.
7. They respond to you.
8. They wait for your reaction.
Knowing what you know now, could you possibly react differently the next time you are insulted by someone that has just made you the center of their universe?
When I’m insulted or criticized in a nonconstructive way, I often smile and reply. “Thank you for noticing.” And do you know what? Most of the time I mean it.
Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber Life Coach
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