BY: T. Franklin Murphy | June 2018
Working Through the Discomfort of Advice
Critical feedback devastates the sensitive ego, but narrowing wisdom to our own experience makes us stupid.
Receiving critical feedback is not easy. The ego intrudes, and criticism feels like rejection. Yet criticism can be constructive, even when poorly presented, leading to self-discovery. If we perceive messages as ignorant and malicious, we miss the hidden wisdom from observations at a different angle; many insights are only available through human interaction. Some messages hurt, challenging beliefs, behaviors or dreams. By instinctively disregarding all messages because they ignite defensiveness, we miss many opportunities for wisdom.
Not all criticism is valuable. There are false messages with malicious intent. Some insults are born from jealousies and bitterness. Other messages flow from those without helpful experiences, commenting without understanding. These messages give more insight into their character than the object they are commenting on.
Because faulty messages are possible—and abundant, it’s easy to disregard valuable messages with rich insights. Wisdom gets lost in the sludge of protective egos. Our naturally competitive states get involved, or insecurities rise to the intrusions of wisdom suffers. We easily justify our arrogance, fears, and protections on flawed advice and a rude delivery.
If we want wisdom, we must take time to listen, asking questions to better understand messages being conveyed, guarding against the protective recoiling of our ego. Once the air is cleared of the normal interference, we can mindfully evaluate the message for value. Our humble approach opens the door for a listening heart, we gain wisdom and we create an atmosphere where ideas, knowledge and experience are welcome. All parties the giver and receiver are blessed.
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