Constructive Criticism versus Destructive Criticism

Ever felt like the person you thought would understand doesn’t? Ever felt like your ideas, actions or opinions meant nothing compared to another’s own? Ever felt like what you said just isn’t right according to your listener? Ever felt like you were in the line-up to be shot down on every account?

I think we all have had an experience similar to this with a significant other or even a good friend. Relationships are based on communication and this type of communication is harsh and destructive. There is big difference between constructive and destructive comments and criticism. And the key is the intent.

If you love someone – unconditionally – then you will act with kindness and patience no matter what it takes. Constructive criticism is a tool used to grow and become stronger as a person. Take this advice and run with it. Don’t become prideful and ignore it, thinking that you don’t need it. Hello! This just proves that you do need it! Give constructive criticism with gentleness and make sure that your listener understands your intent.

Destructive criticism does not come from kindness or love, but it might be rooted in jealousy or just plain ole’ meanness. It hurts to be on the sharp end of it. How should you react to it? I personally have not figured that out yet. I tend to lash back or just ignore it. I would think the best way to react would be to ignore it. If the comments are cruel and unnecessary, then why should you pay attention to it?

But what if the same type of the destructive criticism keeps occurring? Then there is problem with a deeper root. You just can’t ignore it. My advice would be to carefully pick the time and location of that sensitive conversation. Try to figure out why that person is touchy about this particular subject. Odds are the issue is not you personally, but the fact that you represent a subject that this person cannot face or acknowledge without turning hurtful.

Tell me about your thoughts on this. It is a deep topic that deserves to be discussed. Share your opinions with me. I am curious to hear your thoughts. 

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2 thoughts on “Constructive Criticism versus Destructive Criticism

  1. Destructive criticism and all harmful communication comes from a source of pride. If a person is insecure or unwilling to learn how to “be there” for another person, it’s still rooted in pride.

    If this is from an acquaintance or a friend, boundaries are more easily set. I may mean distancing myself from them.

    When this is from family or other persons of authority, it is even more damaging and weighty. Boundaries and open communication is still necessary, but harder to put in place. The fall out is heavier.

    Years and years ago, I came across a book by Jan Silvious, Fool-Proofing Your Life–Defining the Fools in Your Life. I’ve had it for more than 20 years and it still rings true for me.

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