(OMTmes | Karen Ulvestad) Critical comments by others are impossible to avoid. How we deal with them, however, is entirely up to us.
Keys to processing critical comments
Words carry power and affect our day-to-day life. The challenge lies in acknowledging the words without internalizing them. Often, harsh and critical comments and words are behavior related as observed by another person. It’s our job to know the difference and grow from the experience.
It’s easy to internalize critical comments made by other people and think it’s about our personality. There is a difference between behavior and the self. The self is our true essence. All the lessons from the behavior we have experienced in our lives, and other people’s issues we hang onto.
The truth is that it is a challenge to recognize the difference between a behavior related issue or “self” issues when we don’t know any difference between the two. The more self-aware we become, the easier this is to see in an interaction with another person.
Several steps can be used to differentiate between behavior issues and self.
Key 1 – knowing self
Knowing one’s self is the best way to change the effects of critical or harsh words. It’s the process of knowing our true essence is not what other people see. They see us through their filters and biases. The words are a reflection of what they feel about themselves, not us.
When we know our self, we tap into the Universal Life force energies and know that we are part of everything. Our view changes, hence we change our “reaction” to the words of others. We see others as their entities, it becomes easier to look at their words, and we internalize less of the negativity.
Key 2 – Personal boundaries
A personal boundary knows where one ends, and another begins. It is easy in theory, but many find it difficult to differentiate between themselves and others. This step is part of knowing one’s self.
The deeper we understand ourselves, the easier it is to disconnect from the words and opinions of others. It is their opinion and viewpoint. It only reflects who they are, and the level of their self is knowing. It is a life-long lesson.
key 3 – Disconnecting from the words
It can be difficult to disconnect from harsh or critical words, especially if someone close to we speaks them. The words may feel like they cut, no matter how well we know ourselves or honor our boundaries. One useful technique is to create a personal mantra that disconnects the words from a personal level and makes the comments “just” words. This mantra can be repeated in mind as many times as necessary to disconnect the emotional reaction to the words.
Key 4 – Does it ring true?
If the words cause a reaction, it is possible the other individual “pushed” a button on an unhealed wound. It is advisable to look at the words and see if they “ring” true. Does the speaker make a valid point? Is it something that is an issue?
Key 5 – Emotions involved
The most difficult part of this process is the emotions evoked by the comments. We are emotional beings, and it is natural to react to painful events. Words can be very painful to hear and feel like they cut the heart.
The bigger the emotional reaction indicates the power of the words or the individual delivering the comments. Often, these are unresolved issues within us or our relationship with the other person. It is important to remember that we can only change ourselves. Hence we can change our reaction to the words.
Each of us is at different stages in our evolution to become enlightened beings. It is a strong person who walks away from the situation. It takes wisdom to know when to know when to stay or walk away. It takes courage to confront a conflict of ideas in a peaceful and introspective way.
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