I struggle with criticism and corrections. I like to do things perfect the first time and get praised. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, and I have to deal with being corrected. When someone uses a harsh tone when they criticize me, I feel attacked and get defensive. I retort back that if they want to provide guidance for me, they need to watch what they say to me and how they say it.
One instance I got mad at Mr. Squiggleskins was when we left Rita’s, a custard and Italian ice’s store, for my cousin’s going away party. I drove over a curb, and he yelled at me and said, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know how to drive?” I understood why he was mad, driving over a curb damages the car, but he didn’t have to yell at me. He could have criticized me nicely rather than harshly. When we arrived at my cousin’s place, I pouted with a stone face stare. I yelled at him and said, “You’re mean! I don’t listen to harsh criticisms. “You need to watch what you say to me and how you say it!!” He sighed exasperatedly. We argued for a small while, and during that time I kept thinking, I’ll show him, I can drive. Then I can have the last laugh. I acted on the thought and decided to go back to Rita’s to show Mr. Squigglekins I can drive without hitting the curb. He gave me a golf clap after I drove back.
When I was in the Arts District in Los Angeles walking to a deli, a large dog nearly attacked me because I gandered at him. He looked like a dog I visited at a rescue, and I wanted to see if it was the same dog. His owner corrected me and said that I shouldn’t look at a dog directly because he or she perceives it as a sign of aggression. She then demonstrated that the correct way to approach a dog was to turn your back to it, and let it smell you. I felt offended. I thought she was going to get mad at her dog, but she was mad at me. Walking to the deli, I told myself that she was only protecting me and not attacking my character. I could have been bitten by her dog if she didn’t lecture me. After I calmed down, I looked at the correction as a lesson than perceiving it as an insult.
Growing older, receiving criticisms, whether it’s in a rough or gentle tone, is helpful. It makes me a better person, and teaches me from repeating the same mistakes. I have to remind myself that most corrections aren’t an attack on my character, but rather an improvement upon it.
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Lobo via Flickr