Be thick skinned they say! Take it on the chin they say! Oh the best one is “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!” That is so far from the truth. Like it or not people have opinions and they will most likely share them with you. There is quite a large stigma about being sensitive. We are taught as children that we should be open to criticism. We are then taught that we must always be willing to take on board constructive criticism. I recently learnt something about compliments and criticism and I am going to share it.
Compliments are flattering but extremely dangerous. The reason why they are dangerous is because it becomes very easy to find our self-worth in these compliments. What do you do when the compliments stop? How do you feel when the compliments stop? The only person that we should try to please is God. When we understand that without God we are nothing, we will realise that the glory belongs to God and not us. When we receive a compliment or even when we don’t it will no longer make or break us. God has already validated our existence so we really do not need to look to man to do it for us.
Now criticism, should be dealt with in the same way. There will be people who you meet who will feel the need to criticise you. It is important not to get defensive. Unwarranted criticisms can be the worst. Criticisms usually say more about the person giving them than the thing that they are often criticising. Criticisms usually highlight the critics insecurities, that is why it is important to not get argumentative or defensive but to move on and remember that they do not make or break you because as the song says “Who has the final say? Jehovah has the final say!” I am not saying that you should completely ignore criticism because if you feel that there is an opportunity for you to develop from this constructive criticism, then by all means go ahead and do so, but do not do it to please the person.
Why did I insert a picture of Jenga blocks? Think of yourself as a complete stack of Jenga blocks, then think of the people around you as the players. Some will take blocks out of you cautiously and then place them on the top (compliment givers), then some will take blocks out of you by using a move that would appear reckless and then softly place the block on the top so that the stack doesn’t fall (constructive critics) and then there will be the people who take out blocks from the bottom of the stacking hoping that the stack will fall but because of the position of the other blocks, the stack stands strong (unwarranted critics). As long as you remember that God is in control of this game, nothing that these people say or do will ever break you. As long as you put on the armour of God daily you will stay standing. Just meditate on Isaiah 54:17.
I pray that you will no longer give people the power to make or break you but that you will remember that we serve a sovereign God and He is the only one with that power. In Jesus’ name,