The Word: How well do you handle criticism?

Published 1:34 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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Rev. J. Cameron Bailey“Your hardest critic is always going to be yourself. Don’t ignore that critic but don’t give it more attention than it deserves.” – Michael Ian Black

I am the type of person who takes everything personal. If someone says “hey, we need to talk” I immediately begin trying to figure out what I may have said or done or not said or not done to upset them. 99% of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with me but still…I take it all personally.

Even when a blanket comment is made to try and pass along needed information, I am the one who thinks the announcement or critique was aimed at me. Y’all… this stinks! It eats at me and drives me crazy.

Do you know who I think our hardest critic just might be? Ourself. I think we are harder on ourselves than others are. Now, yeah, I am fully aware that there are exceptions to this rule. I am also fully aware that we all know that person who ain’t ever happy, will always complain, you haven’t done enough for them, etc., etc. If you don’t know that person…well…you might be that person (haha).

Kirby Puckett was a phenomenal baseball player. Critics always said he was too short to play in Major League Baseball. Here’s what Kirby had to say about this: “I was told I would never make it because I’m too short.

Well, I’m still too short, but I’ve got 10 All-Star games, two World Series championships, and I’m a very happy and contented guy. It doesn’t matter what your height is, it’s what’s in your heart.” Puckett could have easily listened to his critics. He could have easily given up. He didn’t though. He listened to his heart. In his heart, he believed in himself and pushed himself to keep going and do more. How about you? How is your heart?

Are you able to criticize yourself and grow…or are you, like me, constantly wondering if you could have done more, gave more, served more, helped in any way? You see, while we need not ignore those critics of ourself or even some of them from others, we need to believe in ourselves with a realistic expectation and keep going. Realistically we can’t do everything. Realistically we can’t make everyone happy. Realistically the jobs will get done even if we ain’t the ones doing them. Realistically we all may can help a little more in some things or in some ways to help lighten the load of others. Everyone’s a critic. Just make sure you aren’t overdoing it in the criticism. Be the best you.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at