I remember when I was finishing my degree work and asked my older brother to give it a review, based on his extensive experience in writing and reading. Speaking on the phone with him, he gently suggested to me that I needed major revisions, to eliminate confusion in some parts of the text. Upon receiving your corrections, I saw that they were excellent and that it was a good idea to have asked for your help, however it was not easy for me to accept them, because I thought, from my point of view, that everything was correct just as I had written.
Most of the time, receiving constructive criticism can be frustrating and uncomfortable, because we think that what we did was right. Also, it is in human nature to refuse to be singled out for some error. In my case, I felt somewhat annoyed because I mean:
- That I had more work to do
- That I had been wrong judging my own writing (I had more errors than expected)
What to do then?
The word of God, wise and just, gives us powerful promises of how to strengthen ourselves in the Lord, persevere in our faith and through these promises find the way out of all the frustration and demotivation that criticism can bring us, in order to convert those feelings as well. in new ways to grow as people.
Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never be hungry; and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Frustration and demotivation are signs of a hungry heart. They show that we seek something beyond Christ to meet the needs of our spirit. In my case, I was prioritizing the progress of my work and the joy of feeling like a great writer.
However, the Lord promises that before a hungry heart, returning to Him, we will find that heart satiated and satisfied. Faced with constructive criticism, I am already aware that in Christ I can see them as a way of growing in knowledge and character.
1 Corinthians 4:7
Because who distinguishes you? Or what do you have that you have not received? And if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
One of the reasons that constructive criticism makes us uncomfortable is because it means acknowledging a mistake. And many times we find it difficult to recognize a mistake because of our pride. In this promise the Lord gives us a powerful antidote to pride: to recognize that all our abilities are bestowed through Him and that He alone works for their development, improvement and growth.
Constructive criticism is a step in that growth.
1 Corinthians 12:21
Neither the eye can say to the hand: I do not need you, nor the head to toe: I have no need of you.
In my pride in acknowledging that I am self-sufficient, I may wrongly believe that I don’t need anyone else. As I overcome the frustration of the moment, I again realize that as this promise dictates, we are one in the body of Christ.
We all need everyone and in that sense the Lord uses each one of us so that in collaboration and fraternal communion with others, we can bear our burdens and grow in faith.
Those Reviews were a Gift.
Looking back at the corrections my brother made to my work, I see such constructive criticism as a great gift:
- They revealed my pride and I was able to face it.
- I returned to the Lord, to find my satisfaction in Him.
- I remembered how the Lord places each of us at the service of the other.
- My work was in the end improved, corrected and much cleaner.
Faced with constructive criticism, pray to the Lord, that you find in his promises, how these criticisms are one of the infinite ways in which his loving hand gives us beautiful gifts for our growth and our good.