We often become emotionally disturbed during a disagreement, or an argument, or when someone criticizes us or disagrees with us. In such cases our personality usually feels hurt, demeaned and in danger.
When we feel this way, we destroy our own happiness, clarity and health and often behave in ways which we later regret.
A simple technique for gaining clarity is to:
1. Remember that concerning criticism, there are two possibilities:
a. The other person might be correct in his or her observations and criticism. In this case we would benefit by admitting it and making the proper adjustment in our behavior. We have everything to gain by listening and evolving through others’ comments.
What prevents us is the belief that we are not lovable if we are not perfect. Thus, we do not want to see or admit our faults. When we realize that we are worthy of love and respect even when we are not perfect or right, then we will be able to look at our faults.
b. The other person might be wrong. In this case, it is his or her projection, and we need not be affected by these misconceptions or projections. We have in this case the lesson of loving ourselves and also the others even when they perceive us in distorted and negative ways.
2. One solution would be simply not to react one way or the other at first, but to reflect upon what has been said for some time so as to evaluate whether or not it is true.
We can establish a space in our minds where we can store such questions about our personality structure or actions so as to observe objectively for ourselves if they are true. If they are not, then we simply continue on in the way we were.
We need not feel hurt, angry, defend ourselves, prove ourselves, or attack. When we feel inner security and self-worth, we do not need to react in these ways.
3. We can simply thank the other for this feedback and tell him or her that we will think about this observation and will gradually come to our conclusions, and if necessary, make changes.
We do not need to live our lives in accordance with others’ perceptions. We can listen to all, but follow ourselves.
A “thank you” is enough.
(Adapted from the “The Psychology of Happiness” by Robert Najemy)