I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:
Sometimes it can be hard to hear criticism from others. I know for me it’s something I may always struggle with- being a people pleaser, etc. At the same time though, constructive criticism can be very helpful, and allow us to look at ourselves in a new light and maybe even grow and change. Take a step out of yourself. If you were on the outside looking in, how would you critique yourself? What things do you see that could change or work on? This isn’t about tearing ourselves down; it’s about really looking at ourselves and seeing where there’s room for growth.
Criticism is never easy to hear, and I think that’s because while criticism involves analyzing and advising (which doesn’t sound so bad), it also often means judging something, and often in a negative way – picking out what is wrong and not necessarily giving much attention to what is good. The word just sounds harsh and icky. So,while constructive criticism can be very helpful and useful (best when delivered in a kind and caring way), it’s still not always easy to hear because you are still being judged no matter how you look at it. Maybe constructive criticism should just be called something else…
As an introvert, I like to think that I know myself fairly well and I know there are plenty of areas for growth in my life or just things in general that I would like to change about myself be it physical or mental. Since no one else should have any criticism to give on my physical self (because it’s none of your concern, thank you very much), I probably shouldn’t mention anything either. While I’m a healthy weight, I would like to get more toned as I’ve mentioned before. I’m slowly finding time daily to do exercise here and there, but haven’t yet found the motivation I need to really make some big changes. Part of the problem is that there isn’t really time before dinner to work out and I don’t want to work out too soon after eating, so by the time the kids are down and the house is somewhat tidied, it’s already 8:00 and the last thing I want to do is get into workout clothes and hop on the elliptical or otherwise. So, something I need to figure out.
As for the things that are probably more important… one thing I would like to work on is my patience (or lack thereof). I know I have very little patience and can get snippy and frustrated pretty quickly either when it comes to driving or when dealing with just about anything. This obviously doesn’t work well when you have a toddler who also has little to no patience because you both reach a breaking point very quickly. I’m making progress every day in terms of keeping calm and not keeping my frustration under control, but some mornings can be difficult and my tone comes very close to yelling. I focus on the small victories, though, and each day that I go without losing it or find a new way to dispel a tantrum is worth a small celebration. Like this morning – Enzo didn’t want to go to day care with me, so I had to pull him out of his dad’s arms and try and wrangle a screaming, writhing toddler into a car seat. It’s not an easy task and can be incredibly frustrating, but I managed to get him in the seat after some struggling without raising my voice and though I felt a little flustered, I wasn’t nearly as frustrated/angry as I would have been a few months ago.
Another thing I’d like to work on is self-confidence, something I tend to lack, and can often be quite noticeable. My chest, and sometimes my face turn a lovely shade of red when I’m put on the spot or feel embarrassed due to lack of confidence in social situations. It’s a wonder I didn’t break out in hives on our wedding day, to be honest. Sure, I can sometimes fake it, but generally not very well, and it often requires a bit of liquid courage. I’d love to get to that point where I just feel completely comfortable with who I am and can walk into a room and not feel awkward… granted, I’m an introvert so I don’t want to be the life of the party by any means, just slightly more at ease. Maybe I just want to learn how to fake being an extrovert, though, as soon as I typed that it just sounded draining. Ha ha.
I love what you said about celebrating the small victories in the quest for patience! I want to be able to take a second and be excited for my own growth. One thing that I have been doing differently is that when my husband gets home and asks how my day was I tell him about those victories instead of all the things that tried my patience. Like, “I was super calm getting the kids ready for school!” instead of “those darn kids would not get their bums in gear this morning!” You know?
I love reading your take on these things, thanks for sharing.
I really like what you pointed out – focusing on the actual victory rather than focusing on the fact that the kids may not have been the most cooperative that morning. We may not be able to change a situation, but we can change how we react to it, and when I keep my cool, I’ve noticed my son’s tantrums are also not as long-lived.