I have not met a single person in life who takes criticism well. Have you? It’s not nice to hear how “flawed” one is, or how one should improve on certain attributes about oneself. What makes it even more unpleasant is when the person delivering the criticism has no etiquette whatsoever. Lol! You know the ones I’m talking about. But notwithstanding, we are human and imperfectly perfect species, so there is always something to improve on.
The moment we feel there’s nothing more to learn from life or anyone we interact with, that’s the moment we stop growing.
Opening ourselves up to new ideas, new things and healthy habits and behaviours is all part of sustaining happiness and life in itself.
New information – as in learning new things – always gives us a more varied perspective, allowing us to analyse situations and navigate life better, and also largely contributes to the success of our relationships. We learn a lot about ourselves from what those in our circles say about us. Relationships provide us a mirror; ever so often revealing things about ourselves that we may never have considered before.
These can be life-long habits or characteristics, and at times we are not always ready to acknowledge them as cracks in our mirror.
Introspection may dig up a demon or two, but once you face and free them, it can help us find healing, additionally rid ourselves of little insecurities that will most likely hold us back from our goals. The more genuine relationships we have, the better. Because, just like different mirrors show different reflections of us, altering perception depending on where the mirror is placed, its size, where the light source is etc., so too is it with relationships.
Different people can give us a different perception of ourselves, and people usually notice different things about you based on your interactions with them and their own information processing system.
The way I see it is people go through life and have their unique life experiences, and understand it mainly based off how they’ve experienced life, how they have reacted to situations and what they’ve learned throughout their journey.
These are things you can never ever take away from them.
Their views and ways, however, will not always make sense when related to your life, even if it makes sense or works for them.
This is why it’s important to know oneself, so even when others have an opinion, you can run it through the lens of your own life experience.
Take it in, scrutinise it, and if nothing else, recognise in it one of the many ways in which your environment views you, even when it does not align with our image of self.
Decide for you how you feel about it, and adopt whatever you feel you must do to improve as a person. With the help of loved ones constructively advising us, plus self-awareness, we are better able to enjoy ourselves, our relationships and life.
*Paula Christoph’s column concentrates on positive and inspirational write-ups every second Friday in the New Era newspaper.