Skill 26. Receiving Criticism

  We men usually defend ourselves or attack the speaker when we’re criticized. A lot of times, we won’t even let the person finish the sentence before we attack. But we can change the entire interaction by flowing with criticism rather than fighting it. Like an engine air filter, we’ll take in all the air without stopping the flow and keep only the dirt particles. In this case, we’ll agree with what’s true.

Receiving criticism requires three steps—listening, paraphrasing, and agreeing.
Step 1. LISTEN to the complaint without interrupting.
Step 2. PARAPHRASE the complaint back to the speaker.
Step 3. AGREE with whatever truth there is in the complaint.

Step 1. (You remain silent and listen to his/her complaint)
(Speaker says) “You try to take over and solve my problems rather than let me vent.”
Step 2. (You paraphrase the complaint and speaker agrees)
“You’re saying that I should listen rather than solve your problem, is that it?”
Step 3. (You agree with what’s true)
“You’re right. And I’ll do more listening and less fixing in the future.”

Sometimes the criticism is unfounded or untrue. In that case, remember that you still need to listen to the entire complaint and paraphrase the criticism back to the speaker. Then you can refute their unfair or untrue complaint.

Now return to the world and be open to criticism if the occasion arises.

Skill: RECEIVE CRITICISM with an open mind and heart.

Strength and honor.