Some of the hardest times for us are those times when someone sits in judgment of our work. Whether it is from a teacher, a mother-in-law, a boss, or whoever, it is hard for us to listen to criticism. It seems that no matter what we tell ourselves, these people are sitting in judgment of us as people.
You know what I mean. Somehow a negative comment about a presentation becomes, in our hearts, a negative comment about the person. When someone criticizes a messy house, the homemaker feels it as a personal wound. When the boss says the job could have been done better, the employee believes that his job is in danger. If he loses the job, he will be a failure as a husband and father and man. You can come up with your own illustrations, I am sure.
But why do we do that? Why do we assign negative comments about our work to ourselves as people? Why don’t we just shrug our shoulders and try to do better next time? Probably because we were trained to think that our work is who we are. When we made our beds, we were good children. When we spilled our milk, we were told that we were careless. We learned that “stupid is as stupid does.”
We learned the opposite also. We learned that good little boys and girls do what they are told. They clean themselves and their surroundings. They do their chores and keep their promises and know when to be quiet. Orderly children are good children.
So, when we hear judgment or criticism, we receive it into our hearts. Most of us are not able to simply take it and use it to better our actions. We have to go through the process of talking ourselves out of feeling rejected and worthless. Poor quality work makes us poor quality people, we think. Failure makes us failures, we think.
But that’s a lie!
This week we are going to look at the idea of failure and judgment and identity. Check back tomorrow!