The Gift of Candid Criticism

  • Something some people find strange about me is how much I love receiving criticism. As someone who is constantly trying to improve himself, candid criticism provides me with greater self-awareness that can result in actionable changes. My lack of pride and my open mind helps me excise the painful element of the criticism I receive and solely see it as a helpful tip to consider.
  • However, one thing I (along with most people) struggle with is providing others with candid criticism. In my opinion, giving criticism is a lot harder than receiving it. It’s really easy and nice to just compliment people and tell them what we think they want to hear. We do this because it makes people like us and it helps us avoid confrontation. Because of this tendency, I rarely offer unsolicited criticism and even struggle to give it when it is asked of me. I don’t want to offend people and for them to dislike me as a result. It’s hard to know how people will react to the criticism you provide them with, so it’s generally easier just to say nothing at all.
  • This is why I believe criticism is a gift. Critics provide us with a pulse on reality that can help us overcome inevitable delusions that we might have. Truthfully expressing one’s opinion is a very valuable gift in this way. Because I hope to continue receiving this helpful criticism, I am striving to be more candid myself even at the risk of alienating those who are not equipped to handle criticism. However, it’s definitely going to be a challenging transition for me. The sandwich approach (criticism sandwiched in between two compliments) is probably a good place to start.

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