If your best friend walked up to you right now, looked you straight in the eye and said in a matter-of-fact tone, “You’re a bad friend,” how would you respond?
Many of us are not trained to handle criticism well, particularly criticism we don’t see coming. Often, people will hide their hurt behind their usual defense mechanisms. They’ll get angry or deflect. They may even take the criticism to heart and continue beating themselves up internally for a long time afterwards.
But why are we so sensitive to criticism? What makes our hearts pound and our throats choke up when somebody implies that we are just human? (Gasp!)
Why do we walk around every day, plugged in to our own internal self-criticism playing on repeat, but are somehow unable to withstand hearing it from somebody else?
Whether it comes from within or from the outside, we can choose to take criticism as insight into our greatest potential instead of an indicator of where we are lacking.
What if we were so sure of our basic goodness and our innate strengths that criticism only helped us live better as a result?
What if we could see criticism as a love letter from the universe?
Sometimes we can’t see where there is room to grow until somebody else points it out. We need others to be mirrors for our hearts, to show us where we still hurt and where we’re ready to evolve into better versions of ourselves.
And yes, it’s true that sometimes our biggest critics are just dealing with their own baggage and are reflecting onto us what they themselves haven’t yet dealt with. But if we were self-assured we would be able to recognize that too and extend a hand of compassion instead of further deepening the divide. We’d understand that the person is speaking from a wounded place. We’d realize we don’t have to bring that home and we may even be able to reflect back kindness instead.
Choosing to better yourself in response to criticism is an act of radical self-love. By investing your energy into your own growth, you learn compassion and understanding which can only lead to a more centered and open-hearted life.
You deserve to live out your life in the best and most beautiful way possible. So give yourself the gift of self-cultivation and watch as the seeds of self-love you sow grow into majestic trees of self-empowerment and an unimaginable sense of self-worth. You will never again have to feel the burden of carrying the weight of somebody else’s criticism and you will learn to hold compassionate space for others in the world in spite of their own imperfections. And that just means there’s more love to go around!
Download Akasha’s Fire meditations to further explore loving yourself through the cultivation of your heart.