No one likes to be told their faults, especially from those we love; even constructive criticism has a sting to it. I believe no one really likes to be told their faults, because deep down, it really does matter what other people think of us, doesn’t it? I mean, how do we want to be remembered? For our faults or our virtues?
Our faults and virtues affect those around us.
According to Maya Angelou, … people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
I completely agree. Our actions and words affect others, yes. Our actions and words will eventually be forgotten – yes. But how these actions and words made another person feel will never be forgotten – truth.
That is why it is so important that we accept honest criticism, so we can grow and be a better person. Yes, it hurts when my husband communicates honest criticism of my actions. But his actions are motivated with love, not ego. I will remember how his brave communication made me feel: loved. I want to grow on a path to be a better person and deepen my marriage, and so does my husband. This brave communication of honest criticism for growth goes both ways.
7 Deadly Sins
Well, first off – what are faults in humankind that create criticism? The only reference I can think of are the 7 Deadly Sins taught within the Christian church.
- Lust – lust for sex, money, power, after another person – having affairs
- Gluttony – overindulgence and overconsumption – to the point of waste – addictions sure do waste people’s lives…
- Greed – the pursuit of material possessions – who has the best clothing, most toys, the most money…
- Sloth – laziness – inertia to improve one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state; to not take responsibility for one’s life
- Wrath – anger, rage and hatred
- Envy – insatiable desire, coveting what other’s have that you do not
- Pride – considered the most deadly sin – ego – selfishness – putting one’s needs, wants and desires above all others
Each “sin” has great depth in meaning and interpretation…
How Is Honest Criticism Good For Us?
It is hard to see our faults when we are living it, and as Rule # 3 states – love is a mirror and will show us who we are, if we allow it to. Love will show us our sunshine side and our dark side.
So, how is honest criticism good for the “us”, as in me and “us”, as in the relationship, when we accept it from our beloved? I believe we can only grow as a person, begetting the growth of the marriage, when we accept the darker sides of ourselves and agree to change it for the better.
Our vices, these ill behaviors that our significant other observes in us either when we are out in the world, or they observe in us when our vices intentionally or unintentionally hurt them
Denial = Elephant in the Middle of the Room
If my husband Michael honestly communicates his feelings concerning my behaviors that reflect one or more of the 7 deadly sins, and I do not accept his honest criticism – then this elephant in the middle of the room will grow. My denial, my un-acceptance of his honest criticism will usually evolve into a resentment on both our parts. Michael will resent my unwillingness to see my darker behaviors and how they are negatively affecting myself and the marriage. I will resent his “trying to change me” and his not “accepting” me as I am, meanwhile knowing on some level he is right – thereby digging my stubborn heels in deeper.
Acceptance = Accountability = Growth
If I accept his honest criticism, then I have stepped wholeheartedly into humility and grace. I have welcomed his brave feedback, his honest voice brought forth with love; his love wanting what is best for me and the marriage. The transition may not be easy, a challenging journey as only change can be. But with his support and love; like fertile soil, water and sunshine to a flower, my growth will blossom too…
Therefore, be grateful your beloved is brave enough, and feels safe enough to communicate this honesty with you. Each one of us are accountable for our actions and behaviors; especially to our spouses.
Because Deep Down, It Truly Does Matter…
~ Not only what other people think of us, it especially matters with those we love
~ How we make people feel, especially those people we love
~ And more importantly is how we feel about ourselves. This, THIS is the true testimony of integrity, I think. Am I humble enough to change? Am I human enough to fall, admit defeat and rise again? Do I inherently feel good about my behaviors as I step into each and every moment…because during the day I am accountable to those around me, who I interact with.
And, at the end of the day…I am accountable to me and my husband, who holds me close and never lets me go….
Originally published: February 3rd, 2020
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.