Learn from Criticism vs Dismissing It

There was no public bathroom when we were shopping in France, so I used a nearby restaurant’s facilities. I marched straight ahead confidently so as not to be stopped. When I opened the door, an angry waiter was there and gave me a lashing for rudely not asking for permission first. I apologized but silently dismissed his words until I later tried to understand them.

When I focus on my perspective of getting things done, I can miss how it affects someone else. Americans are production-oriented, and French people are polite. France places a great value on politeness and courtesy. I heard so many mercis and bonjours and learned how important it is to acknowledge others in a crowd.

Instead of dismissing criticism, it is better to try and understand it. It can provide a broader perspective and make us grow when we take it in. Proverbs 15: 31—32 says, “If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”

Sure, there are times when criticism is unfounded, but it is always worth a closer look. We encourage a growth mindset when we remain teachable. We gain understanding when we are willing to be wrong and look at things from someone else’s perspective.

Our willingness to listen to criticism is a choice. A choice that validates others and allows us to grow in wisdom and understanding.