Exercise 42 Handling Criticism From People

Criticism from other people is negativity -- constructive or otherwise, and it's a negativity that can be very short lived if handled properly. What really matters is how the person receiving the criticism experiences it, not what the criticizer's intention is.

A face to face emotional confrontation designed to rip you up one side and down the other can be handled simply by -- silence, a blank stare and no responsive gestures. The more your opponent tries to get you angered, the more frustrated he becomes, and soon he just shuts up. If he queries why you are not responding, just say, "Would you?" and revert back to the silent treatment. You'll have no more trouble from there.

There is an energy emitted through your eyes (see "Exercise -- Eye Contact For Inner Communication"). An impassive, non-responsive stare jams or deflects the bombardment of the negative energy that the other person directs toward you. Refusing to swirl yourself into 'synch' with a negative energy display leaves the other person frustrated, bewildered and exhausted.

To handle the behind-your-back criticizer, go to that person (without mentioning his criticism of you), and praise that person for the very thing that he is criticizing you about. Many times a person criticizes you for the very thing they dislike in themselves, like a mirror effect. By praising them on it, their insecurity is temporarily relieved and they no longer need to look at you so harshly. If they criticize you on the way you dress, praise them on the way they dress. If they criticize you on the way you talk, praise them on the way they talk, etc.

Always remember that patient encouragement, guidance and support are far more helpful than delivering criticism to people. Don't tell another person what to do, but let them tell you! Support a person where they are, and in whatever they decide to do. This is critical. Most individuals with suppressed emotions have them because of an experience, accident or other trauma and it wasn't OK to express them at the time. They need the trust and security that they are in charge and that they are not being pushed into anything that they do not wish to do. They can stop when they have had enough, and they usually know when that time is. You can be with them at that time and tell them that it is all right. This is an exercise in assisting another person with emotional healing that you can practice whenever the need arises.

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