Two brothers fulfilled their mother's last wish by hiring a small plane to carry
them out to sea where they might scatter her ashes. One of the two pilots opened
the cockpit door and the brothers immediately emptied the contents of the urn into
the wind. But a stiff breeze blew the ashes back into the cabin, dusting the four
startled occupants. A moment’s stunned silence, and then one of the young men sighed,
“Just like Mom – she was always all over everyone.”
Maybe she was a critical person.
But children, especially, often feel as if parents are “always all over them” when
all those parents usually want is for their children to be the best they can be.
Franklin Jones said, “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative,
a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.” And Norman Vincent Peale adds this: “Most
of us would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Few of us enjoy
the experience when others point out areas for improvement. After all, who wants
to hear what they don't want to hear?
Criticism IS hard to take and I'll opt for
praise over criticism every time. I hold that encouragement is often more effective
than criticism. I will work harder and with more enthusiasm when I am encouraged,
and I know I can get the best out of others if I spend more time pointing out what
they did right than what they did wrong.
But that said – honest and objective feedback
is a necessity. To shy away from fair criticism, spoken by someone trusted, may be
a great mistake. Those who are wise will occasionally seek out somebody they trust
to hold a mirror before them in order to see themselves more accurately. To know
the truth and to see ourselves clearly, as reflected in the eyes of a friend, is
an immeasurable gift.
And here's the surprising truth: As you gaze at yourself in
the mirror held by another, you will see far more than your flaws. You also will
see the beauty that is uniquely you; beauty that others see clearly and you may hardly
know exists. That is also part of the truth about you.
If you're courageous enough,
allow a trusted friend to hold that mirror before you. Plato says, “The unexamined
life is not worth living.” But a life properly examined makes living worthwhile.
Steve Goodier www.LifeSupportSystem.com