I love this couplet by Kabir - a great mystic poet and saint of India (1398 )
"Nindak niyare rakhiye, Angan kuti chawai,
Bin pani sabun bina, nirmal kare subhaiy"
[Translation: Keep your critic close to you. Give him a cottage in the courtyard of your house, because he cleanses your nature without soap and water]
Simple . Yet profound.
Yesterday I saw a play where the protagonist the King - welcomed his most powerful critic and asked him to look into his eyes and criticize him. It was one of the most intriguing part of the play.
As leaders, we should know that the people who criticize us are our greatest teachers. The situation or people who shred us apart with their fault finding , reveal our limiting beliefs, assumptions and fears. Just like a good tester breaks the system to find flaws so that the software becomes robust and stable, the same way, these people pinpoint where we are going wrong. They tell us what is holding us back from becoming the greatest. And ... all for free !
As Kabir said, we should nurture the people who disparage us so that we know what are the areas we need to work on, how we should overcome our fears and how we can climb up the growth chart !Adverse situation and people cleanses us to become purer, greater and better. They help us shine !
The instant negative reaction to criticism is natural. It needs a lot of maturity and practice to control this instinctive response. We have to look deep inside to see why we are reacting. Whenever I am in such a situation, the first thing I do is take 5-10 deep breaths , focusing on the air going in and out of my nose. This helps me to stabilize and control my first instinctive and involuntary retort. Once we practice doing this, it becomes easier to objectively look at pour fears and weaknesses and take steps to shed them !
Not all negative criticism are true. We have to be mature and intelligent enough to take out the grain within the criticism and blow the chaff away !
So, the next time anyone rubs you off, go and hug them ! Thank them for their valuable gift .