Welcome all criticism: Accept the fact you aren’t perfect

By Hank Holland | Reporter

It’s hard to be criticized. There’s no right way to accept that you or something you do is wrong. We go our whole lives trying to live with ideological consistency, yet it’s impossible to never have your perspective dissected by others. To accept criticism is to grow in your beliefs and to become more mature in your actions.

Finding people who can truly accept criticism seems to be increasingly rare. For as long as humans have been the dominant species on Earth, we have been plagued by people who cannot handle being critiqued. They get angry, defensive and dismissive. Where the true problem lies is accepting that you might be one of those people.

Accepting that you are wrong is a huge part of growing as a person. I have been the subject of many criticisms, both earned and undeserved. It’s easy to get riled up and defend your own character. I remember there have been times where, in the face of criticism, I’ve said and done things that I regret, but eventually, I grew as a person.

It takes a lot of courage to be able to sit down with yourself and admit you are wrong. Learning to recognize that you, or anyone else, might be worthy of criticism is something that can never be done too early. It’s a hard lesson — and one you might have to learn repeatedly.

Now, I try to value those people in my life who criticize me. It means they see a problem that I can’t, and they have enough respect for me as a person to let me know about it. In times when I feel like I’m being near-persecuted, I like to think of an old Benjamin Franklin quote: “Critics are our friends. They show us our faults.”

I think people are becoming less allured to accepting criticism because it often takes the form of an insult. Insults, hurtful as they are, are critiques of our character and are often why we are so defensive. It’s important to learn that there might be something worth addressing within yourself. Failure to accept an insult will show that person not only that you are incapable of accepting criticism but also that you are unwilling or unable to change.

A lot of my friends do not like The Lariat. Most of them think it’s a populist and safe publication with a weird affinity for Taylor Swift. As a reporter for this paper, I do somewhat fall under this umbrella label — and while I don’t feel that I fall under these classifications, I do have some understanding of why they feel that way. Point being, even though it’s a broad generalization, it’s still a criticism and something worth thinking about, at the very least.

Next time you are called out, or whenever someone insults your character, ask them and yourself, “What am I doing that could make this true?” You may not like the answer. You might not believe their critiques have any truth to them at all. However, there is no better personal venture than trying to better yourself. Live and learn, and become the best person you can be.