When someone wants to play "devil's advocate" or offers "constructive criticism," watch out. They could have valid points, but they may see you through their own (negative, jealous, limited) lens. Sure, we need feedback, but you don't need help gathering hard knocks in life. We get more than enough on our own.
Here are synonyms for criticism: bash, blister, blame, blast, censure, chastise, chide, clobber, disparage, dress down, find fault, knock, lambast, nag, nit pick, rip, roast, scathe, and zap. None of that can be good for you.
And what do they know anyway? A reporter said Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was "silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances" yet history remembers it as one of the most inspiring and eloquent speeches ever delivered.
Here are what the critics wrote about The Beatles' 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show:
The Beatles are not merely awful; I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god awful. They are so unbelievably, horribly, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art that they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music... William F. Buckley, Jr. Boston Globe
Musically they are a near disaster, guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of "yeah, yeah, yeah") are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments…. Newsweek
My recommendation for dealing with criticism, constructive criticism (an oxymoron) or not:
1. Take it with a grain of salt. Salt can season a meal, but in small quantities. Criticism should be diluted. The ocean is about 3% salt -- a good ratio to keep in mind.
2. Refuse to dwell on it. Don't allow yourself to rehash criticism, and don't let it take root in your soul.
3. Sandwich criticism with praise. Counter any criticism with at least two parts of positive self- bolstering.
Most people have a highly functioning inner critic. What we can use is some constructive approval, compliments, forgiveness, and praise. Hang out with people who offer you constructive praise and, most important, learn how to notice what you do well and rejoice in your gifts.
P.S. Sometimes I feel I'm writing a particular blog for just one person -- that might be you. If so, It's a good time of year not to let the turkeys, or the critics, get you down. Take a diet from critical thinking and love and approve of yourself today.