Are you the type of person who gets spurred on by encouragement rather than criticism?
I know I am.
If I am congratulated or if someone comments favourably on something I have achieved, it spurs me on to greater heights. It literally works wonders for me and I can keep up the momentum for days. It’s as if I’ve had a shot of adrenalin!
On the other hand criticism discourages me and has a very negative and even destructive effect on me. So much so that I have to leave what I am doing for a while – in order to regroup until I have gathered my momentum again.
I think I am a positive and optimistic person. But somehow I get thrown by a well-aimed critical missile. I just have to face the fact that negative criticism throws me and upsets my equilibrium.
Of course I’m not the only one to dislike being criticized. No one really likes it.
That is probably one of the reasons why authors don’t like to show their unfinished work to anyone. They are very careful to shield the seedlings of their creativity from the harsh light of glaring criticism. Can you blame them?
But there are some people who just handle criticism a lot better and tend to throw it off like water off a duck’s back. It even spurs them on to greater heights. They seem to get fired by the challenge. They call it constructive criticism and it gets them going. All I can say is I envy them.
Sensitivity to criticism in handwriting
Well here is the handwriting of someone who hates being criticised. And no it isn’t my own handwriting because I would hate to set myself up!
This is a very interesting example because although it is so brief, there is an enormous amount that it reveals. So how can we tell that this person – a teenager is so sensitive to being criticized?
Firstly, there is the back slant showing a withdrawal from personal contact and then there is the dark pressure showing emotionalism.
An emotional temperament with an inability to relate together with the small size and the classic sign of looped t’s – these signs taken as a whole – assure us that this is indeed a sensitive youngster who would not take kindly to being criticized.
How do you deal with criticism?
So what will work with a boy like this if criticism won’t cut it? Flatter him and tell him how wonderful he is?
Not at all. Because you see, this type of personality already has a built in form of self-criticism that helps him to keep his feet very much on the ground. He knows instinctively whether he deserves to be congratulated or not.
Of course there is a place for criticism too but the important thing is not to appear judgmental or to seem as if you are coming from a position of superiority. The best way to criticize other people is to do so by showing that you can relate to their weaknesses yourself.
Criticism should have a definite purpose. It should be used to prepare the way for encouragement. Only then can it be called constructive.
Like a garden of weeds that needs to be cleared and cultivated before you can grow spectacular blooms, criticism should be used constructively to clear away self-imposed obstacles. In this way it becomes a tool for growth.
A little encouragement works wonders
Encouragement builds self-esteem – plain and simple. This is what emboldens people to use their skills and to become more creative.
We should be focusing on trying to motivate people if we want them to use their talents and strengths.
For those who need encouragement to bring out the best in themselves – it’s important to find something that they do well and then to encourage them to get on with it. It often requires a bit of delving but in the long run it will be worth the effort.
So what works for you? Encouragement or criticism?
Write in and reveal yourself – if you dare!