596. The Gifts of Criticism
(For all links mentioned, please visit the blog post clicking on the title above)
Or how to walk from a reaction to criticism towards an acknowledgement, discernment, learning and embracing of it as a way to assist ourselves to grow and develop ourselves to better ourselves in many ways.
I was listening to this documentary IDO PORTAL - JUST MOVE (filmed by London Real) while preparing some canvasses yesterday and it was quite amazing to hear the parallels that can be drawn from walking through this mind-self change process that some of us have been working on for the past 9 years and someone developing physical movement in all sorts of ways in their body in order to ‘master’ themselves, which becomes not so much about the end result, but the process of ‘mastering the craft’ as Ido says.
To begin with, this documentary or ‘topic’ is something that I would not have been ‘interested’ on years ago, yet the more I saw the name of this guy being shared around within the London Real channel, the more I got curious about it and this recently released documentary is quite a recommended and enjoyable thing to watch because it’s an awesome confirmation of many of the principles and ‘tests’ I’ve gone through in my own life within developing things I thought I would ‘never do’ and in general within this process of self-change – or dare I say the ‘reinvention’ process of myself.
There are many, many points that are valuable in it and it serves as a great source to cross-reference ‘who one is’ in relation to what Ido shares, however one that got my attention is where he speaks about criticism, which you can watch/hear here https://youtu.be/qJDz7qHBGQg?t=53m14s
and there are a few points that I want to take on and write out because I consider that many times, for anyone starting to do something new, or doing something ‘for the first time’ or completely ‘out of the box’ of ‘normalcy’ in this world – which easily can be associated with embarking oneself in this process of developing self-awareness and self-forgiveness and getting to change in our day to day living – can seem like a daunting task, something that one is ‘never ready for’ and sometimes we allow criticism to ‘overpower’ ourselves if we start reacting to our own ‘beliefs’ about not being able to do it, or about others’ sudden rather ‘harsh’ input in how we are doing things or how we are ‘changing,’ not questioning what of ourselves can be ‘hurt’ by criticism.
Many times throughout sharing my vlogs related to this process on YouTube I learned to read the worst of the worst kind of criticism, trolling and bullying that you can imagine: judging everything about my voice and the way that I speak, how I look, how wrong I am in my statements, how they wish I would die or how I should go kill myself.. all kinds of stuff, not worth mentioning or typing here really, but you get the idea.
Of course the initial experience for most people is to react and go into defense mode, try and ‘win against’ those that bully/troll in that sense, but in my case I also learned to start seeing where such words reflected back to the person that expressed them – and other times being able to humbly recognize they were truly supportive feedback even if myself/my ego didn’t like it, because they enabled me to look at myself, my stance, the way I spoke and start questioning the righteousness in my ‘intellectualism’ that I many times shared in my YouTube videos as ‘this is how things are and that’s it’ – lol, the ‘fascist me’ as I call it - which led me to in fact question in a very honest manner towards me: what is it about myself and my expression that is being shared from a starting point of fear: fear of being told I’m wrong, fear of receiving criticism, fear of being seen as weak, fear of not being credible enough… all those fears were there, so what did I do next? I then worked on really seeing what of ‘my ego’ can be hurt through criticism, writing it out, self-forgiving it and applying a humbleness and understanding to it, while of course practically not allowing the ‘overwhelming’ experience criticism can create to take me for a ride, which sure can be difficult but, any process of change involves that kind of challenge and resistance and difficulty, hence my suggestion to watch Ido’s documentary as well who explains this beautifully.
I grew up being a child that was mostly praised by adults and at times hated/envied/bullied by my peers, because it seems we like to destroy that which is in any way perceived as being ‘ahead of us’ and through the support of my mother in those days, I learned to grow a ‘thick skin’ to it and realize that whatever others said or did towards me spoke more about ‘who they are’ not about ‘me’ in essence, and started to learn to ‘take the heat’ so to speak, though not really yet learning to ‘reflect’ on such criticism or learning to ‘discern’ things, which eventually took me to create a certain ‘defensive stance’ that was still ‘here’ within me not until long ago.
However I have also been on the other side of the coin, where I have craved feedback, I have craved criticism from those that know me best and so far only one person keeps having the guts to let me know where I am still being ‘taken over’ by myself in my ego/mind patterns, which is my mother and I’m grateful for that because it is so that only those that have known you for such a long time can really have a stand point to let you know where you are ‘losing your ground’ in any given moment.
Many times I have asked partners and friends to let me know when I am losing my ground, where I am becoming a ‘problem’ about something, where I am being righteous, where I am being one-dimensional or ‘tunnel visioned’ about something and I’m also grateful that I’ve had such wake up calls from them and other people here and there, but ultimately I realize that no one has the ‘imperative’ duty to let me know all of these things, that I can also get to see these points for myself when observing me in self-honesty as ‘who I am’ in the words I write, in how I express, in what I create, in how I decide to work and do things… it becomes a self-evident measure which then I use as a way to develop self-trust so that even if those that I’ve come to ‘trust’ the most can come at me with certain criticism, I can know and be honest with myself about it being a fact or being a perception or interpretation coming from them – and that’s where self-honesty is the key to see ‘who am I’ in the eye of criticism.
To me facing, dealing with, reading, listening, getting to know of criticism about myself has been one of the most challenging yet most supportive points in my life, and not long ago I was still fearing how certain people would ‘see me’ based on certain decisions I’ve made in my life and through walking through the fears of that ‘potential criticism’ I’ve realized one thing: the worst only critic exists within myself, I am the only one that can allow myself to be ‘affected’ by words, I am the only one that can accept and allow a certain word to cause an effect within me, and you know what? If it does, then, that’s actually quite great! How else would I know that I am still holding on to an ‘idea’ of myself as ‘untouchable’ or ‘superior’ or where I am still standing in inferiority to a word, a concept, an idea if no one would dare to come at me with certain words of criticism? And here’s an awesome audio that opens this up nicely as well and that I recommend having a listen to: Who Are You When Challenged - The Future of Awareness - Part 91
If anything, I actually would like to get more feedback in whatever I do and am, because in that it doesn’t mean that I have to change myself to be what others want me to be, it doesn’t mean that what others say will be ‘right,’ but because I can always learn something from anything that anyone has to say about me – either about separating the wheat from the chaff as they say as in taking what I can test out/apply/try out as a way to expand myself and test ‘new ways’ discerning what’s supportive and what’s plain backchat/reactions coming from others and ‘who they are’ towards someone that maybe is projected as a reaction to the challenges experienced through my doings/expression, or where one becomes a ‘boxing bag’ for them to blame for everything they can be dissatisfied for in their own lives… both and possibly many more reasons and starting points may exist in criticism.
I’ve done such kind of criticism as well, in fact I was sharing with an old friend yesterday how I was ‘wired’ to be constantly criticizing everything and everyone, which is the same as judging or creating ‘beliefs’ about anything that’s ‘out there’ of course within that ‘vantage’ point of seeing my judgments as right and just… lol the typical self-delusion. And so how it took me a process to really get down from my ‘high horse’ and start to truly hear/read/see criticism from others towards myself as a supportive process for me to ‘see me through the eyes of others’ and get to know what is it that can in fact be ‘standing out the most’ in creating more reactions in people than support.
In that, I got to test out new ways of expressing myself: stopping wanting to seem ‘absolutist’ and ‘right’ at all times – or fearing being wrong – being less intimidating or stopping wanting to ‘impose’ myself onto others - being less attackative or stopping fearing being undermined or ‘proven wrong’ by others, being less self-infatuated or learning to question my principles through trial and error – and stop being arrogant or stop seeing ‘my way’ as ‘the only way’ to live life – which is how I can agree I ‘felt’ within myself while sharing experiences, knowledge and information in my YouTube videos for example – and how that is definitely something I continue to work on in being more ‘chilled’ about things, which has proven to be a physical process of literally relaxing, not being as ‘tense’ and ‘anxious’ and ‘rigid’ in my expression, but to allow myself to actually ‘breathe’ and be more in my body as I am communicating and expressing with others.
That way I took criticism to really look at myself and test out a few changes that I can now reference have in fact been very supportive within my current life and the way I relate to others and how genuinely enjoyable it is for me to ‘be me’ currently, whereas before I would still feel like being in a constant battlefield where anyone was an ‘enemy’ that I had to watch out my back for and be constantly assessing ‘who was out to get me’ type of thing, lol, yes like living ‘war’ mentality within me, all because of mostly fearing criticism… man, have I limited myself so much because of this and it’s not like I am ‘completely over it,’ nope, it’s still a point to continue walking but here I’m sharing some distinctive differences around it.
Even recently someone came at me with quite a nasty kind of defamation and twisting of information about something I once shared with them, and for a moment I could notice there was this reaction coming up until I forced myself to re-read and see how what was being said was a plain attack, with no validity or veracity to it and how the intent was mostly to – sorry for the words – but spread shit about myself. I was able to then cross reference ‘who I am’ in the face of being criticized, judged in this particular way, understand the person, their possible context and starting point for it, self forgive the initial ‘knee-jerk’ reaction and then let it go, because there was truly nothing to ‘learn’ from such trolling.
Back to Ido Portal here, I can relate to what he says in what he once believed he wanted to be which was ‘to be liked by everyone’ which I also really tried hard to do before – and now I realize that it’s not about being ‘accepted’ or liked by others, but simply be myself, developing that stance of ‘this is me, this is the new me that can stand by my words, that is aware of what I say, do, decide to act on and then whatever ‘heat comes at me’ I can take the criticism, work with my reactions if there are any, take the considerations as constructive feedback and keep moving on’ which also exists within a humbleness of being open to learn from others, to learn to question my own ‘tenets’ and be willing to hear different perspectives and ways of living life, which lol, was quite a difficult thing for me to embrace some years ago, but it’s cool to deliberately be challenging myself within that.
As Ido says, critics, trolls, haters usually don’t provide feedback from a practical ‘walking in your own shoes’ point which means they usually lack understanding of the process that it takes to be/become/express/do what one does, and within that it makes sense to obviously discard criticism that is not at all considering the time, the practice, the trial and error, the evolution, the changes, the adaptations that any point of creation or change involves. As he says, it’s not to avoid criticism either but to embrace it for growth and self-development – which ultimately it is so, it’s about having a ‘mirror’ of sorts wherein we can reflect back to ourselves to see how is it that what we are sharing is being received by others, and to me that’s something really precious in life, sincerely, because that’s what I personally enjoy about being a human being, where I can learn about myself through others, I can learn new things, new ways, new approaches from others and in turn also get to hear or read how other people have benefited from who I am, what I am, what I share, how I share, how I live – I consider that that’s already one steps into ‘making an impact’ on someone in a supportive manner.
Of course I am aware how I have probably also impacted people in and for all the ‘wrong reasons’ or ‘the wrong way’ as they say, but then it would also become an opportunity for them to question certain things, to maybe ‘snap’ themselves out of a certain expectation and be confronted with a more harsh, direct and ‘challenging’ point of view which I can now relate to as ‘who I was’ in those old YouTube videos that I certainly have to stop being ashamed of myself and understand within the context of who I was at that time, at that moment in my process and ultimately see that it might have assisted others to ‘check themselves’ if they felt affected, insulted or plainly attacked by whatever I said – that will be my part to take responsibility for, where I wasn’t being clear within me when sharing, where I deliberately wanted to attack ‘the perceived wrong side’ of things and where I wasn’t truly embracing ‘both sides’ as myself, because antagonism has certainly been one of the main ‘wires’ in my overall ‘wiring’ in my mind – and for that I’ve forgiven myself for not taking ‘all sides’ into considerations – and I continue to catch myself doing this and continue to learn how to practically embrace all sides, which is also quite an expansive, nurturing and fascinating process to me.
So, something I got from the documentary as well is how we have to have the courage to do things differently, to break our patterns, to decide to ‘stand up from the crowd’ not in an egotistical/superiority way, but to challenge the status quo and this begins with all the ways that we ‘share’ ourselves, which as it was recently mentioned in an Eqafe interview, we share ourselves all the time that we are around people, with words or actions, they all represent forms of communication and to me this entails both a gift and a responsibility that I have towards myself and so towards others to honor that ability, that capacity of understanding, of verbalizing, of moving, of doing that I can use as a constant point of expression, like constantly making sure who I am and what I do can become an ‘act of creation’ in itself – just like the one project I said I would do in terms of ‘becoming my own work of art’ and that’s truly then embracing our capacity as creators and authors in our own life.
In this chat I had with this friend yesterday, it was interesting to see how he considers this same point of responsibility towards himself as part of what he defines as ‘godly’ as ever present in everything, that ‘divinity’ if you will that exists within it all – which I call life - and as such it’s about taking responsibility for it/as it, honor it ourselves in the best way that we can. Of course the ‘ways’ to do it are as varied as there are human beings in this world, but that’s also what I’ve learned to see as unique and enjoyable, no two ‘human beings’ will have the absolute same ‘truth’ to themselves even if united by the same principles, it will always be different, unique yet always relatable to one another as ‘who we are’ towards one another.
So that’s how I’ve been walking a process to discharge my relationship to ‘criticism’ experienced in a negative way only and actually learn to embrace it, in my case many times being thankful whenever one comes at me challenging my perceived ‘truth’ or ‘righteousness’ because it’s not many people that dare to be so upfront with me either, and that’s something I’d like to challenge as well, because if anything I can learn a lot more from it in seeing who am I in relation to that criticism, discerning what I can use to learn, expand, grow and develop myself further and what is the kind of criticism that only contains reactions, projections with no supportive substance at all.
Another point I’ve learned is to take responsibility for my criticism towards others. If I am perceiving something is not ‘good enough’ and I have ideas of how to make it better, I am not just placing them out for ‘others to do and implement’ and leave the work-load for others to ‘do that for me,’ but I am learning to take responsibility/be in charge of my own criticism and turn it into a proposal for change and expansion that I can actively create and commit myself to contribute with, which is a way where one can take that stand of not only ‘noticing flaws’ and blaming or pointing fingers at others because ‘they are not doing it,’ but rather turn it into a self-empowering point of contributing to the cause, of being the one that does, acts, creates that which we can see is ‘missing’ within something or that could better things for everyone – now that’s quite a constructive criticism as well that leads to actions, doings, to creating changes for the betterment of something or someone, which is lined to sharing responsibility, to empowering oneself in such capacities as well and of course considering the benefit for ourselves and others in it.
Here also making sure that I am aware of ‘who I am’ within that criticism or providing such feedback, if I am doing so from a starting point of blame and disempowerment or if I am truly genuinely wanting to assist with something to better it, and that’s also something where I can only check within myself and how even if it may be perceived as finding faults or blame, I can only ever focus on making sure my starting point is clear, which also makes room for becoming more specific in how to communicate things in a way where one’s intent, starting point and contribution is clear for all people involved in such situation.
So, if there’s any reaction of disempowerment, feeling ‘not good enough’ etc. when getting criticism by others – or even within one’s own mind - it’s definitely time to place it out on paper, write it out, using self-forgiveness to see ‘who am I’ or ‘what of me’ is being ‘hurt’ by it, where am I going into disempowerment, where am I actually believing myself to not be capable to stand this ‘heat’ of the moment and use that to strengthen ourselves, to identify our weaknesses and actively work on re-aligning ourselves within them to a version of ourselves that can learn to read/watch/hear criticism objectively and develop an understanding of ‘where it is coming from’ and discerning what’s supportive and what’s not – that’s something that surely takes some practice but as anything, we all start somewhere and the point is getting to actually Do it, that’s the difference, rather than just remaining wallowing in worry, concern, pity and disempowerment about it, and that’s why I also recommend watching that first part of Ido Portal’s documentary, quite a fascinating parallel to understand what it entails to change at a Physical level - and not only talking about exercise/movements here - but about who we are in our minds as well.
Criticism is a great way to challenge myself and as such, I definitely have open doors to it, I kind of crave it at times which is an imbalance as well lol, so I have to simply take it as it comes and use it constructively as I’ve explained in this blog today.
Thanks for reading.
Please take your time and invest in supporting yourself while also supporting Desteni/Eqafe providing this information/courses that I have benefitted tremendously from and without which I would not have been able to write my story as I did just now, and you can do so by getting self-support audios, all of which will enrich your life in many more ways than what I’ve just shared above, including Ido Portal’s input on several things coincidentally being echoed in the content of this material, which is quite a cool confirmation of how this physical process of self-change takes place:
Exploring the Physical with Bruce Lee - The Future of Awareness - Par…
Bruce Lee on Becoming Idle for our Idols - The Future of Awareness - …
Who Are You When Challenged - The Future of Awareness - Part 91
Debunking Self Beliefs - Back to Basics
Introduction to Self Bullying and Self-Hatred - Atlanteans - Part 473
Self Bullying and Self Hatred Part 2 - Atlanteans - Part 474