48 thoughts on “Constructive Criticism”

    1. Oh KT … i just saw your comment about quick to listen and slow to speak … perfect advice for this woman who lives with feet in mouth much of the time. Tourettes as D calls it.

      1. D is very private about what he says … i’m a little freer. I know … tourettes is a terrible terrible thing. D and i balance each other’s blabberiness out. 🙂

      2. melis –
        You’re open. I worry for you that you may be a little too wide open for your tender heart (you know that because I told you that often). But I agree, it’s not tourettes! It’s vulnerability and honesty.
        Of course, we can kill people with the truth, so even honesty can use a little measuring (I’m talking to myself now, not at you). 😀

      3. Debbie, i don’t know what you mean, really. You worry because i will get my feelings hurt? I do. Does that mean i should change? I could bottle up more? I don’t know any other way to be. Maybe as i get older and wiser i’ll make better judgment calls about what comes out of my mouth, and from my fingers.

      4. mel –
        Yes, sweetie, I worry about you getting your heart hurt.
        No, I’m not saying you should change. 😀

        I think in conversations and in blogging, we all set different boundaries. It’s just like personal space – some have really tight circles and some have the entire prairie.

        I’m pretty private by nature so I’m a bits and pieces sharer.
        I also have an Mother’s reflex that can kick in at inappropriate times, like wanting to shield you from hurt when that might not be what’s best for you.
        You just keep on being you!
        “Don’t go changing to try and please me… I love you just the way you are.” 😉

      5. BILLY JOEL TO THE RESCUE! I know Debbie, you are right. I am having some trouble with “feelings hurt” now … another blogger has decided to shut me out. I’ll let go now. I think i DO want the blog to be small and tight … like just the Trio of Earth Angel Debbies(y), Jen and a few folks who aren’t so “troubled” or fragile that i feel i may crush them … then it crushes me. I don’t know WHAT possesses me to be SO OUT THERE, when i can be easily hurt. Like, i feel a little hurt that you think i’m such a weeny 🙂 … see, i know you don’t think that, but I’d like to think i am strong (as a survivor). Oh hell, i dunno what i’m on about. The good news is, i’m not so much in that space where my wounds are hanging out there to dry so much. The bulimia is past, and i’m establishing a life. What i write about now is a new part of my path.

        I will always write about love though. If someone has a critical comment about love, grace, kindness, i will NOT stand down on that. Love is all we need … and if you don’t need love, well … i don’t believe you HAHA.

        I love you sweet heart. I’m sorry i alarmed you. We’re cool, right? Your achy break y hearty friend, MEL

    1. Greg –
      I think if we spent more time thinking about speaking words that construct instead of destruct, we’d have a lot less clean up to do.
      The tongue is indeed mighty and too often a tool for cutting rather than healing.
      Always glad to have your thoughts.
      ~ Debbie

  1. Debbie, I’m so glad you have followed Gods prompting with this blog. I have read everyone of them but don’t always comment. It is such a gift from God to the world. It has been like unwrapping a gift each time. It is a long awaited revealing of what I could see glimpses of and knew was underneath the layers of dutiful protection.

    It’s like the waves of the ocean exposing the agates and sea glass. You have a beautiful, beautiful heart. Thanks for sharing it.

    Miss you terribly.
    Love Cath

    1. Oh dear friend of my heart,
      You’ve certainly weather the storms with me.
      In spite on my nearly impenetrable walls, you hammering away until you broke through!
      I’m not sure why, by I’m eternally grateful.
      Of course you know you got me with the agate/ocean analogy! 😀
      I still have my rock tumbler and my agates… someday, in a land far away!
      Thank you for such kind and wonderful words.
      I miss you, too!
      ~ Debbie

  2. Love this Deb. Even with “loving criticism” there is still a small residual speck of hurt that gets buried deep in the recipient. We can try to say we are ok with the “advice” but then the question arises “What’s wrong with me?” and we are left with self-doubt. Been on the receiving end too many times. I have grown to really detest the “no offense” statement because like you said, offense is almost always taken. Maybe what we should do is ask ourselves if we would want to be told what we are about to say – and then shut up. 🙂

  3. I agree with you. If someone ASKS and I know them WELL I will voice my opinion. Thats it. In Buddhism there is a sort of examination of conscience that goes like this:

    Is what I am about to say, kind, necessary and useful? If not; don’t say it.

    When my son was little I would ask him these questions. One day I asked him if he needed to go potty. He said, “Mommy is that kind, necessary or useful?”

    I had to smile and walk him through the answer: yes, yes, and yes. He agreed and we moved on.

    I have friends I do trust to give me real advice that is centered and wise. I trust them.

    You are one of those people

    XOXXO Jen

    1. Jen –
      Oh what a great story and what a great Mom you are to have taught Will such a lesson so early!
      I have no doubt that you offer advice with wisdom and kindness.
      And I’m so honored to be counted as a trusted friend.
      love and grace and peace to you, my friend,
      ~ Debbie

  4. I’m often amazed about what people feel they are entitled to have an opinion about which seems to be one of the new ways of being critical “in my opinion…”
    I’m not sure there is such a thing as constructive criticism. The moment it is criticism of any kind someone is going to be hurt!

    1. Joss –
      I’m in complete agreement. I truly believe constructive criticism is an oxymoron. I think criticism (almost always – I try to avoid the absolute) is destructive, even if seemingly well intended.
      Yes, it hurts and we don’t have that right.
      ~ Debbie

  5. Ahh, Debbie–you’re a wonder, and a wise one at that. Seem like I spend all my time corralling my thoughts–and then see that I’ve left the gate (my big mouth) open, and it’s a wild time for certain, trying to make proper apologies and amends. “Help me, Jesus–help me, help me, Jesus” is my constant prayer (more grace! more mercy). So now you can see that the only break I get is writing poetry… God bless you, my dear friend and sister in Christ–love, sis Caddo

    1. Dear Caddo –
      Wow girl, can you paint a picture with the alphabet!
      Help me Jesus works for me, too!
      God bless you as you corral all those thoughts into beautiful poetry!
      love from you Sis who is trying to be a better gate keeper,
      ~ Debbie

  6. Debbie–I love this! I know you to practice what you preach and it makes it easier to believe what you say.

    “Most offending and critical comments are simply lazy language, coming from a place where I put my opinion or my need to be right, over your well-being.”

    Why do we think that’s OK? Well, I don’t. Call me on it if you hear me doing it! If we could cull out this one thing, it would stop all verbal abuse. I can’t help but think of that. This is where it starts.

    1. Heidi –
      Thank you. I think my natural aversion to conflict (which certainly hasn’t always been a good thing) is part of why it’s easier for me to take care in what I say.
      My litmus test is becoming more and more my thinking.
      When I’m hurt or upset or frustrated, do I mentally criticize or do I intercede?
      I think I’m about 50/50 on that one… :/
      It begins with awareness, right?
      ~ Debbie

  7. Wonderful post, as usual, Debbie. So much to think about. I started to type it all out here, but it would’ve made an entirely new blog post. 🙂 Thanks for the things to think about. Hugs.

  8. All i can say is, i’ll practice!

    There is nothing more irritating than the “but” comments …” i like this, but” …
    OXYMORON INDEED. i agree 100%. We may have to coin a new phrase, like Silence is Golden? or Think before you speak … or keep your brilliant ideas to yourself or share information that may benefit people without their knowing it 😉 Love, mel

    1. Mel –
      Those are a batch of really wise words! Funny how we’ve heard all that all our lives but seem to have so much trouble practicing it, isn’t it?
      love and grace,
      ~ Debbie

      1. I know … i’m always guilty of screwing this one up. I need to adhere to more Buddhist thinking: Speak when necessary and when helpful. Try and keep the train from derailing. Foot and mouth-itus is a big problem for me. D thinks i have tourettes.

    2. Me jumping in I know shock! My mom used to say “If you dont have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That makes sense in many ways. NOW we all wonder if that is why she hardly ever said a word.

      It is true silence is golden BUT I do want and NEED to hear from my Tribe (ahemm you guys….) when I am off track or goofing up.

      1. J & M –
        While silence CAN be golden, it can also be lethal. My natural aversion to conflict has caused me to be silent for less than graceful reasons.
        It’s more about how we say what we say (intent, tone, non-verbals, relationship etc…), I think…
        ~ Debbie

      2. Debbie!

        SO true! Duh. I am actually writing primarily about this very issue: dysfunctional families keep golden silence and the cycle continues! If we just keep quiet then nothing changes. It is EASIER to NOT say something but something must be said.

        As an adult child of alcoholics I too can be averse to conflict and the whole caretaker role fits this too. “I will just fix this little problem for you (me really) and then we can move on and just be AOK” right. AOK and the crazy behavior just continues.

        You are right. Silence has been Really Actually Lethal in my own family.

        Excellent point!

  9. Oh gracious one . . .I need to copy this off, for me. Sometimes I’ve wondered about discernment, not wanting it to get into being judge-y. But truly, when it is what God intends it to be, it does lead me to understanding and prayer. It softens my heart and curbs my criticism. Thank you for such wonderful wisdoms that we can use everyday! God bless you as you intercede today! love and prayers!

    1. Dear Deb –
      It seems like it’s easier to “help” or judge or criticize sometimes (even if it’s only mentally and never verbally spoken) than to intercede.
      My words are generally pretty soft – but my thoughts can be hard.
      I pray to pray and to love and to be internally graceful so that my insides match my actions.
      You are such a daily example of grace to me,

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