12.16.2013

Criticism and Grace




If you haven't noticed, I have been pretty quiet lately, and regrettably it is my own fault; this is due to my own deflated pride, my own self doubt, my own allowance of people's words to hurt.
It has come to my attention that having a blog opens one up for criticism, but then again, living life opens one up for a lot of criticism as well.
Criticism is hard.
Grace is even harder.

Before I attack the rest of this post there are two things you need to know...
1. I have, at times, been very critical of other people, both bloggers and non-bloggers.
2. I am not perfect.

I thought about just jumping back into blogging with out even addressing what has been going on in my life/heart, but the more I thought on it the more I realized that we will all go through a period of criticism, either in blogging or in real life, and addressing the hard stuff is what keeps this community real. So I am addressing it.

There are three instances of deep heart wrenching criticism that have presented themselves over the past two years of blogging-- A fellow blogger, an acquaintance and  most recently real life friends. The most hurtful obviously being the real life friends. At the climax of each instance I have been faced with the same dilemma--respond or don't.

In each of the three instances I have chosen not to respond to the critic. On one hand it was a calculated response. I have seen what responding out of anger can do (you forget, I work in a middle school-- it normally ends up with "I hate so and so" written in eyeliner on the bathroom stall). On the other hand I wouldn't know what to say in response that would have helped the situation at all. Any words I had would have hurt--deeply, deeply hurt either the critic or myself.

Instead I choose grace.
I choose grace, because grace was chosen for me.

Living a God honoring life is difficult. I want to respond from my flesh 100% of the time. I would have loved nothing more than to fire off a flesh fueled text or email that made the critic feel stupid and small. But isn't that doing right back to them what was done to me? I know how that feels, I know how much that hurts. I don't want anyone to feel that way. We are all entitled to our own opinions (unless your opinion is physically hurting people or anti-chocolate, and then you are NOT entitled to it :) ).  That is what makes this world/community so unique. Why would we want to end that?

So what am I saying?
When you are being criticized, respond with grace.
When you think of criticizing remember how it feels (I sure know I will).
When you find something you don't like find two things that you do.
There is enough hate in the world, we don't need any more.
You don't have to like everything, but you do need to find value in it.


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17 comments:

Alexa said...

Your last paragraph hit me right in the heart. I've been struggling with some of the same things lately, and while I don't know exactly what you're going through, hurt is hurt just the same and I know it just really freaking sucks. Sending positivity your way. You're a bigger person for taking the high and graceful road and I commend you for that. Your heart is beautiful and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Chin up, pretty friend!
XO

bashashhazbaz said...

thanks for being so open and sharing. very well put.

Jessica @ Lovely Little Things said...

The world needs more people like you.
And that is a fact.

LOVE!

Amy Powell said...

I'm sorry you've been going through this, but I love your outlook on it. Stay strong & know you have lots of people out here cheering you on!

Kati - Incorporating Color said...

Amen. And I think you're great... So there's that. :)

Michelle said...

Meg, it's like you took the words right out of my mouth. I've been learning a similar lesson!

Love you so much, friend.

ari @ whatarisaid said...

Beautiful beautiful words. Not sure who is messing with you but hugs!

Meghan said...

Well-said, boo. Criticism is definitely hard to hear, especially when it's real life. I've been facing some similar issues, and your last paragraph about choosing to not fire off is exactly what I've been struggling with. Keep your head up! Only 4 more days until break! :)

champagneandsuburbs.blogspot.com

Katie said...

i am terrible at receiving criticism, even if it is justified. i loved this post. grace is so hard to give sometimes, although it should be something we practice more often. thanks for sharing meg!

Ashley Robyn said...

This was a beautiful read and so what I needed for the start of a long week friend. Grace is simply something that some people don't have but the ones that do have it, it shines more than anything else. It's hard to take criticism and not just throw it right back, especially knowing that you could cause the same hurt, but you are right...we know how it feels so why make someone, even if they aren't such a nice someone" feel that way. Plus, I usually regret things I say out of spite or anger so it's easier for me to write it down and then throw it away. You are too wonderful and too amazing to let the negativity outweigh the good in your life pretty lady! Keep doing you! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Brittany said...

I think you are so brave! Brave for addressing this, BRAVE for responding with grace be causes sometimes, grace hurts. It hurts to allow people to hurt us and not give them back what they deserve. You are modeling Christ to everyone who's hurt you by not responding with harsh words, by not punishing them for their sins. Because thats what Christ did for us. He died to redeem and restore the very ones who nailed him to the tree. And you my dear, are a fine example of this kind of selflessness.

Brittany said...

I think you are so brave! Brave for addressing this, BRAVE for responding with grace be causes sometimes, grace hurts. It hurts to allow people to hurt us and not give them back what they deserve. You are modeling Christ to everyone who's hurt you by not responding with harsh words, by not punishing them for their sins. Because thats what Christ did for us. He died to redeem and restore the very ones who nailed him to the tree. And you my dear, are a fine example of this kind of selflessness.

Whitney H said...

You. Are. Amazing. Seriously. It takes so much strength to be able to do something like that. I think that the blogging community could really learn from this post.

Stevie C said...

Beautifully written. I recently found myself in one of these situations and chose grace for probably the first time ever.. you know, it doesn't pay off as quickly or as noticeably, but it pays off leaps and bounds better than attacking does. Good for you!

Rachel said...

Grace is so needed in our world!! And yes, it's the grace we've been shown that makes us able to show grace to others when needed! It may not feel fun at all at the time, but it is the best response possible. And more powerful than words of anger could ever be, in the long run.

Bri Buzali said...

Meg I just love this, and I love this attitude, and you are so so right! I'm sorry about the hurtful things that someone said, but you'll come out on top every time when you respond with Grace. Love you girl, keep your head up!

Darby Hawley said...

I can only imagine how difficult this was to write (and publish), but I'm really glad you did. It's a great reminder for all bloggers and non-bloggers for how to live a life that would make Him smile. You're wonderful & beautiful on both the inside and outside! Love you Meg!