Sunday, September 4, 2011

On Dealing with Criticism

Today, we practiced confronting and dealing with criticism in our NLP practice group. While I practiced the practitioner role, leading a member through his own issues in dealing with criticism, there were observers amongst us who reflected the process and fed forward to the insights. And one of them at least wished to use a mental mirror to ward off the criticism. His observations were purely auditory and kinesthetic. The magician was raring to go again.
Azeem has blossomed since we first met to a relentless soul using his evolving capabilities to intuit creative ways of engaging clients in his counseling avatar.  I write merely to record that my first blog of Azeem re-framing the structure of magic was no exaggeration. If Milton Erickson were alive to witness Azeem's work, he'd craft new theory and technique to an already multifarious body of neuro-linguistics. All said and done, we revised our understanding of dealing with criticism. Let me recount the major points here.
1. The criticism and the criticizer, both may be known to us.
2. The next integration is when the criticism is known, but not the criticizer.
3. The next integration is when neither the criticism, nor the criticizer is known fully.
4. Self-criticism needs to be dealt with after the above are integrated satisfactorily. Watch for the kinesthetic signals of calm and deep breathing in the body.
5. Future pacing is crucial at every stage above.
6. Self-esteem is useful in dealing with criticism.
7. Self-affirmations can recoup self-esteem. People with low self-esteem normally find it tough to deal with criticism.
8. New behaviors are generated along the way, if the criticism is dealt with effectively.
9. A re-framing of our belief structures is  potentially underway when dealing with criticism.
10. Criticism is often an  expression of anger, communicated irresponsibly. The intent of the criticizer is to deepen his/her relationship with the one being criticized. The magic is in uncovering the positive intent of the criticism.

We've the resources required to deal with criticism.  For those who could not accompany us today, here's a small tip. Your criticizer is normally not done with the first expression of irresponsible anger. That release of energy requires a listener. It is for the criticizer to realize his or her folly in not being able to reach you responsibly. Once you pick the signal, you activate the convex mirror to ward off or block the criticism.
Hold a figurative convex mirror where the lens protrudes onto your criticizer, and you see yourself in the mirror within. This visualization should be a strong one. Imagine a hand you shape as a cup with palm facing you to know the direction of the mirror surface. Whatever the criticizer says, no reaction is required as you visualize yourself growing from strength to strength in your convex mirror. The criticizer will take responsibility for his or her criticism. Watch that process unfold, and report comments here if you feel like it.
As I write, a friend just called in to say, how, in early childhood at age 12, his mother said that the criticizer's comments cannot even harm his skin! What he feels within himself is in his own control. Champion parent, solid friend.  Maturity is marked in re-framing criticism as a feed-forward communication to nurture potential in others. That is the hallmark of developmental success, no matter what age the learner is at.