My Dad’s voice booms in my ears as I sit in the car holding back tears. “Why couldn’t I have done better?” I ask myself. “What’s wrong with me?” He continues talking as I continue to play back the scenes from the basketball game I just played.
This was the scene many times after basketball games as I was growing up. To be completely honest with myself, I feel like I never really played up to my fullest potential in basketball. I spent too much time over thinking things and being too hard on myself. So after games, when my Dad gave me constructive criticism I had an even harder time digesting it or even hearing it because I was already beating myself up over it. Obviously, my Dad was just trying to help and give me ways to improve my performance on the court. I realized from this that taking criticism from someone who is close to you is a very difficult thing to do.
Being able to receive criticism in general isn’t easy and it is something that I know personally I need to work on. It is hard to see yourself with any amount of clarity and constructive criticism can be extremely valuable. However, as I learned as a kid growing up, you have to be in the right space to receive it and have to try and separate yourself from whatever you’re receiving criticism for.
It’s very easy to write someone off giving you criticism and say, “oh whatever, that person doesn’t know what the F they’re talking about.” However, they might be able to see things that you can’t see about yourself. While it’s possible that the person might not know what they’re talking about, I think there is always something to gain from an outside perspective.
Receiving criticism from someone close to you can be even more difficult, and also that much more useful. That person obviously knows you well and if they care enough about you to give you a way to improve yourself then you should use it.
Being able to hear criticism takes a certain amount of maturity and confidence. I know my gut reaction is usually to get defensive and take it personally, however that’s just a result of insecurity on my part. Basically when that happens I need to get over myself. So now that I’ve made this public, hopefully I’ll continue to improve at receiving criticism.
You could probably get better at it too.
…That’s right, I took it there.