Have you ever been criticized at a completely unexpected, spontaneous moment from an unlikely source and been cut to the bone, even if the criticism was minor?
It happened to me this week.
I was completely taken aback and hurt on a level that was out of proportion for the criticism, but it totally ruined my day and made me feel like an utter failure. ugh.
Logically, I knew it wasn't a big deal; the criticism had a nugget of truth to it but was somewhat skewed--from my perspective anyway--yet, inwardly I was crushed and felt anger towards the person offering it. This was a person to which I had been very sympathetic, and had even planned on anonymously helping out this Christmas. I was flabbergasted.
My initial, internal reaction was something like, "Hhmmph....see if I do anything nice for you now!" Yes...I know....not very mature. I felt like the kid who takes all their toys, runs home, and says,"You're not my friend anymore."
Upon the heels of my initial reaction, came a gentle nudge in my direction from on high. "Really? So, when people stop treating you the way that you want them to, you're not willing to help them? Your concern is only for those who affirm your sense of yourself?"
uh....uh.....gee.....ummmm....Yeah, I guess so.
"So, your "love" is conditional? Your concern is based on the likability of a person, not the need of the person?"
uh....uhmmmm....looking down in embarrassment and whispering,"I guess so."
Feeling upset was OK. Feeling hurt was OK. Struggling with it was OK. Deciding not to help someone who needs it because of those feelings was NOT OK.
I still plan on giving my anonymous gift, even if it isn't given with the enthusiasm I initially intended. I know it's the right thing to do.
Perhaps more frustrating than my bout with criticism, is the thinly veiled immaturity that lurks just beneath the surface in me. Although outwardly I did not react to the criticism in a bad manner, inwardly I was a seething mess for at least a couple of hours.
It's never pleasant to realize how childish you can be.