by Jean Loxley-Barnard
Our best relationships develop when two people relate to each other's highest selves. From that point forward, each feeds the other's growth. We hold dear, nurture - and are nurtured by - those relationships that propel us to greater heights, laid on the foundation of our greatest strengths. We find joy with people who feed our souls.
Those who are wise enough to help us see what we can improve do so gently, with thought, without wounding our core. They do so with wisdom.
Wisdom has little to do with IQ. Wisdom is born through compassion. Wisdom feels right to the giver and to the receiver. In the presence of wisdom we feel safe, acknowledged and aspire to be better.
How we help each other to keep evolving is crucial. The most successful begin with positives. Negative criticism changes relationships, not behavior. A relationship that focuses on the negative aspects of either person becomes unhealthy and eventually ceases to exist.
A memorable cartoon on self-awareness appeared in the Peanuts strip decades ago. Charlie Brown was watching a slide show depicting his flaws as seen through the eyes of Lucy. He was horrified!
Those who are wise enough to help us see what we can improve do so gently, with thought, without wounding our core. They do so with wisdom.Wisdom has little to do with IQ. Wisdom is born through compassion. Wisdom feels right to the giver and to the receiver. In the presence of wisdom we feel safe, acknowledged and aspire to be better.
Few are encouraged to grow through criticism. The closer the person offering criticism, the more difficult it is to accept and the more hurtful it is, the more we need to evaluate whether or not it is accurate. Not every criticism is correct.
Criticism can be delivered to help or it can be delivered to hurt. It can also be offered without forethought as to the consequences. It is important to consider the source of any information and even more important to examine the information itself.
Sometimes criticism is more about the person giving it. We can project our own achilles heel onto others and others can project theirs onto us. The psychological term for seeing flaws in others that we ourselves have is known as "mirroring." The more in denial we are about a flaw we don't want to face, the more we will find it in others.
Equally important is weighing flattery. If we receive sincere compliments, it is healthy to accept them with gratitude, even allow ourselves to believe them. The flip side is recognizing - and disregarding - gratuitous flattery.
We all want others to celebrate our highest selves and treat us with respect. None of us are flawless but almost everyone has a highest self. When we seek it in others, our own highest self expands. In the end, we reap what we sow. Now there is a reason to be positive!
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.