When I saw this article from Rick Hanson, it took all of a nanosecond for me to recognize the pattern he’s talking about. It’s one that can make me wince just thinking about it, though it’s common enough.
In the Empaths & Sensitives series, and the articles about believing and diminishing mirrors, we’ve explored a few of the ingrained patterns and ‘power plays’ (which also means power-giveaways) that have become normal in our culture. Some are just part of being the beautiful, wabi sabi humans that we are. Others are of the more chronic and toxic variety.
Unconstructive criticism — notice the emphasis on unconstructive criticism — which Rick is talking about, can fall into either of these categories … simply human (we all have those days) or toxic-normal and thus destructive ‘mal magic’ (aka inadvertent or purposeful Word-sorcery). That’s the power of the Word in action.
Here’s what Rick writes:
“This week’s practice is about freeing ourselves up about criticism. We – OK, at least I – tend to worry too much about being criticized, play too small to avoid it, and take it too hard when it lands. So the slightly tongue-in-cheek title of this week’s practice is: Relax, you’re going to be criticized.”
“Often in subtle versions that still have an implicit criticism, such as giving advice, helping or teaching when you don’t really need it, making corrections, comparing you negatively to others, or focusing on the one tile in the mosaic of your actions that’s problematic while staying mum about the 99 other good tiles.”
Rick goes on to mention the ‘bonus pain’ of this pattern.
You can read the full article here — it’s worth it if you, like me (and Rick), have found yourself pick-pick-picked at by incessant unconstructive criticism that wears on and chips away at your sense of self and sense of worth until you find yourself bracing for it … which means that’s where your energy and attention and magic are.
What’s really wonderful about these reminders is that it stirs us to continue reclaiming the magic of our focus, attention, and energy, which are then available for those things, people, topics, passions that have real heart and meaning for us.
And in calling that energy (those energies) back to us, we gather ourselves back to center, where we find our sovereignty and the courage of our true, worthy convictions.
Thanks to Rick for the great post, and to you my truly appreciated readers and fellows on the path.
You’ll find a mention of Rick in another Sophia’s Children post: Our ‘Negativity Bias’ and Remarkable Good.