We gave our son-in-law an electric hedge trimmers for his birthday last week. Today, he’s in the emergency room after nearly hacking off the ring finger on his left hand.
“He’ll be fine,” my daughter called to tell us. “He just takes back any bad thing he every thought about his mother-in-law.”
‘Bad things?’ I thought. ‘What bad things? I’m a model mother-in-law!’ (For the record, I did NOT put a curse on the hedge clippers. I really do love my son-in-law.)
Oh how perfect we think we are sometimes. How often do we justify our criticism of others and then turn around and cry foul when it’s launched at us?
I admit I’m acutely sensitive to criticism and my hackles rise at the slightest hint of criticism, particularly if it pertains to my children, my husband and my weight. I’m working on it, but I’ve got a feeling I’ll never attain enlightenment because of it. Perhaps in another life.
I often accuse my mother and my children of never letting things go, of their propensity of dredging up the past, either to throw it in someone’s face or to wallow in it or to take me down a notch or two. Hello, Lynn? You do it all the time!
It’s true. There’s not much that I’ve forgotten, particularly criticism. What is it about criticism that clings to our memory like a sticky booger?
The funny thing is, it’s not criticism from the outside as much as criticism from the inside that dogs me the most. While, to quote Queen, I’ve “had my share of sand kicked in my face,” much of that sand was kicked up from my own feet.
In my defense (Ego, are you listening?), I really am trying to keep my feet in the sand. This has been quite a “come to Jesus” year for me, filled with challenges and opportunities I never imagined. While I’m often my own worse critic, I’m also my own best friend, and she’s the one who doesn’t let me stray too far.
So my question to you is: Are you more a self-critic or your best friend?
I asked this on my other blog, too. (Click here to read it. You’re not obligated.) I’m really interested in hearing how you all deal with and think about criticism, particularly after I read about the hecklers during John McCain’s speech on energy policy Wednesday. I would never consider running for school board, let alone president. I’d be crying every time someone said they were voting for the other guy! Again, maybe I’ll work that out in another life.
I’m waiting for Cassie to call and tell me Matt got by with just a few stitches and a bruised ego. I will no doubt tease him a little tomorrow when I see him (I’m babysitting Claire so Matt and Larry can go to a baseball game. I hate when that happens – hehe). But I also acknowledge and respect the fact that not everything I do or say will make him happy, that he’ll be mad at me for some reason in the years to come. So will everyone else in my life. And I’ll try to take it like a champ, to hear it and either learn from it or let it go, but especially to see it in the light of my own criticisms of others.
Enlightenment, here I come.
Here's my most favorite photo so far of my daughter and granddaughter. We were at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Thursday. Claire LOVES the trout and bass swimming around in the tanks. I saw dinner, she saw fun :)