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What's missing? Responsibility and Constructive Criticism
Here's the deal... this morning I enjoyed a meditation that included a centering thought that I found profoundly and remarkably true in the sense that it's so simple and yet so important in personal as well as professional growth.

"What I am aware of, I can change."

But what if I'm not aware? I will never change.

Every day I choose to do, say and behave as I do. And I take personal responsibility for my actions, how I present and ultimately for being precisely who I am.

In addition, I have the ability to listen to those who offer constructive criticism of me and intently hear, allow for and utilize those outside opinions and observations to open my eyes to those things I cannot see for myself.

If I am too busy in life to realize or be aware of something I am doing, feeling or saying that is not productive for me, nor others, then how am I to change? It is with self-reflection, which is my personal responsibility, and constructive criticism from others that can make this process far easier so the necessary change can be made. But we miss this, are fearful of it, avoid it and sometimes outright deny or dismiss it.

If we don't take time to self-reflect or don't listen to what others have to say in their offerings of truly constructive criticism, how will we ever grow, improve and positively change? This applies to us personally and professionally... as well as matters that indirectly affect our daily lives... politically, economically, socially.

I firmly believe in taking pause to assess and remember the larger picture, the greater goals and extended vision beyond ourselves so the tasks, chores, meetings, errands and demands of daily life don't blind us from being the best we can be as employers/employees/colleagues, friends, lovers, family members and simply enough, open, loving and mindful humans.

We all have faults. We all have weaknesses. We all have imperfections. Remember to be thankful when you are able, either on your own or with someone's help, to clearly see these and then accept them, work on them and do what you can to change, adapt and be the best version of you... every day.

That's where I am today... mindful, aware, improving, adapting and thankful.
13 replies
Nov 13, 2018
BlueDiver · 31-35, M
I've known so many people who's entire lives were ruled, and who's destinies were completely dominated, by things that they were blind to. And not people in mental hospitals or anything - but normal people who I've worked with, who lived seemingly normal, full lives. But underneath it, some twist or set of twists in their mind drove all of their core decisions, and literally defined the entire shape of their lives. Pride's one of the more common ones, but I've seen lives utterly shaped by plenty of different twists - once, a guy's entire day-to-day life and relationships had been shaped by a bunch of twists and barriers that he'd built in order to destroy people's ability to stop him from satiating every whim of his OCD.

It's... insane, the extent to which so many people (including myself, though I'm working on it) have their entire lives unknowingly ruled by their distortions.
bonviveur · F
[@425001,BlueDiver] I hear you. And, it’s so difficult to be among people who are so deeply immersed in their ways, process and beliefs that they’re completely unaware and incapable of recognizing the fray in which they exist and operate.

I worked with someone similar to the person you described. It can be exhausting, so I completely empathize with you. In scenarios with these folks, we can be the ones who offer that constructive criticism the colleague or friend may need to hear. We may never know if what we say will be insightful, impactful and helpful, but with positivity, clarity and honesty we can do what we can to help that person take pause and see things from another’s perspective. The rest then is up to the individual to hear you, truly listen and take the time to understand the gift given... and make any necessary changes.

It wasn’t until a colleague told me that I could be heard sighing in my office that I realized I was struggling with my project load. These deep, long breaths were natural to me... and were necessary for me physically. My mind and body in synch, I would unknowingly take these deep, long breaths. I just didn’t know they were so pronounced. I was overwhelmed. I knew it, but I never said the words out loud. I denied it. Team player. Take on new work when there are older projects untouched in weeks. Like the Nike ad campaign, Just Do It!

It took someone else to put those feelings... my feelings in to words. It was someone saying to me I seemed overwhelmed for me to realize that I was. How thankful I am for that colleague to take the time and have the desire to tell me. It was a gift. I made the adjustments needed. Still thankful today and the lesson has remained with me for years. And as a leader, I’m very attuned to team members showing the same signs of distress and stress. And I know how to address it, and feel very comfortable doing so, as needed.

For you, you shared here because this post meant something to you... and the person you spoke of has had an impact on you. Even if you’re not able to help him, he’s given you a gift; re-affirming your knowledge, understanding and importance of self-reflection, self-assessment and receiving constructive criticism.
BlueDiver · 31-35, M
Sometimes the only way to see yourself clearly is to look at yourself through someone else's eyes. There are a lot of potential pitfalls to it, but if you navigate them then it's a tool that's invaluable in moving forward in your life and in your heart.

You're someone who has a great deal of what I call the "will to grow" - in some people it's a huge force in their lives. For others, it's a tiny, tiny thing that barely ever sees the sun. So for someone like you, a tiny comment can have a huge impact on your self-knowledge. In my experience, the opposite is true most of the time - most people avoid any real growth like the plague. Most people love the lies that hold them in place, and hate the truths that threaten their personal status quo.

When you talk about not knowing if what you said will be impactful and helpful, but putting it out there anyway and leaving it up to the other person to decide if they want to really hear you and make changes - it strikes a chord in me, because in my experience in happens for very, very few people, at least in contexts where I'm able to be aware of it. Maybe it has an impact somewhere down the line. I can remember an act of defiant compassion that someone did for me back when I didn't even remotely deserve it, and how it stuck with me in my heart. No one in their right mind would have expected anything to get through to me back then, and yet it did. So maybe the things that we say and do really do have an impact... but it's sometimes hard to believe that in the face of so little evidence.
bonviveur · F
[@425001,BlueDiver] Ah, and that’s when we have to call upon faith... more so on a spiritual than religious level.

Just remember and know that that one “act of defiant compassion” affected you and that alone should be enough to speak to you in that there is always the realm of possibility that what you say or do may deeply touch and play such an integral and influential role in the betterment of another. No evidence needed.

I enjoy your writing and so appreciate your thoughts and shares. Much to digest and even more with which it all resonates. My sincerest thanks to you for commenting.
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ravenwind43 · 46-50, F
Well said...thank you.
bonviveur · F
[@10807,ravenwind43] And thank you for commenting. Nice to see a few folks and you taking the time to read my post and reaching out. In my quiet moments and through so many I have learned so much... and have many lessons yet to learned.
ravenwind43 · 46-50, F
[@595465,bonviveur] I admire those who strive towards self-awareness. It can be a scary place at times but valuable:)
Gethsemane · 41-45, F
Yes! This is such an important message. It is vital to our growth to surround ourselves with those who not only care about us, but care enough to challenge and confront us when we need it...Those who are lovers and seekers of truth. If you have people in your life like that, they are a priceless treasure, a rare commodity. Listen to them, appreciate them, love them, and be the same kind of friend to them.
bonviveur · F
[@635091,Gethsemane] Beautifully stated. And, sadly, we may not always have those precious ones in our lives forever... as long as we remember the lessons and gifts those have given us, then we have grown, done our part in listening and may very well have an impact on someone else in much the same way.

Appreciate such a thoughtful comment and heartfelt sentiments.

In a time when blame, conflict and division is not only prevalent, but so frightfully closer to the norm, I am humbled. I expected no comments or next to none. So again, thank you for lending your thoughts and feelings.
Wraithorn · 46-50, M
That sounds like a pretty darn good philosophy. Good luck.
bonviveur · F
[@385840,Wraithorn] Thanks. It’s a daily process. And good luck to you.
ISeeYou · 46-50, M
This is well said. Mindful and having an attitude of gratitude is the space to be in.
bonviveur · F
[@605620,ISeeYou] Always great to see you, my friend. And so very grateful to have crossed paths with you here.
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