Criticism hurts. An adverse comment or judgment is made by someone who disagrees with your words, behavior or beliefs. It is painful because it is done in a disapproving manner; tone of voice, condemning look, or condescending gesture. For an approval seeking individual…… criticism can be the death of their dreams.
I have been that approval seeking person.
To gain a person’s praise and admiration I would act, talk, or do what they wanted. Regardless if that action meant compromising my morals. Living and breathing for someone’s praise and appreciation, came at the expense of my family and friends.
Not until one of my children said, “I think you love ______ more than me” was I able to realize the sacrifice my family was making. My complete focus was seeking approval to be validated. Because I thought so low of myself I believed approval from someone would feed that need.
Today, several years later, I can see that I never did win that person’s approval and I never would.
I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion. I also have strong beliefs about certain things such as marriage, family, Jesus and the Christian life. And I am passionate about those principles.
But criticism is not just an opinion. It’s more than that. Criticism is that censuring disapproval of someone else’s actions or words. And, ultimately elevating them in the belief that they are right and you are wrong.
I have learned a few things about seeking approval from others to feel validated:
1. Only YOU can live out YOUR destiny. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for YOU! says the Lord….” The plans are specifically made for you, not someone else……
2. Others cannot and will not always understand YOUR call. God has called you to a certain path in life and it is a path that only you can walk or fulfill. Isaiah 51:7 says, “Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults.”
I personally have experienced this scenario again and again: When I do not deal with what I see in MY life, I see it in everyone else. I am viewing life through tainted glasses because of wrong thinking, bad attitude or judgment. I THINK I know what they are thinking, but I am wrong.
Years have passed me by waiting for approval or validation from someone else. And when I took that step of faith and walked out on to my own path, I was criticized. It caused me to stumble as it wounded deeply.
Yet it was not until I began walking in my own calling that I was able to see the freedom in being me. And it is okay to walk my own path that may be different than yours. And I better clarify that I am NOT talking about marriage unless there is abuse. I am speaking about a job, friends, possibly relatives that keep you tied up in knots with their criticism because you are not walking the path they feel you should.
Galatians 5:7 & 8 says, “You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.” If you have tripped, get back up! If someone is standing in your way, get around them!
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Run our race that God has set before us to run. Don’t jump the track and try to run someone else’s race. Or allow someone to talk you into running a race you were never meant to run, or let criticism leave you defeated curled up in a ball on the race track. Get a move on!