Dealing with Criticism

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: I have someone who says they want to help me, but they continually criticize me and find fault with what I do. What is motivating this criticism?

A: Criticism is the first step on the helping spectrum. These steps of this spectrum are briefly described below:

  1. Destructive criticism – This attempts to undermine someone’s credibility, reputation, and self-confidence. This aims to hurt or demean the other person, even destroy them. It is from experiencing this negative, egoic platform of destructive criticism from parents, siblings, relatives, romantic partners, bullying schoolmates, teachers, bosses, or misguided clergy that originally wounds someone, and leads them to heal themselves. Those who undergo this healing process successfully often feel an urge to help others, who are experiencing similar abuse and trauma, to also heal.
  2. Neutral criticism – This identifies flaws, errors, or omissions, or someone’s attempts to exaggerate, lie, or deceive. Style editors, media fact checkers, or movie reviewers, for example, offer this level of critique. They do not offer suggestions to improve; they just point out the errors.
  3. Constructive criticism – This identifies flaws, error, or omissions as in step two, but offers suggestions at improvement. In group therapy, this sharing of constructive criticism is called feedback. Sports coaches, drama coaches, teachers, and trainers offer feedback to their students to help them improve their performance.
  4. Advisement or consulting – The consultant listens to their client’s concerns, and then offers them potential solutions. This ability to visualize a potential solution is founded upon the consultant’s knowledge, experience, or expertise working on similar problems.
  5. Counselor – A professional counselor listens to someone’s painful emotions and problems, and empathizes with their experience. The counselor allows the client to be heard and known. The counselor assists the client to identify viable options for solutions, explores their pros and cons, and then allows the client to make a congruent choice. The focus of a counselor is on the client’s present time concerns.
  6. Psychotherapist or Hypnotherapist – Like a counselor, a professional psychotherapist listens to someone’s painful emotions and problems, and empathizes with their experience. The psychotherapist will use a variety of evocative methods to help the client explore these painful emotions, work out the underlying issue, and find a way to integrate the insight so the client can live with greater serenity. A hypnotherapist aims to accomplish similar objectives, but does so through working directly with the Subconscious mind. A psychotherapist aims to assist the client to deal with lingering issues from the past.
  7. Life coach or transformational coach – A coach looks to the client’s potential to actualize his or her dreams for a better future. The coach supports and facilitates the client’s movement towards making that vision real—of actually doing, being, and having what he or she desires. A transformative coach is future oriented, and seeks to help the client move past obstacles to reach his or her goals.
  8. Meditation teacher – A meditation teacher trains students to meditate, to gain insight, transformation, and enlightenment. A meditation teacher shows students how to transcend their personality and touch the Eternal.
  9. Thaumaturge – Highly advanced meditation teachers are anointed with the Divine Fire and Light, and can make attunements to purify, heal, comfort, enlighten, and transform their spiritual evolutionary potentials. A Thaumaturge has the ability to work on the structure of mind and consciousness to facilitate spiritual development.
  10. Avatar – This most highly advanced spiritual Initiate is able to work with humanity at the collective level though sending forth tides of Omnific Spiritual Grace and Love, and progressively uplifts all humanity.

When we review these stages on the spectrum, we find:

Level one on this spectrum is the profile of someone fully established in the ego. Someone operating at this level needs to win at all costs, and dominate and control others. If others are injured in obtaining desires, it is not this person’s concerns.

Levels two and three are based on comparison to established criteria. This uses the analytical ability of reason; the standards of conscience; and the problem solving skills of the intellect. In level three, there is the added element of caring about the person receiving the criticism, so they can improve their performance.

Level four is founded on the ability to intuitively grasp the reasons for the problem the client presents, and to frame an elegant solution that solves the problem and allows the client to move to the next level of productivity and prosperity.

Levels five through seven are personal helping modalities. These work to empower the Self to resolve issues and move forward to attain desired goals.

Levels eight through ten are transpersonal helping modalities. They work with the three immortal principles within others—the attentional principle, the spirit, and the Soul—to enable the meditation student to work on the issues of the personality, and to actualize spiritual potentials.

Negative criticism can arise from a variety of motivations. For example:

  • Dissatisfaction with a product or service that the helper offers
  • Jealousy that the helper is successful and gifted
  • Narcissism, needing to be superior or better than the helper
  • Anger and resentment at not succeeding, not being chosen, or not getting the good things in life

When criticism is shared as feedback, the helper can learn to provide a better service or deliver a better product.

We suggest that the element of caring—love and compassion—is at the root of the motivation to help others. The greatest love, which the Avatar and Thaumaturge express, is the deepest level of this caring for others—even beyond personal caring, or unconditional positive regard, as Carl Rogers called it—but it is suffused with the Divine Love that fills and enfolds all life, and drives personal growth and spiritual evolution.

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