Is it possible to view Criticism as Appreciation?
You know, people hear the word criticism and they almost automatically flinch. Their heart beats a little faster and they prepare themselves for the worst. It’s a pretty safe bet that those same people never looked up synonyms for the word “criticism.” If they did, they’d see words like appreciation, appraisal and observation; none of which carry the same negative connotation.
Who doesn’t want their work to be appreciated? There is great value in the appreciation of a work. Think about the art world. If someone said they appreciate your work of art, would you cringe? Of course not, because even though they didn’t tell you what they appreciate about your work yet, you assume it’s a good thing. And your assumption is based solely on your interpretation of the word.
Why can’t we see criticism the same way? In today’s society, people are so afraid of the word criticism. Why doesn’t it offer the same happy feelings that the word appreciation gives? If someone tells you that they love your work, don’t you want to know why? If someone says they hate your work, don’t you still want to know why? There is so much that you can learn from someone’s opinion or critique of your work.
Let’s go back to the appreciation of your work of art. Let’s say that person explained to you that what they actually appreciate about your work is the fact that it reminds them of a sad, very emotional time in their life. Your assumption just hit a brick wall. Your work is supposed to represent the most joyful moment of your life and here this person feels sad just by looking at it. But this is their opinion.
Learning to see Criticism as Appreciation
This is their critique of your work based on their life’s experiences. No one on this earth has had the same experiences. We all see things differently and therefore we all have different reactions. And this can be applied to every facet of life. People have different experiences and those experiences create different reactions. Now since when did that become a bad thing?
Instead of hearing the word criticism and immediately cringing, try to think of it in a different light. You are gaining knowledge. You are gaining an insight into someone else’s world. They are sharing their experiences with you in the form of their critique of your work. They are showing an appreciation of your work based solely on their own experiences. Viewing criticism as appreciation is not so bad anymore, right?
There are many tools that you can use to improve your self-awareness. Taking steps to learn more about yourself can help you choose the best career, relationships, and lifestyle for your personality, goals, and desires. You can journal, hire a coach, meditate, and you can take a personality test. A personality test is often the first step that many people take on the path to a more self-aware life.
What Is a Personality Test?
A personality test is a tool that’s designed to reveal aspects of your character or psychological makeup – your personality. In most cases it’s a simple multiple choice questionnaire that you fill out. When you’ve completed the test you’ll get a description of your personality. Some personality tests are more involved than others and provide a lengthier description of your personality.
How Does a Personality Test Help You Learn Who You Are?
Different personality tests focus on different components of personality. For example, the Princeton Review Career quiz is a fast, and free, quiz that gives you a list of suggested careers for your personality type. However, unless you’re looking for a new career, a more generalized approach may be beneficial. For example, there is the Myers Briggs test, or the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, or the Enneagram Test which tells you which of their nine personality categories you fit into.
Taking a quiz like this can help you get a bit clearer on your strengths. It can also help identify your weaknesses. This is important information because it gives you a direction and it helps you make important decisions. For example, let’s say that you’re an accountant and you’ve been living and working and feeling generally bored and unhappy. You take a personality quiz and it tells you that you have a creative personality. This may be something that you never realized or that you denied. You now have the ability to explore that side of your life.
You Make the Decisions
A personality test doesn’t necessarily tell you who you are and what you want. It doesn’t answer the tough questions for you. However, it can help you take the first step. An accountant that learns that he or she has a creative personality can decide whether to take action on that information. Personality tests make you think about your strengths, weaknesses and who you are. You still have to do the work and make decisions for yourself. They just shine a light on the possibilities.
Can a personality test help you become more self-aware? Absolutely. But, they’re just the beginning of the process. If you want to live a more self-aware life then consider taking one of the more reputable personality tests available to you.
I have listed three of the most popular earlier. They include Myers Briggs, Keirsey, and Enneagram. Take the first step today.
Let’s take a look at self awareness and your career. How do they work together?
When most people think about self-awareness they imagine better personal skills as they relate to happiness and relationships. And it’s true that when you are more self-aware, you are in a better position to make decisions and take actions that improve your happiness and relationships. However, it doesn’t end there. A good sense of self-awareness can help in every aspect of your life, including your career and professional path.
1. Making the Right Career Choices Through Self-Awareness
Self-awareness can help you choose the right career path for yourself. Whether you’re just getting started in the professional world or you’re looking for a change, knowing yourself can help you identify a career that you find both satisfying and rewarding. When you know yourself you know:
- What you want from life
Your strengths and weaknesses
The things you find motivating
How you relate to others
How you see yourself fitting in
Your work style
How you learn
And much more. There are many different ways to determine your best career path. You can take a personality test or career aptitude test. You can also conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats assessment, aka a SWOT assessment. You can talk to people that you trust and get their insight about your strengths, weaknesses and personality style as well.
2. Working Well on the Job
When you’re self-aware you are able to listen to feedback with an open mind. You’re able to receive feedback without getting defensive, shifting blame, or feeling like you’re being attacked. You can take responsibility for your work and take steps to both enjoy the praise and positively respond to the criticism. You’re also able to focus on your strengths and seek ways to minimize or eliminate your weaknesses. You can ask for help when you need it and work well on a team with others because you know who you are and what you’re good at.
3. Listening to Your Inner Voice
Finally, when you are self-aware you’re able to listen to your inner voice. You know when something is right for you and when it isn’t. You’re able to make decisions that support you, and to avoid career choices that don’t fit your strengths and interests. And many people who are self-aware are able to push their limits and test their boundaries. They are able to achieve more because they’re willing to take risks and they’re not afraid of failure.
4. Self Awareness and Your Career
If you are in a career rut or you are looking for a career path that fits your goals, needs, strengths and personality then it’s time to look inside. Take steps to learn more about who you are and become more self-aware. Understanding self awareness and your career can help you find a better job and perform better at that job. You can perform self-awareness exercises, work with a coach, and tap into your inner knowledge about who you are and what you want.
Relationships are important. They support you, they mold your life, and they help make life enjoyable. However, relationship compatibility can be a challenge. Whether we’re talking about relationships with friends, children, co-workers, parents or a significant other, the more you know yourself, the better your relationships will be. Understanding your relationship compatibility can be more rewarding, supportive, and generally more fulfilling and enjoyable. Let’s take a look at how knowing yourself can help you have better relationships.
Ability to Accept Responsibility
There are no victims in a relationship where everyone takes responsibility for their actions. It’s a happier and healthier place to connect from. When you know yourself well, you’re in a better position to accept responsibility for any challenges in a relationship.
For example, if you know that you prefer a more open and less rigid parenting style, and your partner prefers more structure, you can accept responsibility when you two disagree. And when you know that your parenting styles clash, you can own and accept your role in this clash. This ability to recognize and accept responsibility also helps you build stronger teams.
Build Stronger Teams and Partnerships
When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can partner and/or team up with people who complement you. For example, if you’re a lenient parent, your children might benefit from a parent that is a bit more structured. Between the two of you, you can co-create a parenting style that suits both of you and most benefits your children.
If you also chose a person that had a lenient parenting style, your children may miss out on the benefits of structure and rules. The same is true with relationship compatibility in a work environment. If you’re not a detail-oriented person then having someone on your team that pays attention to the details can help you work most effectively and productively together.
Making It Work through Relationship Compatibility
When you know who you are, it’s much easier to find a common ground with your relationships. You can approach challenges and differences without judgement and blame. Instead, you understand who you are and can more readily create agreements and systems to work with others. This includes your co-workers, your children, and your friends and spouse. It’s much easier to make relationships work when you don’t feel the need to blame or the desire to take on the role of a victim. Your relationships and communications are more honest and patient. Everyone benefits.
Relationships are important. You can have better relationships when you’re self-aware. It’s easier to create a supportive and honest relationship when you come from a place where you know who you are and what you want from your life and your relationships.
Are you interested in living a life that you designed? Are you ready to be in control of all of your decisions and be accountable for your life? Are you curious how journaling can help you?
A self-aware life is a life that requires you to know who you are and what you want. You need to know your preferences, your personality, and how you want to live. Journaling ideas can help you with your journey to self-swareness.
Different people have different motivations and goals. You have your own personality and approach to life. If you’re not tuned in to who you are and what you want then it’s quite difficult to live a life that makes you happy and leaves you feeling excited, motivated, fulfilled, and challenged.
It’s not always easy to live a self-aware life. Denial, fear, and other emotions can get in the way. Let’s take a look at how journaling can help you. This is one habit that can support you to stay self-aware and to improve your personal awareness.
What Is Journaling?
Journaling gets a bad rap. People feel like they are back in junior high school keeping a diary that they have to hide from their siblings. However, you’re an adult now and writing down your feelings, thoughts, and plans is cathartic and clarifying.
How Journaling Ideas Can Help You
There are different approaches to journaling. You might sit down every morning and write for five minutes or three pages. A better approach might be to pose specific questions for you to answer. For example, “what are my strengths?” You can then journal to answer that question. You can focus on that question for one journaling session or twenty. You get to make the rules.
When you write down your answers to your questions and get your thoughts on paper, it is easier to get clear. Some people prefer to meditate on questions and that can work very well if you’re able to focus. However, if you’re like many others, your thoughts become muddled and a bit chaotic when you try to meditate. You start off thinking about your strengths and before you know it you’re making a grocery list or thinking about that attractive co-worker. When you have to write down the answers it can be easier to stay focused.
How to Get Started Journaling Ideas
Choose the tool that’s best for you. You’re going to have to think a bit about your preferences and personality type. Would you prefer to journal on a laptop, smartphone or mobile device, or would you prefer to journal longhand on paper? Would you prefer to journal first thing in the morning or at night before you go to bed? (These are the most reflective times of day for most people.)
Gather your materials, choose the best time to journal and start making it a habit. Journal once a day and begin answering the questions that will help you learn who you are, what you want, and where you’re taking your life.
The more you know about yourself, the better. Here are three self awareness activities for you. When you know what you’re capable of, you can make the best choices for your relationships, career, and life. For example, at a very simple level, if you know that you are not a detail-oriented person you can create systems to compensate for that attribute, particularly if being detail oriented is essential for your job.
Knowing you’re an introvert can help you with your relationships, and understanding your values and opinions can help you find the best friends and co-workers to collaborate with. In short, the more self-aware you are, the happier and more supported you may feel both professionally and personally. There are a variety of tools and exercises you can leverage to improve your self-awareness.
#1 SWOT Assessment
A SWOT assessment stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s a personal assessment that you can create yourself. In general, you create four quadrants on a piece of paper and you begin to list your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in each quadrant.
For example, a strength might be compassion and a weakness may be laziness. An opportunity may be your current employer and a threat may be your financial situation. You can also skip the O and T portion of the assessment and focus on your strengths and weaknesses. This assessment will help you learn more about yourself, your present situation, and help you make thoughtful plans for your future.
#2 Who Do You Admire?
Consider writing down or journaling about someone that you admire. Think about why you admire them. What attributes do you find appealing about their personality, their strengths, their values and their achievements?
Amongst their qualities, what attributes do you feel like you already possess or wish to possess? If journaling isn’t appealing to you, you might consider creating a video diary and talking it out. The point is to put some thought into your answer to this question. It can help you find clarity about yourself.
#3 What Do You Believe?
Consider your beliefs on everything from God to money. What do you believe and why do you believe it? You may find that some of your beliefs are no longer true and that you have new or different beliefs. You may also find that some of your beliefs are firmly engrained in who you are and they’re very important to you. Again, you can journal your response to this, you can think about it and meditate on it, or you can create a video or audio journal. You choose the method that works best for you.
If you want to get to know yourself better, it can take a little time and effort. Life gets busy and we become active in the lives of those around us. It’s easy to put your own thoughts, needs, and wants aside. Yet if you take some time to become more self-aware, you’ll be a happier and more fulfilled person.