One Sunday, a woman sat in front of me at church who wore a striped sweater. At one point, I saw her staring at her wrist. I couldn’t see it, but there must have been a spot of something on her sleeve because she leaned over to look at it. She rubbed it with her finger. She patted the spot and then pinched the fabric pulling it. Finally, she seemed to give up and rested the palm of her hand over the tiny area, on her sleeve.
Her sweater was at least 99% free of spots, but she concentrated on the 1% that was soiled.
Many times, I’ve focused on one negative comment on a class evaluation, when I taught, instead of focusing on the other more positive comments. Sometimes, I’ve let this ruin my entire experience.
Anytime we interact with others, we’re at their mercy. Constructive criticism can be helpful, but the other can hurt. Some people communicate through criticism. Some people are critical because it makes them feel better about themselves. Some are critical because they think they are an expert on everything.
Obsessing on the negative 1% of what is thrown at us can cancel out the other 99% of what is positive. It’s ok to consider the spot, but it’s better to focus on the entire sweater.
Have you ever fixated on one criticism and let it ruin your experience? How do you handle criticism both positive and negative?