Handling Criticism

This post was inspired by this ensign article.

Today I got home from work a little early, and was able to enjoy a nice dinner and a few moments alone to thumb through this month’s Ensign.  A couple of days ago Brigham (my hub) told me that he read an article that made him immediately think of me, and proceeded to tell me about it and why.  As I was turning the pages through brief articles on prayer, I stumbled upon the article, I realized why Brigham had such distinct feelings about it.  The words literally jumped off of the page and wouldn’t stop resonating.  All I could think of is “wow, I can relate to that.”  What is it about the Ensign that gives you exactly that feeling, every time you pick it up?

A couple of years ago I was involved in a situation that elicited similar feelings as what the author (name withheld) described.  {If you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to click the link and read the one-pager}  When I was 24, I was honorably released from a church mission for health reasons, 8 months in, and I did not return to complete my 18 month term.  I think about that experience a lot, because it is hard to forget – for good and bad reasons.  I loved being a missionary, and I hated coming home.   I left behind 13 baptisms and a fire for teaching the gospel to others, and came home to harsh judgments, analysis, and unwarranted criticism; a nice reward for what I considered to be a successful mission, though brief.

Although I was quickly/universally determined healthy (basically immediately after my release), my Stake President would not recommend that I return to serve.  I was so confused.  With time, the fire inside for sharing the gospel turned to frustration, then to ash, and I began to disengage and doubt the order of the priesthood, among a plethora of other things.  Disappointed doesn’t begin to cover what I felt.  Betrayed would be more accurate.  But there is something true that carried me through that difficult time, something that redeemed the negativity of that experience, that I will never forget for as long as I am alive.  When I was at my most alone, when I felt like I had been buried under the rubble of 9/11 without a fire-crew to rescue me, I didn’t feel alone at all.  The reality of the Savior was so evident to me that I could not doubt God’s love for me, and, because of that unique experience, I never will again.  Heavenly Father planted in me a hope and surety that everything would work out and get better, and I have reason to hope that even though I have been blessed beyond measure, I still have only better things to look forward to.

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This article points out an important truth: “As painful as it was to admit, maybe who was right or wrong didn’t really matter in the grand scheme.”  There are so many things that can go wrong in life, and so many potential dramas, that in the grand scheme of things, are incredibly insignificant.   So what is my take on how to best handle criticism and negativity? With perspective, and then, never ever forget who you are.  And if that doesn’t work, just think about why the universe is expanding…and that should remind you of how small drama really is.

-Jones

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2 responses to “Handling Criticism

  1. Pingback: Hello. Goodbye. Forgive. Yep, still Goodbye. | everythingforthelove·

  2. Here’s what I have to say: If the person in question is someone that you have to deal with on a daily/weekly/otherwise frequently basis (or like a family member) – then it might make your life easier if you were at a place to “welcome” them back into your life. If not – then I say “Let sleeping dogs lie.” -Bayba

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