The “OK” Solution to Criticism

We live in a harsh and judgmental world where people are quick to point out the faults and imperfections of others yet seem oblivious to their own. Some misguided souls believe they have a moral obligation and civil duty to help you to be a better person by telling you what a failure you really are first and then offering suggestions as to how you can improve. They are so brazen as to cleverly present negative comments under the guise of being constructive. But constructive criticism is an oxymoron designed to impose shame, embarrassment or humiliation on the other party without the repercussions of the purveyor being labeled mean-spirited or rude. Some are quick to criticize as a way of taking the focus off of their own shortcomings in an attempt to make themselves appear better, smarter or more qualified than the other. And while some may actually believe in their hearts that they are performing a noble act, their methods are skewed and faulty. Denigrate first, rebuilt second. If one’s true intent is to offer suggestions for betterment, why not skip the annihilation phase and move straight into the supportive role?

So what is the solution to criticism? As always, one must first examine their own behavior as all change begins within. If you are the one imposing disparagement upon another, STOP. Make a conscious decision that rather than focus on the negative aspect of a person’s performance or attitudes, you’ll offer helpful suggestions from the get go. If I’m painting our living room and making a mess in doing so, I’m much rather my husband say to me, “This is a tough job. Can I offer a suggestion that might make it easier for you?” rather than having him point out what a sloppy painter I am and then tell me how I should be doing it.

If you are on the receiving end of criticism, the “OK” response is a perfect solution. When someone comments negatively on a task you are embarking on or a personality issue, a natural response is to defend and attack. We seek to justify our actions and/or prove ourselves right while demoting the other party so as to restore balance in the relationship . However, this approach is rarely effective as it is ego-driven and puts both parties on the defensive. Instead, simply reply with “OK”. This concise one-word response acknowledges the other person’s comment without agreeing with it or feeling compelled to engage in a debate about it. Additionally, there is no need to defend one’s self or actions, to make excuses for or to attack the criticizer. It diffuses a potentially explosive situation and the fallout.

It is important to remain emotionally attached to what the other person is saying, to listen without feeling, to be an objective observer. There is much that one can learn from a negative review. When we train ourselves to seek value in every situation and seemingly negative comment we stand to walk away from such an encounter a wiser and more enlightened being. Did I make a mistake, was I at fault? Could I have done better, acted kinder, been more thoughtful? Did I give 100% of myself to the task at hand? Is there any validity to what the other person has observed in me? If so, how can I improve? Within each of these questions there lies the potential for personal growth and improvement.

As for chronic criticizers: it is important to set strict boundaries with them. Do not permit them to manipulate or intimidate you. Be fair and firm and remove yourself from their presence when necessary.

In any event, one can learn to be “OK” with criticism and not allow it to negatively impact their life or relationship with the other party. Examine it for any potential truths, then let it go and just be “OK”.

Luke 6:37 “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.”
Luke 6:41 “Why do you notice the sawdust in your brother’s eye but not the plank in your own?”

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January Jones- Open Your Heart with Skiing

Meet Stephen HultquistSteve Hulquist

Stephen Hultquist is a husband, father, ski instructor, journalist, consultant, personal coach, and pastor. He is committed to living life with passion, and doing all things with energy, excitement, and esteem for this singular life we have.

He is a certified professional ski instructor and works part time at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado as an instructor and Over the Hill Gang guide. He also offers professional services to businesses and organizational leaders providing insights on people, processes, and technology. Hultquist writes on topics related to business, leadership, technology, and personal development, and he is a professional speaker offering his insights at public and private events, workshops, and seminars.

He lives just outside Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and three children. They find time to ski, bike, golf, dance, ride horses, and grow together.

He writes and speaks professionally on a number of topics, and recently had his first non-technical book published: Open Your Heart with Skiing; Mastering Life Through Love of the Turns.

January Jones – From Trauma 2 Triumph-Jill Hendrickson



Jill HendricksonAuthor, speaker and Transformational writing mentor Jill Hendrickson helps women find the gift in their traumatic experiences and turn their “mess” into their ultimate success. As the creator of the “From Trauma to Triumph” program, she specializes in helping women turn their setback into their comeback using writing as a tool for healing.

Jill started her career as a reporter on Capitol Hill and was first woman to sit on the copy desk of The Japan Times newspaper in Tokyo. She has worked for the Associated Press and in radio and TV and currently teaches writing at the university level. Jill has lived all over the world and served clients from North America to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. As a survivor of domestic violence, she understands how difficult it is to bounce back from trauma AND how to use a devastating experience to lift yourself higher and shoot you towards your goal. To that end, she has started a movement to help 1 million women worldwide use their setback as the launching pad to their comeback using writing as a tool for healing. It’s her intention that women empower themselves and even be able to create a new and exciting career through sharing their stories to impact and inspire others.