I am not a victim of the world I see.
(A Course in Miracles)
There is a popular story, usually suggested to be Mahatma Gandhi’s way of facing criticism. As the story goes, he suggests that if someone hits one side of your face, you offer him another to side to hit you again.
A profound metaphysical message is hidden behind those lines, which practically sound beyond our sense of logic. Logic sometimes kills the essence of our lives. The story is nothing but a lesson on developing tolerance, in the face of criticism. When someone is being critical of ourselves, we need not take it sentimentally. We always confuse our spirits by exchanging things of mind and heart. Criticism is a thing of mind, not heart. When we imbibe it through our minds, we are able to introspect and find whether is it worthwhile to accept and improve, or it does not hold any ground. We always have a choice to accept or reject our critic’s views, given we take it through our minds. Contrarily, heart is a soft place. It’s too difficult to reject anything which we take by heart. And if the thing is criticism, then we are definitely going to victimize ourselves. We should learn to put things in their places first.
Being critical is another confusing and altogether different art. There is a difference in being critical and being sarcastic. Most of the times, we confuse between the two. We need not sound like an unforgiving demon, when we criticize someone. Being soft in words and strong in opinions is an art worth learning. There is a beauty in being sober, still critical. It reflects power of the persona. Restraint is stronger than reaction.
Humans are highly enlightened souls and we are ought to be that way. We need to be humble in the face of criticism, and graceful while being critical. Demeaning or getting demeaned are two aliens, which come out of nowhere whenever there is a talk of criticism. Let’s not allow them to attack our planets of tolerance and tranquility.
“Show me my way to humility and grace.”