When It’s Best to Receive…

We have all heard that it is better to give than to receive. And it’s true. But I especially prefer to give rather than receive when it comes to correction!

It never feels good to learn you are in the wrong. This week I had to suck up some pride on more than one occasion when some really good people in my life questioned me on things that needed to be questioned. Little things that I would’ve overlooked became important action items that I needed to look at and fix after hearing another perspective.

I have to hand it to the people who challenged my thinking. They did so with respect and grace. In each situation, the “corrector” simply asked questions and offered me the opportunity to rethink a choice. Totally different circumstances placed me in front of the proverbial mirror multiple times this week, but each situation required me to consider others’ feelings and proceed in a different direction.

When I get more than one or two situations at once that teach me the same lesson, I’ve learned by now to pay attention. So this week, my conscience is being stirred with the realization that being open to constructive correction is something I clearly need to do more of right now.

I ran across Proverbs 15:12 as I reviewed scriptures about what I’m learning, and it says, “Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.”

Yikes!  I don’t want to be a mocker of wisdom, but a receiver of it. Easier said than done, though.

For perfectionists, receiving correction is especially hard. The entire infrastructure of perfectionism is held up by pride — on hoping people don’t see our imperfections. It’s tempting to even pretend WE don’t see them. So, hearing from anyone – kindly or otherwise – that I need to work on some area of my life can be a tough pill to swallow. Yet if I say I don’t want to live a life imprisoned by perfectionism, humbly receiving correction is something I’ve got to get used to!

So this week I got a bit of practice.  And you know what?  It actually felt good. There’s a wall that comes down when I don’t feel the need to become defensive.  Turns out, humility creates a better atmosphere for communication than my nasty pride.

Sure, the world can be cold and cruel. People can be critical and downright mean sometimes. But sometimes, when we least expect it, someone wiser than we are (or more than one person in my case this week) will come along and give us the chance to become wiser, more sensitive and more well-rounded.

I don’t mind admitting that there was a fraction of a second in each circumstance this week when I wanted to self-protect and offer a “WHATEVER” kind of response. I stopped myself, thank goodness. I would’ve missed the boat if I did what I really wanted to do.  But what came out of those conversations has been way better than trying to defend myself.

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