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Suicide, Perfectionism, and Criticism

Sometimes I’m asked why I write so much about dealing with criticism. The answer mostly has to do with the types of concerns that have been expressed to me over the years. Some involve the desire to be liked and respected.  Others have to do with seeking to gain control over anger.  And still others come from parents who find that how they go about…

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Providing Negative Criticism: The Newest Guidelines

Readers of this blog well know that I often discuss immature and mature ways to provide negative criticism. Originally, I presented a post titled PROVIDING NEGATIVE CRITICISM: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY.  There, in addition to providing an outline of what I believed was a good starting point to think about this topic, I asked readers for suggestions on how the outline could be improved. Many…

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Women and Criticism

On this blog, I often discuss immature and mature ways to deal with criticism. The advice that I offer is designed to be helpful to males and females alike.  But recently, in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Tara Mohr argues that when it comes to criticism, women can benefit from advice specifically targeted to the unique cultural situation that they find themselves in.   The…

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Conflict Resolution and The Wisdom of Abraham

Sometimes we observe people doing things that seem terribly wrong. We may then find, welling up from within, an urgent desire to provide negative criticism. In earlier posts, in an effort to provide some guidance on how to avoid expressing our concerns in a form that can potentially make a bad situation far worse, I provided a description of 5 levels of maturity for providing…

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Responding to Criticism by Crying: Is it a Sign of Immaturity?

Readers of this blog know that I have put forth a model of how to respond maturely to criticism.  To help readers to rate their own skill level, and that of others, I have, in earlier posts, outlined five levels of maturity. Level 1 is viewed as the most immature level, level 2 is viewed as a little more mature, and so on. Let’s take…

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Dealing with Criticism: A Calvin and Hobbes Lesson

For most of us, improving our skills at dealing with criticism takes some practice.  If we do this in a safe situation in which we will not expose ourselves to potential embarrassment, we can think more clearly about what is going on.  Once we become very clear about how we would like to handle various situations involving criticism, it becomes easier to apply these skills…

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Empathy, Kindness, and Maturity

“Rickey, you’re looking like you’re feeling blue,” I said softly to this 13-year boy I had been counseling for a few months.  As I looked at him, I observed some sadness rising up within me. “Ever since I remember, I always slept with my dog, Prince,” Rickey mournfully replied.  “This morning, when I woke up, he was…he was…he was dead.  He died!”  A tear began…

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Providing Criticism with Shouting, Insults and Threats: Is There a Place for It?

“Left turn!” hollers the drill sergeant to his new recruits. Private Smith begins to turn right, but catches his mistake as he notices the other recruits turning in the correct manner.  He manages, although a bit clumsily, to end up turning left. “Boy, don’t you know your left from your right?” the drill sergeant shouts in Private Smith’s face. “Yes, Drill Sergeant.” “I’m so glad…

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Fear, Cowardliness, and the Military

Last week my blog post asked, “Does Your Fearfulness Make You a Coward?”  While attempting to answer this question, I pointed out that viewing yourself as a coward when you experience fear consumes time and energy. Moreover, it is way too simplistic. Fear is actually a highly valuable emotion. It motivates us to take some wise precautions. And the fact that some people can fearlessly perform…

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Free of Fear

A few nights ago, Andrea and I went to see a show billed as “The Free of Fear NYC Debut and Album Release Concert.” Our two sons, Lennon and Jack, had written the album’s music, played most of the instruments, and were the front men for the show, so naturally we went. My expectation for the evening was to see a set of musicians walk…

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