“Feedback and Criticism: Nurturing Growth with Constructive Insights”
Story: Thief, Priest and Compassion (Source: Google Baba)
A man who lived in unbearable hunger and poverty resorted to small acts of theft. He landed up in prison and tried to escape many times only to be caught again. Each time, his prison sentence got further extended. Finally, after many years, he came out into the world once more.
Cold and hunger tortured him. He had no money and no means to earn even one meal. Nobody was ready to trust an ex-convict and offer him a job. He wandered to many places, but wherever he went, he was chased away. After being beaten up by people in one village, he ended up finding sanctuary in the village priest’s house.
He did not expect the priest to welcome him so graciously: “This is God’s house. Whether someone is a criminal or a sinner, anybody who comes here looking for shelter is God’s child.” So, the priest consoled him and gave him food to eat, clothes to wear and a place to stay.
He ate well, slept and came awake in the middle of the night with renewed vigor. His eyes fell on some silverware in a room. Overcome with a compulsive urge to steal, he picked up the silverware and fled, not sparing even one thought about betraying the one who fed him.
Walking around the village, carrying silverware, he soon attracted the suspicion of the villagers. The police caught him and interrogated him. Because they could not get a proper answer from him, they then took him to the priest’s house. “We suspect that he stole this silver from you. Could you please confirm if it is yours?” the police asked the priest.
The man trembled, fearing that his theft would be revealed and that he would be sent to spend many more years in prison.
But the priest’s face was full of compassion. He said, “My friend, I had offered the silver candlesticks along with this silver to you. Why did you leave the candlesticks behind?” He then gave the candlesticks to him. “Our apologies. We thought this was a theft.” the police said and released the man, who was overwhelmed by the priest’s compassion, and went on their way.
Moral of the Story: As you become increasingly hard on a person, he becomes more and more capable of handling the punishments you mete out. It is only compassion that will melt him. A human being may have the strength to face any kind of punishment given to him, but he will be defeated by immense compassion.
Sadh Guru: Punishments can make a person rock solid, but compassion beyond reason will shatter him.
We all make mistakes. In majority of the cases, it is unintentional. When we make a mistake, what do we want others to do? Criticize us, question our intentions, grill us, or expect others to understand the situation, be empathetic with us, and help us to find better ways next time.
Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Hate the sin, not the sinner.’
When someone commits a mistake like a child failing an exam, a maid broke the expensive cutlery or the driver commits an accident, we can either criticize the person for the repeated failures that person is doing or we can focus on the act.
When we are criticizing the person, we are telling the person, how bad you are, why you are repeating the same mistakes again and again, you will never learn, we will not be able to improve anytime in the future, and we are doing the same thing for how many years and still you are committing the similar mistakes! With constant criticism, the other person will lose self-respect, not believe in their capabilities, and repeat the same mistakes again.
But when are focusing only on the act, we can help the child to improve their way of studying, we can suggest the maid learn new skills to handle the expensive cutlery, we can always guide the driver to improve their driving skills so that driver can drive safely next time.
The overall objective should be not to criticize the person but to give feedback about the failure and what can be done to improve further. Once we give feedback about any mistake, we can empower the person to find the reason for the mistake and what can be done to improve next time. The focus should be on possible solutions, improvement, and empowerment instead of punishing, criticizing, anger, insult.
If we look into the relationship between a parent and a child, when a child commits a mistake (knowingly/unknowingly), if the parent can avoid talking about what has happened so far but, in the future, what needs to be done now, the relationship will bloom beautifully.
One very interesting and important aspect that needs to be understood is that when we criticize, and show resentment and anger toward another person, as a layman, we may feel pity and sad for the other person who is being criticized. But we do not realize that the person whom we should feel sorry for is the person who is thinking and speaking out all these abusive.
Criticism is just like violence. Firstly, that person is creating negative thoughts and vibrations within himself/herself, later the other person who is receiving all the abuses will also resend strong negative energy to the first person. So, the first person is in turmoil and getting much more impacted by the negative thoughts and energy rather than the other person who is receiving it.
Imagine a Boss in a company is yelling at person A at 10 am, person B at 11 am and similarly many other persons during the day. Interestingly, not every person will get equally impacted by the anger of the boss but what about the Boss and what about the negative energy which will be given by the A-to-Z person whom the Boss has given? Who is impacted more, the Boss or the colleagues?
we get the negative energy first, when the other person receives our criticism and send back negative thoughts, we get impacted the most.