Why Is It Harder to Receive Affirmation than Criticism?

Last night, the LaFe10 team did a 360' review, reflecting on our years of serving together.

As a part of the review, we share affirmations and criticisms, constructive criticism, growth edges.  This time and process provides closure and is essential for our development.  But it is very difficult.

None of us feel comfortable sharing criticism and none of us feel comfortable receiving affirmation.  Why is this?

Why is it easier to receive criticism than affirmation?

1) What do you do beforehand?

We know how to prepare ourselves to receive criticism.  You brace yourself or run through a mental list of things people might say.  But how can you prepare for affirmation?

2) What do you do in the moment?

The nod that signals "I hear you" and "I understand" could also mean "I agree with your assessment of my awesomeness."  And that seems awkwardly prideful.

3) What do you do afterward?

With criticism, especially if delivered lovingly and well, we know what to do afterward.  We work on it, whatever "it" is.  But what do you do with affirmations?  Keep on being awesome?  No, something's missing.

Do you also find it harder to receive affirmation than criticism?

1 comment:

  1. I always feel a little dishonest accepting affirmation. It feels inauthentic. Looking at God's work in my life, at His grace in my ministry, at His partnership in my creativiy-I want to point people to that...But when you try to say that, people think you are being falsely modest.
    If a talk is powerful, it was because the Spirit showed up in my prep and in the hearts of those who listened. And I was faithful to invite Him into my prep and faithful to ask Him to move through my words, but the rest was all him.
    So for me I guess that is the affirmation that feels "right", that I can say thanks easily for...Being faithful, following the Spirit.

    But then isn't that just because God has won and made me alive.

    So I normally just say "Thank You." and leave it alone.