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The gift. Saturday September 7, 2013

If someone offers you a gift and you refuse to accept it, to whom does the gift belong?

Criticism and abuse are like slugs that stick and suck the life out of us. I remember a Tibetan teacher once saying about criticism that either the critic is right about the issue and we need to correct whatever it is, or, as much as we can tell from our perspective, they are misguided and being unfair.

In that case we can have compassion for them. But compassion does not mean accepting their abuse. We have the choice to refuse to accept their abuse.

We can explain quietly in calmer times that we are no longer willing to accept the criticism and abuse and if they choose to offer it we will walk away and allow them to calm down until they are willing to discuss whatever the issue is in a loving and peaceful way. This, of course, may mean making the choice to not engage with that person at all.

We do have a choice and in exercising that choice we build our own resilience and set ourselves free. It's often not easy, but does it not always makes sense?

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 5:15am

Really poorly worded - whilst helpful when dealing with criticism, 'abuse' is a much wider issue. I understand your sentiment but I am now, as a victim of abuse, really struggling to not let this post have a negative effect on my mental state.

Julia Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 8:58am

I was a little bit confused here Bill. It took me a while to understand what you were getting at. As the first post says, abuse suggests physical violence and bullying while criticism is a word that applies only to verbal behaviour which is generally not bullying. Two very different things and almost at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
I was surprised to read the Tibetan's comments (which you do point out refer only to criticism..thankfully)
Physical and mental abuse delivered from the abuser to the victim can never be the fault of the victim. Never. Abuse is never to be tolerated. The abuser is always wrong.
From your wonderful previous posts, I am sure this is not what you meant Bill, but to me this is how it comes across, that abuse and criticism can sometimes be justified..

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 9:37am

I think Bill means that if the criticism is not justified it becomes abuse because it is totally fictitious.Most criticism is created from something unacknowledged in the criticissor in my opinion,I believe it is a reflection on themselves.It is easy to criticise ,much better to compliment. I appreciate the daily thoughts and admire the contributors for revealing their thoughte to help others.Thanks Bill and moodscope.

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 11:35am

For myself, I have substituted 'invalidation' for criticism - have just come out of horrible depression which I think was brought about because I forgot that we all have inherent self worth - me included - and don't have to justify that.

I think invalidation is a big trigger for me, so thinking of it as a 'slug' which I can refuse to accept is a useful metaphor. Thank you very much for this lesson.

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 11:38am

Just to add - maybe it would be better to change the wording to:

Unfair criticism, invalidation and abuse ....

Christine Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 11:42am

Sadly, I think Bill's offering today is not as well written as I have come to expect on this site...without wishing to be in the slightest bit pedantic, "slugs" do not "stick and suck" perhaps a better analogy would have been "parasite" or "tick".

The whole article is difficult to understand and seems to have little or no bearing on the catchy title or the engaging first line of the piece.

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 2:22pm

I inderstood the article and think its very relevant and useful. Thank you. i have had to endure verbal abuse and criticism which can be as hurtful as physical abuse. In the past I endured the abuse but when I did start to challenge them I found my condition improved. Even knowing its not all me was enough to begin with.

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 2:54pm

Although some of the words used may elicit different responses from different people, I do think the main gist of the article was very clear and validating for many people. But anyone who has been involved in an abusive relationship knows that the matter is very complicated, involving emotional and wider power imbalances. A rational response, such as that described, can feel impossible.

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 7:54pm

I found this blog very helpful to me - and is one I will keep. I have just walked away from a relationship where the criticism was totally slug-like! I understood this blog in the way I needed to. I am lucky never to have been physically abused, so my sympathies go to those for whom that word holds great pain.

Anonymous Sat, Sep 7th 2013 @ 9:54pm

Thanks Bill. Today's blog helped me to remember that I don't have to take on board criticism if the other person is wrong. I was recently the victim of some quite venemous verbal abuse from a colleague who I previously trusted and had a good relationship with. I had done nothing wrong. I found the courage to confront her which has made no difference, she has not apologise but I now realise that although what she said made me feel very upset and bad about myself I can reject those thoughts because she is the one in the wrong. I have now distanced myself from her at work and although professional I am no longer friends with her

Anonymous Sun, Sep 8th 2013 @ 4:25am

I thought this was a great post Bill, it rang true with me and reminded me of an Eleanor Roosevelt quote:

"no one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

Thanks Bill

SANDRO RICARDO DA CUNHA MORAES Sun, Sep 8th 2013 @ 5:39am

Nós somos donos de nossos pensamentos e não estamos aptos a aceitar as imposições de ditadores do pensamento. Nós somos livres para pensar como os pássaros são livres para voar. Não nos venham impor suas ideias ditatoriais. Nós somos livres para amar, nós somos livres para abandonar, nós somos livres para partir. Não somos objetos dos pensamentos alheios. Nós nascemos livres para viver e escolher...

Anonymous Sun, Sep 8th 2013 @ 11:26am

Loved this post - particularly as I'm about to go visit my verbally abusive mother whom I haven't see for a year or so - because I decided to no longer accept her nasty comments. It came at the perfect time and make perfect sense to me.

Thank you Bill - and I must say I think it's very sad that whilst you take the time and effort to write these pieces - a lot of moodscope users seem to thinks its ok to be nasty, pedantic and generally rude about posts which ultimately are written to provoke thought, not indignation. I hope you have a thick skin!

Christine Sun, Sep 8th 2013 @ 12:32pm

I have just read your post via a translation page; I am moved by the poetry of your words and the depth of feeling in the phrases you have used. Thank you so much.

Christine Sun, Sep 8th 2013 @ 12:37pm

The final phrases of your post sound almost like you could be parroting your verbally abusive mother...just a thought...I have found that everyone writes with thought and with passion from the place they are in; some find some words and phrases offensive; others do not. I cannot say which of the above comments are worthy or unworthy of your rather sharp comment.

Julia Mon, Sep 9th 2013 @ 3:03pm

Very well worded Christine!

John Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 9:34am

Bill - I understood and loved your post too, and I also understand how others can find the message hard to accept. I would have also felt that way in in the past.

A lot of people used to treat my badly in my life, and it took me years to realise that I was colluding with them.... By not asserting myself, by not standing up for myself, by not walking away from the people who were toxic to me and showed no contrition or intent of changing. I was unknowingly co-creating my abusive situation - by allowing it to continue.

I have learned to gradually learned greater self-assertiveness, and in doing so, will now tell people when they behave in a way I don't like, and make choices about who I wish to be with. This has been a painful and challenging process - but ultimately liberating and life-enhancing. For example, I no longer have any contact with my father - who takes zero responsibility for his impact on myself and others - a big and painful decision to make but as a result I am a more balanced, less anxious, and contented person as a result.

You rock Bill!!!

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